Doncaster Civic Trust

An independent group of local people interested in Doncaster’s heritage

The Great Mansion House Design Challenge 2017

For the fourth year of our architecture competition for Doncaster primary schools we decided to do something different.

2017 has been a big year for the Mansion House. After securing a substantial grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, the council and Friends of the Mansion House had planned and hosted a wide variety of events to celebrate the Georgian era and the tercentenary of the birth of this lovely building’s architect, James Paine.

So what better context for us to change the format of our popular competition.  This year, with the support of the council, Friends and Sheffield School of Architecture we invited schools to enter teams to compete in the Great Mansion House Design Challenge. And we had an encouraging response with ten teams entered and given the task of designing a Mansion House for the 21st century.

The teams were to be mentored by masters architecture and urban design students from the university.

So on 27th November over 100 children with their teachers came to the Mansion House to work with 60 university students to produce some really innovative and exciting designs for a new Mansion House.

The children’s work was judged by our chairman and former architect John Holmes and university course director Leo Care.

The winner of the Eric Braim prize worth £100 was a team from Shaw Wood Academy , Armthorpe.

However, everyone deserved a prize. Each child took away a copy of the booklet ‘Discover Doncaster’ written by local teacher Phil Sheppard and provided by the Trust as a memento of a fun day.

We think our architecture competition is developing a good reputation. It is certainly a lot of fun as Trust members observed on the day, noting the buzz of industry and excitement in the packed rooms of the Mansion House.

A teacher commented on the day that one of her pupils, who rarely speaks during the normal school day was transformed – communicative and fully engaged with the university students. And it is worth noting here the role of the students. Most have English as a second language so it is a challenge for them too, which they overcame with charming and effective enthusiasm.

We want to say a big thank you to the education team from Heritage Services at the council, to the Mansion House staff, Friends and volunteers who made the day go with a swing and to Doncaster Civic Trust members who helped make the event a success.