Journal Oman Interview

Universities and One Day Design Challenge, a win-win relationship

12 / 26 / 2018

In the last edition of the competition in Oman, we have talked to Dr. Sohair Hegazi, Architecture and Interior Design Head of Department at the Oman Scientific College of Design, about the influence of initiatives such as One Day Design Challenge on student learning.

Dr. Sohair Hegazi has a vast experience as a teacher and researcher in the fields of design and architecture. She has carried out specific studies on sustainable culture about traditional and contemporary spaces of Omani residences. Moreover, she is interested in the preservation of historical buildings and in the recovery of schools in developing countries.

One Day Design Challenge: What does the Roca One Day Design Challenge represent for the students and young professionals in design and architecture? 

Sohair Hegazi: This is a wonderful initiative to promote the talent and creativity of the next generation of designers and architects. It is a type of competition that joins the industrial with the academic sector, creating an interesting synergy of ideas and professional contacts. Participants face a real professional challenge and Roca receives innovative and high-quality ideas.

ODDC: What advice would you give to the young people that participate in the competition? 

SH: To look for references of the Roca brand on the internet to get to know its projects in depth, so that the proposal ends up being adequate to what the jury expects. Mind you, without disregarding a creative and personal proposal. Moreover, due to the lack of time, it is important to reach a high level of concentration all day long. 

ODDC: Are there any guidelines to be followed to design in such a limited period of time?

SH: I would highly recommend generating an action plan from the very start. The participants will be able to face the challenge better if they have an efficient creative process that helps them channel their ideas and be able to choose those that can offer the best result. In any case, it is important to always think “out of the box” to leave room for innovative proposals. 

ODDC: How did students react to the competition this year?

SH: The number of participants in my university in 2018 has exceeded the numbers of last year. Some of the students participate for the second time this year and they are thrilled with the possibility of winning a prize this time. This is a very positive experience; the good atmosphere created during the event is contagious! 

ODDC: As a researcher in the development of sustainable projects, do you consider it is important to instill these values in the education of future designers and architects?

SH: Sustainability plays a crucial role among the values we wish to transmit to our students. Nowadays, if we wish to move forward in design in an intelligent manner we need to adopt this global trend. This does not only imply working with sustainable materials, we need to apply from the start a culture based on the energy efficiency and the use of resources. For this reason, it is a good idea that Roca reserves one of its awards to this quality that should be implemented in all current designs.

ODDC: What would you say to those students that have not participated in the One Day Design Challenge so far?

SH: The education of our students today is stimulated by the professional possibilities they find around them. However, I consider it essential to find a good balance of the academic and professional activity. Books will provide a good approach to history and theory, but you will lack a realistic perspective if you do not take interest in the professional world. 

With this competition, Roca aims a very specific target, young students of design and architecture who either have not been able to carry out many projects so far or are starting to work in the sector. Thus, what they obtain after participating in the contest is much more than just a new page to add to their portfolio. 

I would tell future participants to take the opportunity of collaborating in such an inspiring experience. Whether they win or not, this challenge can become a new step in their professional careers towards what they want to become.