Week 12, July 17th 2020

On Friday, Ali was joined by Maggie (TeenTech) Andy Baird and Sonya Poonian from BT who gave the pupils inspiring and  personalised feedback on the buildings they’d created during the week as part of our TeenTech City of Tomorrow at Home programme.

We were amazed by the range of innovative ideas and beautifully constructed buildings submitted by imaginative pupils from around the UK. Andy and Sonya  were so excited and impressed by the creativity on show!

Our first building, called Windmill was created by  Mahek  (aged 13 from Sheffield).

“I created a windmill using a tissue box as the base, string for texture and to cover the box. I also used cardboard for the blades and the door. The next thing I made was a satellite tower out of a kitchen roll. After that I made an office building utilising a plastic bottle cut in half and with the other half, I made a garbage can. For the rocks, I used wet tissues, which had been moulded in the shape of a rock. For the grass   I used light green paper and stuck it down and then shredded fluorescent green coloured paper for texture. The building helps with farming and produces electricity”  Mahek

Everyone agreed that this was a resourceful building and lovely to have a windmill as part of its design. Sonya liked the fact that everything was recyclable, making the building self-sustaining. She added that it was very imaginative to reuse resources to make create a great self-contained building. Andy exclaimed that Windmill was, in fact, more like a city, a building extended to a city of the future. He said that this was a fantastic effort, making great use of materials to construct and give texture to the building. Maggie agreed that this was a gorgeous construction praising Mahek for having taken a good look at bigger issues – understanding how to create a sustainable city is so important and key for the future, so well done Mahek!

​Our next building came from Nikhil, aged 12 from Leicester. Nikhil’s building for business and commerce was called The Big Leaf.

“It represents natural materials, therefore it’s energy source is a wind turbine & solar panels. It also has lots of areas for plants and trees to grow, making it a healthy environment for people who work there. It’s a commercial building aimed at companies who are environmentally responsible and want to help save the planet. It is controlled by an AI system and due to current pandemic, I have made it voice-controlled, but you can manually override it if necessary”  Nikhil

This building certainly had the ‘wow’ factor, as everyone was immediately struck by the amazing colours! Another plus was Nikhil’s use of natural materials and consideration about climate change which is so important right now and into the future. Andy was also impressed by his great use of technology and the good thinking about including a manual overdrive.  Sonya loved the look of this cool, imaginative, and colourful space. She also agreed that managing AI (Artificial Intelligence) from home with manual overdrive is a better and safer option to reduce potential problems. Sonya believed this building demonstrated great imagination and had the potential to be developed further as a real concept. Maggie really liked how The Big Leaf would help mental wellbeing for people in the building, something that is incredibly important. She also loved how everything had been put together in the same building and that the space was open to the whole community, something else which adds huge value to society. Everyone agreed that Nikhil had presented his building brilliantly during his video, selling his ideas really successfully, so a huge well done for that!

Aquaria Megacity, an eco-friendly concept,  was the name of our next design, created by Ellie, aged 9 from Leicester.

“It is a city in a giant building out in the sea. It is covered in greenhouses and platforms for growing food. They collect rain on the roof for water. All the windows are solar panels. It also uses wave power and has 4 submarines for getting to land. It has lots of parks and pools for fun and a platform on the roof with a view. It has ramps and lifts for getting around” Ellie 

Maggie thought this was a hugely imaginative idea and was interested to know what had sparked her idea, being in Leicester which is so far from the sea! Maggie referred to the experience of living on oil rigs, which are pretty inhospitable – but felt that Ellie’s building would provide rich experiences. Sonya praised Ellie’s fantastic presentation, which explained the details very comprehensively. She liked how all the different elements included features similar to a cruise ship, but that Ellie’s building went further, using own its own energy and space. Andy felt that Aquaria Megacity had been logically thought out and designed. He really liked the energy generation, having three types so if one ran out there would be a backup. He also loved the fantastic collaboration between Ellie and her Dad!

Ruby and Poppy (aged 8 and 13 from Loughborough) created our next building, the multipurpose Hunger Flower.

“It is a self-caring greenhouse to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for the city to help prevent world hunger. The design of the flower makes it special as it’s in the city there are not normally loads of plants around as it’s all buildings. It automatically chops the plants when it knows the fruits and vegetables are ready. You can’t normally get fresh fruit and vegetables in the city like you can in small local towns. It gives cities fresh fruit and veg.  If it works out it could help out other countries around the world where hunger is a problem”  Ruby and Poppy

Following the girls’ brilliant presentation, Ali said he thought this was even cooler than the Dragonfly Building – with its unique design using biomimicry and including eco-friendly aspects. Sonya agreed that this showed great imagination in design and that by targeting more than one town it could generate food for more people. Andy agreed that The Hunger Flower was a really beautiful example of using biomimicry in design and that addressing issues of hunger in society was a lovely consideration. He admired Ruby and Poppy’s thoughts about infrastructure, such as transportation which was very well planned. Maggie agreed that this was a really thoughtful and stunning design, saying that The Hunger Flower would be a beautiful focal point in a city such a Leicester. She added that the other great thing would be that by growing food near to the people food miles would be reduced – all achieved with a beautiful design!

​The next building was called  Home Dome, a multipurpose sheltercreated by Summer and Grayson, aged 12 and 9 from Kirby Muxloe in Leicestershire.

“The Home Dome is a sustainable homeless shelter. It is eco-friendly and will be run using solar power and rainwater harvesting systems. It will be built with eco-friendly  Timbercrete, which is concrete mixed with sawdust which is better for the environment and also good at isolating so it will use less energy to heat the building. It has a Community kitchen, help and support room, donation area, temporary accommodation and a community allotment and rooftop garden and wellbeing area.”  Summer and Grayson

Andy was touched by Summer and Grayson’s concern around homelessness – a major concern all around the world – and their considerations towards well-being and accessibility for the residents, declaring the Home Dome a very kind building. Sonya was amazed by the amount of detail shown in all the areas, making this building very useful as a multipurpose space. She suggested that you could charge people to go down the slides they looked so fun! Maggie agreed that this was a beautiful design with beautiful thinking behind it. She went on to discuss how the homeless have been found places to stay during lockdown, hoping that this will be addressed afterwards in a permanent and sustainable way.​

Our next building- Spaceship at Sea – was created by Jessica aged 12 from Market Bosworth, Leicestershire.

“My building is called space ship at sea. It is a house that is in the sea. 
It is not connected to the national grid. There are 10 houses in the development and underneath each house is a water turbine that produces all the power. My build helps to solve over-crowded city.”

Sonya loved that this building used resources we already have which is so important for sustainability and this design offers many opportunities for further development.. Andy suggested that this was the blueprint for living at sea, with the added bonus of generating energy in different ways.  He loved the green living walls and the roof area for creatures and food production. Andy also praised Jessica’s great communication of ideas on her notes and design work! Maggie really loved the living walls- not only do they look fantastic but they are a great way of reducing pollution. This inspiring concept made Maggie think that it might be a good idea to have a future session about cities at sea because looking at technical issues could be very interesting to pursue further. 

Ali (aged 13 from Sheffield) was the designer of a mulit-purpose building, called Tourist Tower Bridge or TTB.

“My idea is that we build a tower bridge, above the water. The bridge would be made out of stone carved out of the mountain. Inside the tower, on the bridge there will be flats for tourists. The flats inside will use part of the electricity created by wind turbines and water wheels.” Ali

First of all, Andy was really pleased that Ali was representing Sheffield! Secondly, he thought that TTB was a great idea – the consideration for the care for the countryside was excellent, whilst also creating more affordable buildings. He thought the concept brilliant and highly innovative! Sonya agreed and added that Ali’s thinking about different structures was very important and that using the space above ground, as in a bridge,  was ingenious! She applauded the fact that Ali was tackling more than one problem within his design concept. Maggie loved this novel idea – saying that it starts your mind racing to see how far you could take it. She reflected back in time to the days when they used to include shops on bridges, saying it would be great to bring the concept back – a genius design, well done Ali!

The Elements was next – an eco-friendly building created by Maya, aged 9 from London.

“This building has all its own resources.  It produces electricity from the solar panel at the top and the mini wind turbines in the garden. It will collect it own rain water that will be supplied through out the building.  The Garden area will help to release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.  All the elements will help the earth.” Maya

Maggie said that this was a great model, explaining that when you start creating a 3D model from an initial idea it can be difficult – so great job Maya! She added that the need to have green space had been well thought about. Maggie also loved the interesting shape and unique idea behind The Elements building, referring to the buildings in the ’60s and ’70s when they were very bland. Andy thought The Elements was a tremendous name for the building and compared to other inspiring local buildings in London this not only looks good and interesting but also is full of many purposes – so well done Maya! Sonya was impressed by how well Maya had translated her ideas from sketches to building, which demonstrates great skill. Sonya added that if you live in London pollution is a huge problem, something which this building really helps to address in a very well thought out way!

Sehrish and Kashaan, aged 11 and 9 from Leicester shared their ideas behind their futuristic care home building- MARVTASTIC -in a brilliant video presentation!

“My brother and I have designed a care home. It has an airy entrance laid with feathers so it’s soft to walk on or easy for wheelchairs to roll over. It has a magnetic mat at the door which automatically catches any filth before actually entering the actual building. The insides of the rooms are lined with cushioned germ repelling walls to combat with the current COVID Pandemic and to also just stop the spread of any other germs. It has big windows for good ventilation which automatically detect germs and close if any germs in the air. The door has a microchip that recognises the counter microchips in elderly people’s wheelchairs or watches and opens automatically.” Sehrish and Kashaan

Ali loved the kind ideas in this project and Sonya agreed it was pretty Marvtastic! She praised the great detail included and the technology, such as the chips in the wheelchair being able to do things from a distance using a phone or app. Sonya also loved this topical and thoughtful approach to tackling one of the big issues with the current COVID situation, which has seen so many problems in care homes. This solution is not only tech proof but also health proof!

Andy agreed and was amazed by the depth of thought that had gone into this amazing idea for a futuristic care home, saying that caring for our elderly was a great subject to tackle. He loved the technology involved, the germ repellent materials in the walls and surfaces, the consideration of security measures and access to the building using microchips. Andy was also pleased that Sehrish and Kashaan had thought about the comfort of the residents with their bed and chair technology. Maggie was also taken aback with the amount of thinking Sehrish and Kashaan had undertaken about so many different aspects. She felt that this design concept could solve the recent challenges of not being able to visit your loved ones in their care home, enabling residents and visitors to be safe. Maggie added that with greater imagination technology could be made to be more user friendly for older people, for example, if they have arthritic hands, so a huge well done to Sehrish and Kashaan for thinking of the care home of the future which is more comfortable, easy for relatives to visit and importantly a safe place in terms of health!

The next environmentally friendly design was called Hilltop Village and was designed by Emelia, aged 15 from Atherstone.

“It is very energy efficient. The design is odd. It helps energy efficiency and means people have more rural areas/green spaces instead of lots of urbanisation.” Emelia

Ali loved this exciting design which would bring people closer to nature, and the ideas behind it, including the energy efficient use of wind turbines and solar power.

Sonya also pointed out that this design was very clever and well thought out, making the most of the hilltops where you can  get most energy from sunlight and wind, making the houses lower down self-sufficient, perhaps providing enough energy for other purposes too.

Ali referred to the buildings that blend into our environment shown in Tuesday’s session, claiming that Emelia’s design takes the concept to the next level. Maggie agreed and felt that if we all get behind the thinking about what we need for building sustainably, there could be massive employment opportunities for people to build a better world for the future! Andy said he would absolutely love to live in the Hilltop Village – especially as he loves cycling which fits into Emelia’s transportation plans! He was very impressed with this idea of a blueprint for the village of the future, with all the eco-friendly elements, the houses built into the hillside with the improvements that brings in terms of ventilation and insulation, and the technology included – well done Emelia!

Our final building, a residential housing complex, came from Matthew (aged 12 from Loughborough) and was called Elec- tri Building. We were treated to a lovely presentation by Matthew who explained his building ideas clearly and confidently, which everyone enjoyed!

“All the power for the block is generated through the shared solar panels. It has living walls to maintain temperatures. The three columns give it style and stability to counteract earthquakes and the raised platform manages flooding.” Matthew

Everyone agreed that this building was very appealing with its interesting shape and innovative ideas. Sonya loved the fact that the building was designed to be stable and withstand extreme weather conditions and flooding, having considered growing issues around climate change – and on top of that be so energy efficient!  She loved the shape also, because you could build many triangular buildings into a space to house many people. Maggie agreed, saying that she loved how a non- conventional shaped building not only looks very interesting from a design perspective, but can become very useful as it can fit more easily into awkward spaces within cities. She felt that it would lift the spirits of people walking into the building because of its excellent design. Andy felt that the name Matthew had given his building was tremendous, the Elec – tri matching the nature of his 3- sided design! Andy also thought that Matthew had tackled environmental impacts such as earthquakes and flooding brilliantly, especially important as year on year we are seeing more of a problem with flooding in the UK – well done Matthew, a great design!

The industrial experts stayed to answer questions sent in by some of our participants, using brilliant images to help support and explain their answers. Topics included the use of turbines in cities, which are likely to increase as science gradually overcomes issues with efficiency versus cost. We gained knowledge about materials and engineering approaches to building – such as building into mountains with reinforced foundations and allowing the structure to move naturally with the earth! We learned that copper and silver are naturally bacteria repellent materials – which would be costly to use in buildings, but the production of antibacterial surfaces is being increased using nanotechnology. There was a discussion about which was best – circular or square buildings? All agreed that circular buildings are more appealing in terms of design – Andy felt that they are more elegant and fit into the shapes of our natural world more.

Sonya summed up by encouraging the pupils to keep on being creative – they had been blown away by the ideas and buildings shared by them this week!