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Students from Thomas Rotherham College have scooped the top two prizes in a competition that encourages budding young architects to design an idea to improve a 'forgotten space' in their local neighbourhoods.

The first placed team won £1,000 in resources for the college in the Forgotten Spaces - Young Creatives competition, run by Sheffield Hallam University and supported by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Yorkshire and the Sheffield Society of Architects.

Their design for a new 'Common Room' for youngsters from Thomas Rotherham College and Rotherham College of Art and Technology to integrate and socialise, was praised by competition judges for its 'outstanding innovation that met the competition criteria at every level'. 

One of the judges was professional architect Chris Paterson, winner of the Sheffield Forgotten Spaces 2011 competition, who said: "The work was absolutely amazing, especially when you consider the age of some of the students who took part. It's really encouraging to see more and more young people taking part in the competition and I think we've definitely seen some future architects here."

The schools competition follows on from the professional Forgotten Spaces competition that came to Sheffield in 2011, encouraging architects, designers and artists to come up with innovative ideas that finds new uses for the region's overlooked areas.

A second team from Thomas Rotherham College scooped a further £750 in resources after they were declared runners-up for their design to build 'The Pentagon' - a public area offering a place to relax while taking in the views over Rotherham.

Last year's winners, Hillsborough College claimed the third prize of £500 in resources after designing 'Hallam Garden' - an area in the centre of Sheffield for people to relax in and allow Fine Art students to display their work.

All schools who registered for the competition were given the chance to take part in a workshop led by Sheffield Hallam architecture students. The workshop enabled them to discuss their ideas for the competition and receive quality advice on how to express and develop their design proposals.

Winners: Mona Jalali & Joe Bradley with their tutor, Norman Wienand and Pro-Vice Chancellor John Leach (far right)
Thomas Rotherham
Hillsborough College came a close third
The winning project -

Click to view the images

Joe Bradley, 17, of the winning team, said: "We really didn't expect to win, especially when the third and second prizes were announced and because so many things went wrong when we were preparing it. But, we're really proud of it now and loads of people have been really positive about our design and have said they wish it was actually being built."

Head judge, Professor Norman Wienand, who heads up the department architecture and planning said: "This competition has really captured the imagination of the pupils involved and I am sure we are looking at the work of the architects and planners of the future.

"It's great to be able to work with young people on ideas for their own communities and show them the processes involved in regenerating our cities."

The winning entries will be on display in the University's Harmer Building, alongside the Creative Spark exhibition that showcases the work of our current architecture students.

For press information: contact Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email