Students Pushing the Boundaries With Vectorworks

I recently attended a presentation by second- year Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design students from EIT’s ideaschool. Eighteen second-year students formed four design competition teams, each of four to five students. Each team was responsible for presenting their own unique vision and solutions for the project. ideaschool is based on the concepts of creativity, collaboration and convergence, which is reinforced by working with real clients in teams.

The purpose of the project was to create the new tsunami display for the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. This project will see a new tsunami display designed and developed for the Aquarium’s Education Centre.



After discussing the original brief with the National Aquarium’s Education Team to revamp the Tsunami display, staff from ideaschool suggested that to expand their students’ thinking further they could also develop a new name and theme for the Aquarium’s Education Centre.


EIT ideaschool lecturer Anthony Chiappin says it is a fantastic opportunity for the students to work on a real-world project that will form part of their degree assessment.



“These students will be designing something that could potentially be approved and created and on display for all to see. This makes their learning so much more relevant to the outside world and the way in which they will work in creative industries,” says Mr Chiappin.

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Coordinator – Hazards Lisa Pearse says it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. “The students get to work on a real project, the aquarium gets a new display for their education centre and we get to spread the message about tsunami risk while getting a revamped tsunami display. I can’t wait to see what they come up with,” says Lisa Pearse.

National Aquarium of New Zealand Education Team Leader Carol Larson is delighted to be able to work with EIT design students. “Education is such a key focus of what we do at the aquarium, so it’s such a good fit that on one hand we can help the design students by providing a ‘real life example’ to work on and enhance their learning, while the end result will improve the learning of potentially 6,000 students per year who use our programmes and Centre,” says Carol Larson.

The teams were required to design the whole experience from the street to the displays. This meant that they needed to design and present the street signage, way finding graphics, multipurpose rooms, and display graphics. An essential part of the project was to show the client how that design would feel. Vectorworks computer software was chosen to visualize their project concepts because of the capacity to generate effective presentation visuals and movies of their project ideas. These presentations created remarkable impact on the client representatives.

I was only able to see one presentation live, and it was stunning to see these young students present their work to the clients, to genuinely believe in the solution, and show passion about their solution. The presentation showed the concept, the signage, way finding, the rooms and displays.

To help the clients understand the project, the students had several visuals from the Vectorworks model and a walk-through movie. It stuck me that this is the way that projects need to be presented, and that these students will be pushing the boundaries of Vectorworks.

One thought on “Students Pushing the Boundaries With Vectorworks

  1. Congratulations to everyone of the 18, 2nd year Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design students at EIT’s ideas school! Well done everyone… and we had better watch this space…
    Loved the students’ enthusiasm and passion for realizing their ideas using Vectorworks and completing this real world task to real world standards with real clients. Shows how the walk through movie is now an industry standard, a deal maker, a contract signed more times than not.
    It’s good to see there will be increasing pressure with pushing the boundaries of Vectorworks into whatever is next. Thanks for this inspiring post Jonathan, it’s nice to see.

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