Learning differently – students built hotels all year round in DEC LT project

Important | 2020-07-08

Today, there is more and more talk about what skills are needed in the 21st century to have a successful career. Emphasis is placed on creativity, engineering thinking, ability to work in a team, flexibility, quick orientation, the ability to find a way out of the situation and communicability. The project “Design. Engineer. Construct! Lithuania” and unexpected quarantine proved that more than 50 students and 13 teachers from KTU Engineering Lyceum, Panevėžys J. Balčikonis and Vilnius Žemynos gymnasiums are able to find a way out and work creatively even in difficult conditions.

The participants of the project needed to find various answers: where to start after receiving the task to build a hotel for an exclusive client – James Bond? How to examine a customer’s intended hotel location when it is in London? How to come up with an exceptional idea, convey it in architecture, what construction and engineering solutions to choose for the underground building? How to transfer your ideas to a 3D model? Working in teams, participants sought solutions and inspiration not only by getting acquainted with legendary films about the legendary agent, but also met with professionals in their fields: architects, engineers, consulted with Kaunas University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture (KTU FCEA) lecturers and students. The project’s organizational team, KTU FCEA together with its partners from Great Britain “Class of your own” had to change same plans due to quarantine and solve unexpected challenges. But on June 10 the project was successfully completed by almost all teams. 11 of the 13 teams that started the project submitted their hotel projects.

Quarantine difficulties – small inconvenience

“In the first half of the year, the teams focused more on generating ideas, analyzing the environment, and building an identity. They created sketches for future hotels and looked for other solutions. In the second half of the year, after a mid-term review in early February, students sat down at a computer program used by professional engineers to create their own hotel drawings with it. They also prepared descriptions of building structures and other engineering solutions”, – Laura Jankauskaitė-Jurevičienė, the project coordinator, introduced the project.

According to the organizers, quarantine revealed that for many teams, the challenge was teamwork, when participants could no longer sit at one table, communicate, argue, seek common solutions, and consultants could not directly communicate their knowledge. To address this, special team web pages were created to make it easier for organizers to communicate with project teams and for participants to advise students.

“There were challenges in all schools. We feel that distance learning has been a difficult period for students and teachers, so the teamwork. Work while sitting at individual computers at home is much harder than sitting at a single desk at school. However, we are proud of all the teams that did not gave up and even when the number of team members decreased, they successfully completed the project” ­ –­ L. Jankauskaitė-Jurevičienė assured.

Engineers of Kauno tiltai, YIT Lietuva, Staticus and INHUS shared their experience and ongoing projects at the remotely organized meeting. The guest lecturers demonstrated what technologies they work with and what their projects in Lithuania and abroad look like.

As Rasa Kazlauskienė, a teacher at Vilnius Žemynos Gymnasium, mentioned, these presentations were very memorable for teachers as well.

“We did not even imagine that such technical solutions and works are performed right here in Lithuania. And that our companies are engaged in such impressive projects all over the world” said the teacher.

Teams with different strengths

The full-year work of the teams was evaluated in mid-June by a panel of experts who selected the 5 best teams in different fields. KTU Engineering Lyceum teams have won several nominations: “James Bond, The Hotel” team has been awarded for the best design and engineering solutions, and the “Underground Secret” team has been awarded for the best layout and best presentation record. The nomination for the best idea went to the hands of the team of Vilnius Žemynos Gymnasium team “Black Secret”. And the prize for the best 3D drawing, and the Voice of the Nation was given to “The Enlace Secretum” team of Panevėžys J. Balčikonis Gymnasium.

Participants was evaluated by experts team: Audrius Leonavičius, Head of BIM at YIT Lietuva, Darius Rimašauskas, Representative of Bentley Systems, Jurga Vitkuvienė and Laura Jankauskaitė-Jurevičienė, Lecturers at KTU FCEA, and Ignacio Villalon Fornes, KTU Creative Director Ieva Juozėnaitė, Head of KTU Marketing Office Paulina Kuzmickaitė.

Daniel McDonagh, a teacher in the United Kingdom who visited the interim presentation in February and listened to the presentations, also was acquainted with the students’ works.

“The teams had very different strengths. Who did better to make presentations, who delved more into the analytical part and did research. Some teams have prepared very impressive building models. A lot of the works looked very professional, the works really look like they were prepared by older colleagues”, – the teacher from Great Britain described the achievements of Lithuanian students, adding that they are already waiting for next year’s results.

The project will continue next year

The dean of KTU Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture prof. Andrius Jurelionis thinks that this year’s test can be considered very positive. Although there were a number of challenges, they were defeated, and there are a number of students and teachers among the participants who are willing to continue working.

“Next year, Design. Engineer. Construct! Lithuania project will be continued, but the location of the task is planned in Lithuania. This time we want to give students the opportunity to directly feel the environment in which they will create their projects, and we also plan to pay more attention to 3D modeling and visualization of the building. We will not reveal the task yet, but we hope that more schools will join the project next school year”

According to the dean of the faculty, it is very important that this project is supported by various companies and experts, who allocate both funding and their own time. During this year, more than 15 professionals consulted students or shared their experience: architect Gintaras Prikockis, Kaunas Park Inn by Radisson Blu hotel director Jūratė Rudienė, architectural offices Nebrau, Mmap, Panprojektas, companies Inhus , Staticus, YIT Lietuva, Kauno tiltai, Bentley systems and many others.

Six KTU students from different fields answered and consulted the students’ questions: Audrius Akelaitis, Jokūbas Bobrevičius, Raimonda Česnauskytė, Austėja Dapkutė, Vaiva Balvočienė, Kazimieras Daunoras.

Project partners – Class of your own, Bentley Systems, KTU SAF Smart Cities and Infrastructure Center.

More about project – https://csci.ktu.edu/dec-lt/