Your Town Engineers

The new owner and developer of the North Street Quarter, Human Nature, has provided students from East Sussex College, Lewes with the opportunity to come up with ideas for the redevelopment of parts of the area (which they are calling the ‘Phoenix’ site) as part of a virtual work experience project.  Human Nature is in the process of designing a new, highly sustainable scheme for the site and will hold a public Design Festival to discuss ideas in September of this year.

Culture Shift, a Lewes – based arts and education charity, managed the student project, with support from Human Nature and engineer Eleanor Earl, from Arup. The project is part of Your Town Engineers, which is designed to encourage students to think about careers in engineering through developing design solutions to improving their local area.  The project is funded through the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund.

On 18 May 11 groups of students presented their ideas to a live audience which included representatives from Human Nature, Councillor Adrian Ross, Chair of Lewes District Council and Guy McQueen, Economic Development and Regeneration Officer also of Lewes District Council. Students included year 12 Animation and Illustration students and year 13 Art and Design students. Year 11 students worked on broad concept ideas for the development including a bridge over the Ouse, electric car charging points, bike hire and a restaurant on a boat. Year 13 students took a more design focused brief coming up with designs for ‘parklets’ on the new site, small green spaces that include seating and places to park a bike.

Y 13 students laid out their designs and 3D models and talked confidently to their briefs, whilst Y12 students made pre-recorded films to share their ideas with the audience. All were available for questions. Councillor Adrian Ross reported “It was great to attend the presentation and to see the students’ designs.  I was really inspired by many of their ideas and really hope that Human Nature can bring some of the designs to fruition.”

Lily Holbrook, Communications Lead at Human Nature said after the event, `From my perspective, the entire programme was brilliantly facilitated by both Culture Shift and East Sussex College Lewes. The work the students produced was outstanding. We were particularly impressed by the way they responded to our feedback throughout and presented their work at the end of the project. It was a pleasure to watch their progress over the course of the programme, and I was delighted to be involved. I look forward to working with the students over the summer to build  some of their parklet ideas and to exhibiting their work at our Phoenix Project Design Festival in September.’

Mark Watts, Assistant Principal at ESC Lewes, adds, “We are so proud to be celebrating the success of our creative & digital students with the Your Town Project. This is a fantastic record for the college and an amazing experience for the students, who can move on from ESC with this on the CV and work in their portfolio.”