Cooper Hewitt’s 2023 National High School Design Challenge

In May 2023, the LCAU hosted the Cooper Hewitt’s annual Mentor Weekend as part of the 2023 National High School Design Challenge. Finalists from across the country joined us for a two-day intensive workshop to develop projects around the use of data and design for communities.

This year, the brief for the design challenge asked students to consider what they would design with data for their community. Three finalists responded with projects around accessibility, equity, and climate change in a broad range of geographic and social contexts, integrating perspectives from personal experience with data to expose critical issues, inform decisions, and communicate new ideas.

Over the course of the weekend, participants were invited to advance their ideas through iterative design processes from initial sketches toward prototypes, better define the purpose and intent of their work, critically interrogate their data sources, and re-envision their projects in dialogue with their mentors. In addition, students were introduced to visual narratives and storytelling. The weekend concluded with a review with invited guests who gave feedback on work-in-progress.

In June, the finalists Rori Stanford, Yoona Lee, Yoojung Shin, and Eleanor Lewis presented their design ideas at the virtual Judging Weekend. Congratulations to winner Eleanor Lewis for her project Plant Resilient Miami, as well as finalists Rori Stanford, Yoona Lee, and Yoojung Shin! Learn more about their projects here.

This year's mentors included: Sarah Williams, Helen Kongsgaard, and Alberto Meouchi, as well as guest critics Eric Robsky Huntley, Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga, and Lizze Yarina.