Brunel and Building Trust part 2

On the 17th February, Building Trust set a challenging brief to 180 Level 1 design students from Brunel University. The challenge was to design living quarters for migrant workers within the city of Singapore. The subject area of migrant worker housing called for students to address the fundamental design topics of form, space, context, materials, location, cost and multi functionality. Students were asked to look at the use of space on a number of scales from unit/dormitory size to individual living spaces. The students had to thoroughly research their end user looking into their beliefs, religion and background. The students also had to understand human scale and how the end user would interpret and use the final design. It was also very important that the students paid close attention to selection of low cost/sustainable materials and to the multi-functionality of spaces and products.

6 weeks after the brief was sent I went in to review the students work and crit alongside the key module leaders. The work was outstanding and it was very motivating to see how hard all the students had worked and how much they obviously enjoyed the brief set. Speaking with the students I learned how they had carefully spent weeks researching about the city of Singapore, it’s inhabitants, the climate and the culture of the migrant workers. It was great to see how dedicated the students were to coming up with some truly innovative and creative new designs for migrant worker housing.

Reviewing the Level 1 work
Reviewing the Level 1 work

The students had spent a full day rig building, creating full scale structures out of materials they could find to make sure they fully understood the space they were designing and to gain a real feel of the space to be used by the migrant workers to sleep, eat and relax. Students also built small scale models to gain an understanding of the layout of the building. One team cleverly worked out a way to test the air flow through the housing model by lighting incense inside and seeing where the smoke travelled. It was great to see teams thinking outside the box and I could tell they really enjoyed working on their projects.

I look forward to sharing with you images of the project booklets which each team created (a 50 page A3 document with all details of their design process.) Many of the teams had a very clear visual layout and really understood how important visual communication and graphics are in conveying an idea to a client. I will also be posting images of their rig building day and a few of the incredible scale models.

It was a great day and I was so proud of the students for their hard work and dedication to the project. Having graduated from Brunel in Industrial Design just a few years ago it was really rewarding to go back and work with the students on a project which I had developed with Building Trust. I look forward to continuing the collaboration with Brunel in the future and wish all the students good luck for finishing their project hand ins over the next few weeks. At Building Trust we believe it is very important to work with young design students to help motivate them to see how design can be used as a tool for social change and hope they will continue to think about social design through their entire course and beyond.



3 thoughts on “Brunel and Building Trust part 2”

  1. Great work! Inspiring students to get involved with design for change, and with such great results. Its amazing what young minds can do when presented with tasks that they care about!

  2. Louise, how did you get in touch with the university or did they contact you? I am a tutor in the States and we would love to collaborate with building trust on a live project, please do get in touch…

  3. Thanks guys! It was a great experience to get involved with such great design thinkers as the Brunel students.

    Carla – I contacted Brunel as a previous student I discussed a few potential projects with a former tutor and progressed from there. I will be in touch!


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