Meet These Student Winners: The Chosen Ones

Meet Gisel and Alyssa, Workspace category (and the youngest!) winners with their ‘U-turn, I-turn’ submission. Prepare to be inspired!

We were overwhelmed by the incredible diversity of our competition entries. Not only were our entrants geographically diverse, they were submitted by a range of teams from large A&D firms, solo practice designers and many students.

One that caught our eye was submitted by two creative 11 year old students from New Jersey, Gisel Calulo and Alyssa Olegario. We caught up with them via Zoom to find out more about them and how they came to enter the competition.

As it turns out, Alyssa’s astute dad saw the competition on LinkedIn and thought it would be an interesting project for his daughter. She engaged friend Gisel and the two set about in a most professional matter to come up with a design solution for the new workplace. It was a true collaborative effort, with schedules, timelines, model building and drawings. We love their enthusiasm and creativity!

Since the competition, Aly and Gisel started 7th grade at St. Augustine of Canterbury School in Kendall Park, NJ and are keeping themselves busy with the sports they love. Aly is on the USAIGC team of the Scarlet Knights Gymnastics Academy. Gisel plays for Jersey Cardinals AAU Basketball, SIPAG-NY AAU Basketball and the Franklin Township Soccer Club 2008 Girls EDP Team.

Check out their full submission:

U-turn, I turn, U turn, we all return to work!

During the build out of the workspace, we considered the following: Glass, fabric, and other mediums could carry germs, so we were concerned about which to use. We decided for the cubicle walls to use fabric with a spray-on Microban solution, which begins to work once on contact with treated surface. The Microban application would be completed before installation.

Common areas such as bathrooms, reception areas, and conference rooms are spaces where germs spread easily. We decided to make single bathrooms with motion-sensor faucets and hand sanitizer dispensers by the door. The reception area will include limited seats that will be spaced out. The conference room will be limited to 10 workers at a time. Employees can use an intercom system from their cubicle to join meetings if needed. Each cubicle has a built in intercom system so they can communicate with each other while remaining socially distance. Writing ideas to solutions is also very important. Ben Franklin kept a notebook with him, so he could write down ideas when he had them. To help the employees utilize that notion, one wall of the cubicle will be dry-erasable to write down their notes.

Once the office is set up, the next concern was keeping it clean. Although this is important for COVID-19 prevention, yet we didn’t want workers struggling to clean their cubicles daily. The use of Ultraviolet (UV) light panels will help sanitize their cubicles daily in addition to their general cleaning. UV lights would be on a timer system and would turn on during the evening hours when the office is empty. Also, the HVAC system will have a UV filtration system built into the duct work along with HEPA filters to help with air circulation. Since the cubicles will be sanitized by overhead UV lights, the “moving monitor” system will help for storage during cleaning. These “moving monitors” will move into a cabinet built within the desk on a schedule; up in the morning, and down at night. Computer keyboards and door handles can carry germs easily workers will be asked to store their own keyboards. Also automatic doors will be installed. Each worker has their own sanitizing station in their cubicle for hand sanitizer, wipes, and tissues. This will keep them clean and safe after being in a crowded environment.

Comments from the jury:

Perhaps inspired from their parents working from home 24/7, I think these future designers might have hit on a trend of people craving a personal space when they return to the office.

Love the attention to detail – including the pop-up screen at the desk and the sanitation idea to have everyone keep their own keyboards! Can’t wait to see them both in the industry in a few years. Bravo!

A special thank you to our sponsors: 

Adapting the Open Workplace: Safe and Separate with a higher level of acoustic comfort.
The first and only disinfectable fabric approved by the EPA
Crafting the Now, Near, & Next.
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