So what did the students of the University of Sheffield come up with?

Sophie Tombleson‘s, one of OOBE’s senior landscape architects, provides an account of the two day challenge;

“Four of the OOBE team went to Sheffield to take part in a landscape challenge for the University.

We were thrilled to be invited to run this years charrette, and work alongside the University of Sheffield’s landscape department.

The two day event kicked off with a site visit to Tower Works in Leeds, a live project of ours, and students braved the elements getting to grips with the site, its unique features and location.

To help provide focus, we divided everyone into four themes; Water, Wind, Windows and Walking & Wellbeing; within these broader themes, students were divided in to smaller groups or 3-4.

Once back in the studios in Sheffield, the students set to work, dissecting initial thoughts and experiences on site. With such a short timeframe we wanted them to capture and run with their instincts, what made the site special and what stood out for them.

We encouraged them to think beyond the site plan, and consider ways to express their concepts quickly, it was refreshing to see students working with paper, fabric, even a flapjack to convey their “Big Idea”.

This first day disappeared in discussions and debates around the different concepts but early on the second day students were well underway to expressing their thoughts through a range of models and visuals.

On the afternoon of the second day we held a mini presentation for each of the key themes, giving each group five minutes to present and five minutes for questions and a discussion.

It was interesting to see how each of the groups chose to showcase their work and which points they focused on. It was great practical experience for them in how to capture a client’s attention and sell the scheme in such a short time frame – a great real life skill to acquire!

Some very strong concepts were emerging across each of the themes, even though the students had little time to develop their ideas – we were very impressed.

The most successful groups were able to establish their “Big Idea” for the scheme and run with it. Bold, simple projects focusing on one idea were the most effective, but clear presentation skills were also vital in getting their ideas and thoughts across.

It was a joy to work with the students for the two full days. The team at OOBE were really inspired by the students bold ideas and quick thinking.

We would like to thank the University of Sheffield for allowing us such a fantastic opportunity and hope the students enjoyed the event as much as we did!”