Architects of the future showed off their creative talent at Tanbridge House School last week as they were challenged to design the ‘Horsham of the future’.
With houses made entirely out of leaves, a giant football pitch and even an ice rink the town would look slightly different if these young designers got their hands on it.
Pupils in years 5 and 6, from schools across town, were invited to Tanbridge last Friday where they were asked to come up with some new creative designs for buildings and spaces in Queens Street, Horsham, to make the area more exciting visit.
Youngsters were able to create their designs using the blockbuster, block-building computer game Minecraft before seeing their creations come to life using the new virtual reality headset the Oculus Rift, which allows players to step inside their favourite games and experience a 360 degree, 3D view of their creation.
The designing event was organised by Hack Horsham whose aim is to turn the town into a digital hub for commerce and local education.
They invited Brighton-based technology company Block Builders to the school to run the event.
Block Builders aims to get young people involved with town planning by challenging children to create buildings and spaces they would like to see in their town in the future using the popular computer game Minecraft.
Joe Palmer, co-director of Block Builders, said: “The aim is to get the children talking about their town.
“It is about getting the communication over between adults and children about what they want. Sometimes children find it hard to communicate with adults but have some fantastic ideas, so this is an easy and simple way to get there ideas across. They have come up with some great ideas and some really interesting designs.”
Joe created Block Builders along with fellow co-director Megan Leckie in December 2013. The pair officially launched the project back in August last year and said they have had really positive results and some fantastic ideas coming from the children.
Megan said: “It has been going really really well. We have seen some really useful designs and some really practical ones.
“This is all stuff kids want and we are seeing a lot of designs with green areas and with shared spaces which is interesting to see.
“It shows they do care about this stuff and there are lots of interesting ideas being created.”
Ben, a pupil at St Mary’s School, Horsham, was creating a house made out of leaves.
He said: “ I am trying to create a house made entirely out of leaves because I think building houses out of leaves is eco-friendly.
“I love Minecraft and it is really fun. It would be nice to do something in Horsham that might be here in 20 years time.”
Nik Butler and Marcus Tyler-Moore were at the school as part of the Hack Horsham team who helped run the event.
Nik explained how important it is for people in Horsham to learn about technology from an early age as the industry continues to grow and to make sure the town stays digitally aware.
He said: “It is probably a very good thing for Horsham as it continues to grow as a town to look at the digital economy. It is great to encourage children to learn about the digital age. They can go home and show their parents and get them involved as well. It should not just be about kids but about adults learning. I would rather see kids designing and learning to build in Minecraft than see them spending several hours in front of the TV.
“It is also very important for the children to have their say on the future of the town as it is the children that will inherit the streets.”
As well as the Hack Horsham and Block Builders teams, councillor Frances Haigh (LDem, Horsham Park) and Horsham MP Francis Maude also attended the afternoon.
Frances Haigh is a member of Horsham Blueprint Neighbourhood Forum and gave the students the brief to redesign Queen Street, an area which the forum is currently looking at improving.
She said: “They have got some great ideas. It is really good to see what they come up with.
“This is an exciting opportunity to have children involved in creating the future of Horsham. We will absolutely look to put these ideas into our plan.”
Both Nik and Frances were very keen on one plan to put an ice rink into the town.
Archie, a pupil from Southwater Junior Academy, came up with the idea. He said: “I want to see an ice rink in Horsham. It would be really exciting.”
What do you think about their ideas? Should our children be consulted more in the future planning for Horsham?
Comment below or email reporter James Oxenham