Student bricklayers go green and virtual
Students at Walsall College transferred their brick workshop skills to a desktop and VR headset for a digital sustainable housing design project.
3D designs of a futuristic residential property were created by 52 Level 1 students as a way for them to understand and promote the digital solutions and green energy priorities within the construction industry.
A judging panel of college staff and a representative from construction company, Taylor Wimpey chose winning designs based on the drawings, sustainable housing features included and the feasibility of bringing the property to life.
Julie Newton, Lecturer and Advanced Practitioner at the college said: “This type of project is typically associated with Level 3 students training to work in property design and planning, however it has also worked effectively as a way for our trainee site workers to be more intuitive about how different materials, features and layouts impact on our use of energy resources.
“Everyone’s designs were impressive and we were delighted to see how committed they were to promoting a culture of energy and water efficiency, recycling and minimal waste.”
The project also introduced the students to the facilities available in the college’s Digital Innovation Hub. Revit IBM software solutions were used to enhance the students’ initial paper drawings before meta quest virtual reality headsets enabled them to create a walking tour using Enscape real-time rendering software.
Nathan Hartshorne, Curriculum Manager for Construction Trades added: “This is an excellent way for students to go beyond the theory elements, English, maths and science requirements of their course.
“We often teach our students transferable skills to take into other areas of study. Demonstrating what they can achieve at a higher level and in a variety of site operations and management roles is also important to their development. It’s why the project has worked so well for us.”