Ohio State’s Golden Bucks Advance to Final Round of Big Ten Student Design Challenge

The Big Ten Student Design Challenge puts design decisions in the hands of those impacted the most by campus learning environments—the students. This year, The Ohio State University received seven design proposals for a common area in Smith Lab on the Columbus campus. Participants represented a broad range of disciplines including Interior Design, Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Visual Communications Design and more.
The judges appreciated seeing the ingenuity of all seven Ohio State submissions. Some teams prioritized independent study and individual work spaces, while others created designs geared entirely toward collaboration; the winning design, however, reflected the need for a multi-functional space that was accessible for all and had significant creative appeal.
The judges ultimately chose the Golden Bucks’ proposal to represent Ohio State at the national competition. Tiffiny Plasencio-Howard served on the panel of judges and was impressed with the Golden Bucks’ visual concept from the beginning. “They were intentional in every way from the color scheme, fabrics, layout and more,” says Plasencio-Howard. “It was clear the amount of effort they put forward to create an all-inspiring, all-inclusive space.”
Members of the winning Golden Bucks team (pictured below, left to right) include Gabby McCloy, Christine Stankiewicz, Olivia Forsyth and Katherine Hunter. McCloy, Forsyth and Hunter are pursuing degrees in Interior Design, and Stankiewicz is studying Graphic Design. The Golden Bucks are pictured here with last year's BTSDC winners Tyler Hatton and Kelia Todd.
The winning team
The winning Golden Bucks (left to right) include Gabby McCloy, Christine Stankiewicz, Olivia Forsyth and Katherine Hunter. They are pictured here with last year’s BTSDC winners Tyler Hatton and Kelia Todd.
The Golden Bucks’ research on Smith Lab found that students lack an inclusive and comfortable environment outside of the large lecture halls where they can work individually or in groups. The new-and-improved floor plan for Room 1186 needed to be adaptable to the unique needs of students studying for hours or just passing time between classes.
The winning design employs inclusivity, comfort and function to create a space “where students feel welcome to come and work.” The proposed floor plan (pictured above) expertly incorporates individualized work spaces, a flexible lounge space and a collaborative table. The Golden Bucks go as far as to delineate each area of the room with geometric patterns in the carpet, creating balance both visually and spatially.
Biomimicry—modeling materials on elements found in nature—is evident throughout the Golden Bucks’ design. From the natural wood of the intricate ceiling installation to the saturated colors of the wall art and paint, the Golden Bucks’ proposal “breathes new life into the old, outdated building.”
After placing first in the local judging round at Ohio State, the Golden Bucks went on to secure their spot among the top three teams across the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The Golden Bucks, along with the top teams from Wisconsin and Nebraska, will travel to Herman Miller headquarters to pitch their design proposal to industry professionals in the final judging round for the winning spot of this year’s Big Ten Student Design Challenge.
The winning team’s proposal will be built at their home university with furniture provided by Herman Miller, free of cost to the students and the school. Thank you to all teams who submitted proposals this year, and good luck to the Golden Bucks in the final phase of the competition.