Five members of staff from D2 Architectural Design recently donated their time to take part in a one day workshop at a local secondary school - Dalkeith High School, Midlothian, situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh, for approximately 100 second year pupils. The workshop focused on the promotion of architectural technology and the built environment and demonstrating how different aspects of the school syllabus become relevant to working life. The workshop also encouraged the students to learn the importance of transferrable skills and working together as a team.

The workshop, named ‘Creative Dalkeith’, removed the supervision of teachers and allowed second year pupils the freedom to work alongside D2 on a practical design and construction challenge. This would involve the demolition of Jarnac Court, a dated local town centre courtyard, and improving the centre of Dalkeith for the benefit of local people, after they had identified Jarnac Court as an area within their local community that they felt could be put to better use.

The workshop comprised of 18 groups and entailed numerous different stages consisting of mind mapping and ideas, investigation and design stage, construction stage (build models using material donated from a local printing company) culminating with each team carrying out a presentation of their final design at the end of the day. Over the course of the following two days, the finished models produced by each of the groups were put on display in the school exhibition area with all staff and pupils casting a vote on their preferred design.

The winning group consisted of Zeynep Armut, Aislinn Melville, Leah Blackley, Beth Falconer and Connor Wright. The prize was an invitation to the winning group to attend D2’s offices for a morning accompanied by teaching staff. Each student then individually assisted in producing 3D models of different elements of the design to be inserted into a final rendered 3D presentation model of their winning design. This was then announced on the D2 website and social media along with other local publications. Winning group member Aislinn Melville said:

“We thought it was important to make Jarnac Court appear more glamorous as it is very grey and dark at the moment. There is a lot of concrete and we decided to create a section that had a marble floor which we feel would help it stand out”.

“Our big fountain in the centre would give Jarnac Court a proper feature and allow people to relax in calm surroundings as there’s nothing there at the moment. We also felt it was important to have some sort of park that would add more colour to Jarnac Court and also give it a more natural feel. “The redevelopment of St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh was our main inspiration and it would be great to have more of a café culture around Jarnac Court. People would be able to sit outside and enjoy a nice view of the water fountain and greenery. “We also added a textured path that will help safely guide the blind and disabled to the bus stops and park. This will make accessing the buses much easier for them and help to avoid any accidents.

“We feel the people of Dalkeith would enjoy socializing in our version of Jarnac Court and we can’t wait to create our 3D computer version at D2 Architectural Design.”

Company Director’s David Ingram and David Logan commented “the workshop was a resounding success and we were taken aback by how creative and innovative a lot of the kids were.  All students demonstrated an excitement and willingness to be part of the task which was great to see and a lot of fun. The future of the built environment looks to be in safe hands”