Student Competition – practicalities

On 1 October 2012 MAB2012 hosted a 24 hour student design competition. The design competition was open to bachelor's, master's and PhD students in the fields of interaction design, human-computer interaction, architecture, urban design, etc. from around the world and it was not necessary to be in Aarhus to participate. The winning team will receive a travel scholarship for attending the Media Architecture Biennale 2012 in Aarhus to the amount of 1,000 EUR as they will be invited to present their conceptual work at the biennale.

Below are the guidelines and practical information for the participating teams. If you want to see their results and progress, take a look at MAB12 Student Competition.

Design Brief

An expanded definition of 'media' (the intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed to the senses or a force acts on objects at a distance) creates interest for façades and boundaries of architectures that respond to the challenge of cities as sites of the fusion of nature and culture.

Within the domain of media façade design, the genres of advertising and news are by far the most common in terms of number of installations around the world. These genres are the oldest and most influential type of media to be integrated into buildings and they proliferated around the time where neon-signs became affordable. With the rise of large-screen (LED) displays these genres are still big but media façades are also increasingly being used as an urban interface for civic action (as is the case with Climate on the Wall, and 'THE WORLD’S CITIES WILL GROW GREEN'). This means, that media façades have the potential for becoming catalysts of connections between people; perhaps by making them participate remotely or locally with each other in transforming the media façade as well as the thematic content displayed on it.

However, a number of challenges emerge when media façades move from the world of advertising and a 'quick first impression' to actually play a productive role in the shaping of citizens' everyday lives around the world. These challenges are not least tied to the socio-cultural contexts of use that differ greatly.

Your task is to design a concept for a dynamic media façade that can be used to build up a sustained relation to a civic theme or challenge through everyday participation. You should focus on creating an immediately engaging interaction that activates people sensuously and emotionally and affectively to contribute to this theme through user-generated content.

Begin by finding an existing building and/or place where this intervention would make sense, and then conceptualize, design and explain the possible media façade as well as how it would change this place. You should also consider the impact on the local community you are activating with your design. The design should take advantage of a range of platforms, including desktop computers, tablet computers, and smartphones that are already available or envisioned to become available in the next two to three years. Additionally, you may include local or remote sensors whose data can become available to the design.

This is what you will have to submit

An online design journal on Tumblr
To demonstrate your design process you are required to keep a Tumblr blog throughout the 24 hours ( Use your Tumblr to record any major stages for your design, such as user research, prototyping, etc - the Tumblr setup is very well suited for shorter notes, pictures etc and will be easy to maintain throughout the competition. Tumblr is also suited for following specific tags, much like twitter (see for instance

Share as much as you can. We don’t expect you to share any ideas or results before the end of the 24-hour challenge, but what we want to be able to follow is the methodology you used to come up with your final design. Please post on Twitter with the #mab12sc tag whenever you update your blog (and include a link to the post) - this will make it easier to follow your progress. Please enable the RSS feed on your blog as well.

Make sure we have the link to your Tumblr as soon as possible by emailing it along with your team name, team participants, and your school/university affiliation (university, department, city, country) to mab12sc [at] gmail [dot] com. Also include the names of all team members somewhere on your blog. We suggest you write your first blog post as one of the first things you do after the competition has kicked off in order to keep the activity going.

To demonstrate your solution you are asked to submit a video. This can be either a video prototype or a concept video. Anything from animation through screen capture to acting is valid. Note that this means that you don't necessarily have to implement the system. The video should not be longer than 4 minutes. Include at least a title and your team name somewhere in the video. Make sure to leave enough time for rendering the video as this can be a slow process.

Final note
To describe your project you additionally have to write a brief note explaining concept, design process, and response. You are also encouraged to include research references and other relevant links in the note. Send the links to your final note and to your video to mab12sc [at] gmail [dot] com. We will send you a confirmation email when we received your submission.

Video and note have to be submitted as final post on your design blog. Upload your video to an online video site, such as Vimeo or YouTube, that allows you to embed it in your blog post.

Submissions will be open until Tuesday 2 October 20:00 (CET).

Since uploading to online video sites can take time, you can optionally upload the final video file to (use the Public Folder in Dropbox - more info here) or any other file sharing service, and include the download link as placeholder in your final blog post by Tuesday 2 October 20:00 PM (CET). Make sure that your video is properly embedded on your blog no later than Wednesday 03 October 11:00 (CET).

Your submission will be assessed by our panel of judges (see below) according to the following criteria:

    • Quality of design process and use of interaction design methods and theory
    • Design quality, innovation, and originality of your response to the challenge
    • Considerations into user experience and user interaction
    • Quality, visual style, clarity, and depth of the submission (video and note)

Jury (reviewers)

Ava Fatah gen Schieck, The Bartlett, UCL, UK
Gabe Johnson, University of Boulder Colorado, USA
Jamie Allen, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CiiD), Denmark
Jonas Fritsch, Aarhus University, Denmark
Martin Tomitsch, University of Sydney, Australia
Peter Eszes, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CiiD), Denmark

Prizes and awards

The judges will review all submissions to the 24-hour online challenge using the above criteria. The winning team will receive a travel scholarship for attending the Media Architecture Biennale 2012 in Aarhus to the amount of 1,000 EUR and to present their work at the conference.

Coverage and documentation/Talk about your progress

Apart from the submission requirements mentioned above, we love to see as much 'behind the scenes' coverage as possible – use your Tumblr blog to tell us about your process as well as Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, etc to cover every aspect of your design journey. Please use #mab12sc for tagging any challenge-related posts on all of these social media services.

Online support

You can post questions on Twitter (@MABiennale), or through email (mab12sc [at] gmail [dot] com). We will provide support throughout the 24 hours of the challenge.


By participating in the MAB12 student design challenge, you agree to the publication of your entry (video and blog) on the MAB website ( You further grant us the rights to include parts from your video submission in a video documentation about the challenge. Any material we publish will be fully referenced and your team will remain the copyrights. The travel scholarship can only be used towards expenses for attending the MAB2012 conference, i.e. travel tickets (train, bus, airfare), conference registration, accommodation in Aarhus during the days of the conference. You will receive the scholarship after sending us the according invoices as proof of your expenses.