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Students design chairs with DP Architects

To enrich our new A-level course, DP Architects visited UTC Reading to deliver a fantastic chair-making workshop.

Amanda, who has been an architect for 15 years, and Katie, UTC Reading Alumna, delivered an exciting and interactive workshop where students were tasked with designing and making a functional chair out of rolled newspaper sticks. Students were given an informative presentation about many famous architects, some of whom they are studying throughout their course, and realised that most famous architects have also designed chairs in their time. The chairs reflect their architectural style, some being very minimalist and others being large and comfortable.

The students worked in pairs and were given 25 sticks each. They designed their own specification, in which the chairs had to have at least three legs, a back, be the height of a standard chair, and must be able to hold a person for 30 seconds. The students worked with pace and enthusiasm to manufacture their designs, some creating very innovative structures. The Year 12 architecture students had less than an hour to assemble their chair, with only elastic bands and cable ties to hold the structure together.

Eight chairs were carefully designed and tested by our willing volunteer and Principal, Jonathan Nicholls. With some excessive squatting and body strength, four out of the eight chairs survived the 30-second test. Jonathan decided that the most successful and rigid design was the chair of Manraj Bains and Rahima Begum – congratulations! Their structure was made up of a series of triangles, providing a strong and stable structure at the core.

Stephanie Mitchell, Director of Industry Relations and Design Technology, said: "The workshop was excellent fun! It really got the students thinking about elements that they may not usually consider. It tested their time management, team-working and manufacturing skills. I thoroughly enjoyed it so thank you to DP Architects."


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