Sir Terry Farrell launches student travel prize

This week Sir Terry Farrell, together with New London Architecture (NLA) and Vital Regeneration, launched an annual Student Travel Prize to encourage young people to take an interest in and start to look at and understand their immediate environment.

The prize was inspired by Sir Terry Farrell’s strong belief in the value of travel and education. It is intended to encourage young people to engage in their own ‘place’, look at their own surroundings and ask questions about why things are the way they are. The prize will enable the winner to go to a city where they will be able to see how good planning and design can have a positive effect on people and places. To enter the competition, students are required to produce an essay entitled ‘Lessons From London’, outlining their proposed improvements to their own built environment, supported by sketches and illustrative material. Submissions will be judged by a panel and a £500 cash prize will awarded annually to enable the winner to travel either in the UK or Europe.

In its pilot year, the prize will be open to Year 9 pupils from King Solomon’s Academy and The Westminster Academy schools, who have taken part in the Sustainable Design Matters (SDM) course run by Vital Regeneration and Farrells. It is intended that in future years the prize will be open to a wider range of schools to enter.

The SDM course, launched in 2014, is a pioneering partnership between Vital Regeneration, a local charity, and Farrells. The 10 week programme emulates real-life projects in the built environment. Working in teams, the students, drawn from local schools, will liaise with the ‘client’, face challenges such as budget cuts and disputes with neighbours, and consider how to communicate their proposals through marketing and community engagement.

The Farrell Review, published in 2014, called for the built environment and placemaking to be taught across all subjects in primary and secondary schools, to develop an understanding of how critical its role is to our health and wellbeing – socially, economically, environmentally and culturally.

Sir Terry Farrell said:

“Only by travelling and comparing do we begin to understand familiar places better, which we may we have previously taken for granted and not viewed in a critical way. This prize aims to support young people who have an interest in their built environment, but might not otherwise have the means to explore urban design and architecture through travel.” Winners of the competition will be announced in June 2015.