Friday, 28 October 2011

Bloodhound – Blood, sweat and speed

Located within the state-of-the-art S&B Automotive Academy in Bedminster, Bristol, the Bloodhound Education Centre is an innovative learning environment, designed to engage, educate and inspire young people into a career in science, technology, engineering and maths. The Bloodhound SSC project team, preparing for its 1,000mph world land record attempt in South Africa in 2013, is based at the adjacent site, so it made perfect sense to transform the existing ‘big shed’ into a hands-on learning experience to showcase the technology behind the car.

The official opening of the Education Centre last week was the culmination of more than a year’s work, involving lots of collaboration, site visits to gain an understanding of the space, steering group team meetings and of course, lots of design creativity. We first became involved through EPSRC, who are funding the research behind the fluid dynamics for the Bloodhound SSC and with whom we had worked previously. They recommended us to the Bloodhound team, who asked us to come up with some ideas for using the area as well as the branding, graphic, signage and overall theme.

The challenge was to create a contemporary, engaging space that communicates the fun aspects of science, technology and engineering to children of 7-13 years and to provide a deeper learning aspect for 14-17 year olds to encourage them to study the subjects further. We brainstormed a number of exhibition concepts and content for the space and information required, and created a floorplan, demonstrating different ways to represent the most exciting aspects of the project and submitted them to the Bloodhound team.

Once a concept had been agreed, Bloodhound got to work implementing our ideas. These included light boxes and information display panels featuring the car graphics as well as interactive computer games featuring subjects that children can easily relate to such as horses and tanks, to show the basic premise of engineering. We also suggested a laptop storage unit designed to look like an engine, timeline wall graphics for the corridor, a fluid dynamics wall, and worktables where children can build models of cars as well as a 15m track to race them.

Halfway through the project Bloodhound also asked us to design the theme and graphics for a classroom within the education centre specifically for older children who have a greater understanding of engineering. We used the natural light from the windows to create several lighboxes to show the car’s structure from different angles. We also designed the wall graphics and text explaining the project mission, and a chart comparing the speeds of the world’s fastest machines and animals with the speed of the SSC, all of which featured the Bloodhound colours of orange and navy.

Glenn Wood, our senior account manager on the project, was at the official opening of the education centre and said: "Seeing the fruition of a year’s hard work was very satisfying. The children were clearly enjoying the interactive activities, so Bloodhound is well on its way in its quest to challenge and inspire young people whilst pushing the boundaries of science. It really is great to have been involved in such a fantastic project and we wish Bloodhound the best of luck wit hits world landspeed record attempt in 2013."

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