Archive for the ‘Lend Lease’ Category

On the 25th of April two schools went head to head at the Lend Lease Buildings into Communities Project final. Both schools had an alloted time in which to arrive at Lend Lease’s Head Office in central London, organise themselves and then give their presentation to a panel of judges.

The judging panel consisted of:

Matt Beasley – Project Director for the The International Quarter which is next building phase in Stratford City.

Fay Cannings – Community Development Manager

Gareth Beaumont – Facilities Manager

Paula Lyons – Administration & Compliance Manager

I was also on the panel, as was a young man from Rokeby School who was with Lend Lease that week on Work Experience. It was quite interesting to have a young person judging with us (albeit from one of the schools in the final!) and I think it would be a great idea to have a student representative on any future judging panels.

The two groups had to present their thoughts on how to create and sustain thriving communities within new housing developments. They had a clear criteria for success which comprised:
• A clear, well thought approach to the project
• Thorough knowledge and understanding of issues
• A realistic solution
• The inclusion of attractive, relevant visuals
• A professional attitude
• Confidence when presenting and fielding questions

Both groups were exceptional in their presentations – so much so that the  couldn’t decide on a winner and Matt declared both teams should have winning Westfield vouchers. Eventually the panel got down to technicalities and it was felt that the Cumberland team really did address the criteria for success over and above what was required of them so they were the official winners on the day.

The final prize was being put together by Gareth at Lend Lease and will be something to do with a ‘backstage’ visit to the Olympic Park for the winners and their families. This will probably take place in the next few weeks.

An additional development on the day happened during judging panel discussions. The panel was so impressed with the professional attitude of all the participants that they wanted to think of a way to continue working with the young people. They agreed to find a way for Lend Lease to develop something along the lines of a youth forum and continue to develop the ideas that had been raised during the presentations.

And – because both teams were indeed winners – here’s a photo of the Rokeby team:

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A team from Cumberland School

In the last few days of term I attended two schools’ Lend Lease project finals and they were both excellent. Interestingly enough the schools had approached the project in quite different ways:

Cumberland had worked with Year 9 Gifted & Talented students allowing three days off timetable to take a more global curriculum approach and immerse themselves more fully in the project. In these three days they spent some time at Lend Lease hearing all about the planning and architecture of the Athletes’ Village and International Quarter. They then had time to work on their presentations with additional input around the geographical and sociological aspects of the project. The school final was held on the afternoon of the last day.

Rokeby had also put a Gifted & Talented group onto this project, this time Year 10. These students came together after school on Mondays and Thursdays to work on the project within the topic of Geography. They had been working on the project over six weeks, kicking off with a site visit to The Athletes’ Village and presentation by Lend Lease.

All the students were tasked with demonstrating how they would set about establishing communities within apartment block developments. They were free to look at the project from one of three angles: Society & Engagement, Security & Physical Environment and Environment & Sustainability.

Interestingly a total of four groups from each school gave a presentation, and in both schools, three groups had chosen to focus on integrating the residents of the apartment blocks and one group had chosen to focus on security.

The winners were duly selected and will go head to head at the grand final to be held at Lend Lease HQ in central London on the 25th April.

I was lucky enough to meet with Gareth Beaumont and Paula Lyons from Lend Lease last Friday. I say lucky enough because I got to head into the still-under-construction Athletes’ Village, and I do like a bit of a building site. It was great being able to get behind the scenes at a key site for the Olympic Games and made even more special as one of the guys on security happened to recognise me from when I taught him at Rokeby School!

In the meeting Gareth explained he wanted to develop a project that would be a fitting celebration of Lend Lease’s extremely successful relationship with Newham’s young people. It would also be great if it could be a legacy project that would be able to be repeated locally even when Lend Lease has left the borough, or could be developed at other Lend Lease contracts or even could be used as a model construction project by other organisations.

We threw a few ideas around but were not inspired. The situation was made even more tricky as really we would have to launch to schools straight in the New Year and have to ensure they could finish by Easter. A lot to ask a school that already has a scheduled timetable and a curriculum to adhere to . .

It all changed when Gareth got a map of the Athletes’ Village out to explain a point he was making. The residential part of the village is designed in a series of squares or courtyard blocks. It was then the project began to emerge: Buildings into Communities. How does a group of buildings turn itself into a thriving community? Genius idea! Schools can be given the option to focus on one aspect of community such as sustainability, physical environment, people, security for example and they could work in groups to come up with their approaches. The best ideas from each school would all be invited to a large presentation event at Lend Lease with the eventual winners having the chance to be at the Olympics with Gareth and Lend Lease.

I am busy writing the scope out now and can’t wait to tell the schools about it . . .