Wentworth Students Take Home People’s Choice Award At Design Museum Hack-a-Thon

August 15, 2016

Nine Industrial Design students

Nine Industrial Design students (Allison Black, Brigit Bratland, Justin Canas, Matthew Harrison, Connor Pelletier-Sutton, Richard Woessner, Michael Tremblay, Andrew Reynolds, and Taylor Vanzile) along with Mechanical Engineering professor Steve Chomyszak and ID professor Carly Hagins and alum Tony Travaglini (BIND ’14) formed the Accelerate sponsored team.  The team was in impressive company with Payette, Autodesk, Essential Design, Shepley Bulfinch, Fidelity Labs, CBT, MassArt alumni, Bose and Stantec rounding out the nine other teams present. Their mission was to prototype an idea for how to activate the 93 overpass where South Boston meets the South End.

In a city where every storefront, public park and new or historical architectural wonder is vying for our attention, the idea of activating an unused and overlooked part of the cityscape is a daunting task. Last weekend Design Museum Boston hosted their Urban Innovation Hack-a-thon and challenged teams to do just that; activate a highway overpass.

Nine Industrial Design students (Allison Black, Brigit Bratland, Justin Canas, Matthew Harrison, Connor Pelletier-Sutton, Richard Woessner, Michael Tremblay, Andrew Reynolds, and Taylor Vanzile) along with Mechanical Engineering professor Steve Chomyszak and ID professor Carly Hagins and alum Tony Travaglini (BIND ’14) formed the Accelerate sponsored team.  The team was in impressive company with Payette, Autodesk, Essential Design, Shepley Bulfinch, Fidelity Labs, CBT, MassArt alumni, Bose and Stantec rounding out the nine other teams present. Their mission was to prototype an idea for how to activate the 93 overpass where South Boston meets the South End.

“They fearlessly approached and talked with strangers, gaining insights about commuting and safety and user needs”, said Carly Hagins of how the team tackled the challenge during Saturday’s session. “We set out to get a better idea of the people who were already using the space and there wasn’t much time to do it.”

After cycling through hundreds of post-its, dozens of sketches and a bunch of small, rapid prototypes, they built impressive renderings that would beautifully communicate their idea to the audience.

Their idea took cues from the existing architecture to construct of a series of illuminated archways that guided visitors and commuters through the space basked in colorful lights. It’s a simple yet impactful solution that connects two different parts of the city.  The team had 7 minutes to pitch the idea and when the judging had come through, the students had earned the People’s Choice Award.

Sophomore Richard Woessner had this to say about the event, “For being the youngest participant in this event it was definitely an amazing experience. All weekend I was able to learn from my incredibly skilled teammates which not only encouraged me to work harder but also excites me for my upcoming years studying to be an Industrial Designer at W.I.T.”

For the team to take home the People’s Choice Award is all the more impressive in the context of all the teams present. Some of the biggest names in design and technology in New England were in attendance.

“The design team from Wentworth won the hearts of everyone at the Urban Innovation Festival with their creative thinking, team unity, and collaborative approach — I’m so glad they participated and earned the People’s Choice Award.” Said Sam Aquillano, Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation.

These students, staying true to the design process, took the time to listen to the needs of the people in developing their idea and clearly, the people loved it.

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