Summer School: Surface to Partner with UPenn to Concept a Mobile Testing Unit for COVID-19

The summer competition will challenge students at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design to help solve one of the persisting obstacles of widespread coronavirus testing.

The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design.

Starting June 1, we’re thrilled to launch a new initiative, Surface Summer School at Penn, a design challenge and competition in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design.

The first partnership of its kind between a media company and an accredited university, the challenge will invite students from Penn to respond to a brief for architectural and design solutions for a mobile medical COVID-19 testing unit. The winner of the competition will be profiled on the Surface editorial platforms and earn a future internship with our media company.

Inspired by the recent involvement of the school’s students in the 3D printing of 1,000 face shields for Penn Medicine’s six-hospital health system, and recognizing the unique challenge faced by students seeking an internship or employment this summer, Winka Dubbeldam, Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture at Penn, conceived a month-long challenge in which students will concept prefabricated COVID-19 testing structures as potential solutions for compact urban centers most affected by the pandemic.

Design proposals will be reviewed at the end of the month by a jury who will judge the student submissions and choose the winners. The jury is headlined by some of the world’s leading minds in design, including Winka Dubbeldam, the renowned artist and designer Dror Benshetrit, Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Thom Mayne, designer Yves Béhar, Susan Sellers of 2×4, Marion Weiss, Ferda Kolatan, and Joe Doucet

Each week during the contest, a member of the jury will present a lecture on the Surface Instagram. The hour-long sessions will kick off with designer Yves Behar on June 3rd at 6:30 pm EST. 

“The goal of Surface Summer School at Penn is for us to provide students with an opportunity during this crisis to meet design professionals, create better portfolios, and to hone their creativity and design skills even further,” says Dubbeldam. “We’re thrilled to partner with Surface, which has always championed creative design and supported upcoming talent within the community.”

Winners will be announced in mid-July. 

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