Award-winning Teesside firm launches school competition to ‘inspire young minds’

EVERY pupil wishes they could make school a bit more fun.

Now one Teesside firm is attempting to enable youngsters to do just that.

For over 35 years, Harkin Associates have designed some of the best-known buildings in the Tees Valley.

Now the Middlesbrough-based design and architecture company has launched a new competition aimed at “unearthing the next generation of creative innovators” on Teesside.

Called ‘Sketching the Future’, the competition aims to ask budding designers what they’d do with a space in their school – with the only limit being their imagination.

“The aim is to inspire youngsters and to help unearth the next generation of creative innovators in our area,” said the firm’s practice principal, Andy Harkin.

“With the likes of Lego and Fortnite inspiring minds across the world, design has never been so popular with young people.

“Sketching the Future aims to help channel that creativity into creating a space that will benefit the community, whilst also receiving professional guidance from our experts here at Harkin Associates.”

Schools that sign up would provide an area of their site to be developed – from sports halls and classrooms to communal spaces or offices.

Harkin Associates would then create a professional ‘brief’ for the pupils, whilst guiding them through the process of transforming the space including advice on how to carry out a survey.

The award-winning company would then judge the entrants, with a suitably creative prize for the winning school – Lego.

For Andy, the competition is about trying to showcase the young creative talent that exists locally, whilst nurturing the next generation who will be tasked with continuing what he feels is Teesside’s “undervalued” aesthetic.

“Our area is associated with steel and industry, but our region has some stunning buildings and structures and for an area this size, we punch above our weight when it comes to design and architecture.

“Be it our bridges or the Clock Tower, the area has a magnificent look, so this competition is a way of trying to inspire the youngsters who will hopefully take on the baton and keep our legacy going.

“We have already had interest from schools across the Tees Valley, and we’d love as many as possible to sign up for what will be a very rewarding competition – and one that will help further develop young minds.”

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