UPAD student wins Roca ‘One Day Design Challenge’

HALBAN Mohammed Al Balushi, 4th year student in the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at GUtech has won the ‘One Day Design Challenge’ held in Muscat by the Interior Design Company ‘Roca’. The jury was led by the Omani architect Hilal Al Balushi. The Design Challenge by Roca is held regularly in more than 10 countries; in Oman the competition was held for the second time. “The idea of this competition is to design a bathroom product with a time “challenge” in only 7 hours! This year’s challenge was to design a product that can be used by patients with bed-bound zero mobility in hospitals or at home. I started the design without any expectations. I finished on time and submitted my proposal to the jury. It was an honour for me as an undergraduate student to win the first prize among 113 participants including architects, interior designers, and product designers! I couldn’t contain myself out of excitement. This was one of the moments I will never forget. I give the credit for this achievement to my university, GUtech, because the education gave me a solid foundation which yields in an obvious way. I also want to thank my mentor Professor Ercan Agirbas (GUtech) for his continuous support. Thank you for believing in me,” said Mohammed Al Balushi.

This summer, Mohammed conducted two internships in Europe, including one with the interior design company Roca, based in Barcelona (Spain). “I believe, the most effective way of learning is practice. This summer I had the privilege to travel abroad and to practice what I have learnt at GUtech.” In the interior design company Roca, Mohammed worked with more than ten different nationalities. The training included a workshop on digital architectural photography including post-editing skills by famous photographers like Anna Devis and Daniel Rueda. Mohammed enjoyed being in Spain and experiencing Barcelona as a city. “I fell immediately in love with the city. The city is rich in architecture. Just by walking through the streets and reading building facades I learned a lot. All of that was under and through GUtech, I can say that I am privileged enough to have such an amazing summer,” he said. In Paris (France), Mohammed conducted a second internship, where he worked with Veolia, a leading resource management company. “I had a very intense training experience with Veolia, which is a huge company that works with sustainable energy and waste management. My task was to create an ideal city in terms of energy expenditure. The challenge was to manage all the aspects of city planning by providing an accessible, yet efficient plan. This includes putting all other major aspects of urban planning such as waste and water management. The practical experience made me aware that urban planning can be a very cooperative, participatory process, thanks to my solid background that I gained from studying in GUtech,” said Mohammed.

© GUtech/ Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photos: provided by Mohammed Al Balushi

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