Designing Mt. Douglas

How Students Transform Their School

Written by Alex Altieri at Vectorworks

When we talk about our academic initiatives, we usually refer to universities, our lab donation program, and our Design Scholarship. We love to support up-and-coming designers with easy access to design software.

It’s come to our attention, though, that there are schools out there implementing Vectorworks courses below the college level. Thanks to our Canada office, we stumbled upon a high school with its own digital design program — and Mt. Douglas Secondary School in Victoria, BC, Canada has quite a touching story.

Graham McLaren, design teacher and rowing coach, sent us a slideshow with all the projects his students have designed — not only that, but he was kind enough to share images of the completed projects. Imagine yourself as a high school student contributing design work that actually gets implemented. Wow.

As part of the Mt. Douglas gymnasium’s redesign, one student created a model of what she envisioned for the space.

Mt. Douglas student’s 3D model. Courtesy of Graham McLaren.

The project was to redo the complex lining on the basketball court. The student used Vectorworks to take the existing gymnasium’s model and make the floor plan flourish. Within the model, you can notice the use of some intricate design tools — both the accuracy of the 3D model and the application of image textures to the model’s interior walls showcase the ingenuity present at Mt. Douglas.

Tweeting a series of pictures of the Vectorworks model and finished project, McLaren revealed that he’s proud to showcase his students’ capabilities. “When design lines up with final product,” he captioned the tweet, because, as you can see, the gymnasium is now a near carbon copy of this student’s proposal.

Mt. Douglas’s gymnasium. Courtesy of Graham McLaren.

Mt. Douglas’s most recent completed project is a “Diversity Tile,” which highlights the school’s diverse student body. Again, it was entirely students who worked on the digital design. They used a 3D printer to make it a reality, and the board is now on display by the school’s entrance.

Diversity Tile at the entrance of Mt. Douglas. Courtesy of Graham McLaren.

McLaren again tweeted his praise. Much of his Twitter account serves as an ovation to his students’ work.

Perhaps the most in-depth project done by students is a redesign of the library, which they’ve named the Learning Commons. Students were challenged to come up with an original design for the Learning Commons and present it to McLaren. They modeled the space digitally and used animation features to show what it would look like if implemented. Here’s an example one student posted to YouTube.

A whole range of students contributed design ideas. They’re all complete with 3D renders.

In 2016, two students put together a design concept for an outdoor eating space. The model is impressive, and the rendering is a perfect tool for communicating what the students envisioned.

Mt. Douglas students’ 3D model of an outdoor eating space. Courtesy of Graham McLaren.

Just as these students are learning about digital design, Mt. Douglas’s efforts have helped us learn that Vectorworks can be an empowering tool for academics, allowing aspiring designers to explore their creativity in ways that are truly remarkable.

If you’re a student or professor, you can request free Vectorworks software to start designing yourself. Follow this link to Get started