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P*DA 2018 Visits: Project Work Learning Festival at Compassvale Secondary School

As part of the President*s Design Award Secretariat’s efforts to keep learning and growing, we attend talks, presentations, classes and other outreach events to get ourselves updated and in sync with the latest developments. Find out what we learned at the Learning Festival at Compassvale Secondary School.

Sahiba Banu, junior reporter on the President*s Design Award team, blogs about her experience at the Learning Festival at Compassvale Secondary School.

On the 25th of May, Compassvale Secondary School invited a two-time recipient of the President*s Design Award “Design of the Year”, Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, to deliver the keynote address at their Project Work Learning Festival.

Compassvale’s Project Work Learning Festival aims to showcase and celebrate the 16 best group projects from various lower secondary classes. The school has adopted Design Thinking as the key approach undergirding their Project Work curriculum. Students have learned to use the Design Thinking Process to create meaningful solutions to promote sustainability and ecologically-sound design solutions, based on the theme “Sustainable Living”, to benefit Singapore.

This year, the theme of the Project Work was on waste management. Using the Design Thinking Process, students worked in groups and were guided to empathise with various current issues based on their problem statement. They ideated possible solutions before working on their final prototype.

To support Compassvale’s programme, and to give students a rare chance to hear from a real-life designer working on sustainability issues, Dsg invited Ramboll to give the keynote address at Compassvale’s Learning Festival. Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in Denmark, 1945. The company specialises in sustainable projects for the public sector and private business. Ramboll has over 300 offices in 35 countries, including Singapore. With their technically advanced solutions, Ramboll has completed projects like Holmestrand, the world’s first station in the Nykirkean mountains of Norway; and Polarled, the deepest subsea pipeline across the Arctic Circle. Ramboll has also completed projects in Singapore like the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park that was awarded Design of the Year in 2012 as well as Jurong Eco Garden – the first business park that was awarded Design of the Year in 2014.

Dixie Mengote, an urban planner and environment engineer, gave her keynote address highlighting her company’s vision, projects and how Design Thinking can be used to act on environmental issues.  With years of experience, Dixie touched on master planning, water sensitive urban design, urban research, and social development.

As the most popular park in Singapore, Dixie explained the thought process behind Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. “Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is designed with the intention of rainwater flooding the river. Afterwards, the rainwater drains out and you are able to see the pavements that are stepping stones. We managed to combine the technological aspect as well as the people’s aspect which creates the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.”

Dixie emphasised on the importance of planning. “When designing big things, bear in mind three things. The first being, will people like it and is it desirable? Secondly, is it going to help you make money? Thirdly, ask yourself if it is technologically possible?”

Soon after, the Principal of Compassvale introduced a group of students who had put together an outstanding project on air-cooling. Meghna, Sharmaine, Rahana from 2E4 were invited to share their prototype for an eco-friendly air-conditioner based around the theme, Sustainable Living.

Often, air-conditioners are used in a warm and humid climate like Singapore. The girls proposed an idea of having an eco-cooler that does the same job as a typical air-conditioner without using electricity. The eco-cooler is able to lower the surrounding air by up to 5°C and the prototype would only work in temperatures of 35°C and above. The eco-cooler is completely powered by solar energy, which makes it a very eco-friendly air-conditioner.

Through this Project Work Learning Festival, the students were able to gather insights from the presentations. The P*DA team would like to thank Ramboll for taking the time to share some of their impactful projects. We would also like to thank Compassvale Secondary School for inspiring their students to use design thinking when creating sustainable products for real life situations.

*Photo credits: Compassvale Secondary School



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