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Lego Competition: #Beyond 2020

by Radha Sudra

September 2018 saw the launch of #Beyond2020, a Lego inspired design and build competition for young people aged 11-15 years old by SeerBridge and its project partner HTA Design LLP.

This has been an exciting and engaging project for us to finally see come to fruition nearly 18 months after the original idea of the project was conceived. The idea came from an article which challenged the notion that Lego was just a toy. It suggested that Lego could be used as a tool for addressing the skills shortages in the real estate sector by inspiring young people to seek careers within it. The question is, how can plastic blocks and pieces do that?

The driving force behind the project has always been to create opportunities and to raise awareness of opportunities in construction and the built environment for young people. Too many talented young people that once had a love of Lego are being lost to the tech sector and we as a sector need to reverse this trend and bring them back. When I hear things like more young people apply to Love Island than Oxford and Cambridge combined or that more aspire to be youtubers than architects there’s something that really bothers me about that and I want that to change.

This competition was created by partnering with HTA’s Beyond Boundaries team as part of their mission to encourage young people explore their ideas for regeneration, design and construction.  Seven teams across London are competing to design a house or apartment that reflects life beyond the year 2020, through creative exploration and digitising their ideas using the Lego digital design software, before creating the Lego models for the final. The top prize of an iMac desktop for the winning youth hub provides the means for young people to continue their design journey in the future.

The teams have really embraced the project, helped by the enthusiasm of their HTA mentors. At present we have delivered all the initial workshops to the teams who were entered by staff from youth hubs integral to providing youth programmes in their communities. We would like to thank the following clubs for their participation and patience in delivering this pilot project: The Sisterhood Project from Haringey Play Association, Avery Hill & Hawksmoor Youth Clubs who are part of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, Providence House & Carney’s Community College from Wandsworth and the Fight for Peace Academy from Newham. Running a pilot project is never easy especially when writing lesson plans and workshops after many years off from front line youth work. However, we are definitely shaping a sustainable and deliverable programme, which I’m sure will be followed up by more and exciting projects in the future.


The format of the competition saw each team having four weeks to create a storyboard and a Lego model supported by a digital design, which will be considered for the final where a panel of expert judges will declare the Beyond2020 winner. Mike De’ath a Senior partner at HTA Design LLP and the first person to fully embrace my Lego competition concept, has done an excellent job in securing Ben Derbyshire the President of RIBA, Peter Murray the Chair of the NLA and Claire Bennie the Founder of Municipal as Judges, which adds real creditability to the competition. Mike has also managed to secure sponsorship from Lend Lease, Clarion, L&Q, Taylor Wimpey, Higgins, L&G and Essential Living, which has been crucial to delivering this project.

The main driver behind Beyond 2020 has been about exposing young people to new experiences and broadening their horizons. This includes the teams using the Lego Digital Design software on laptops they were provided, which reflects closely the principles of Building Information Modelling (BIM) an approach increasingly used in the design and architecture process.  This opens up the world of new skills and hopefully will inspire some young people to look towards careers in design and architecture.

SeerBridge and HTA Design LLP are taking a proactive approach to addressing knowledge and skills gaps that exist in the industry by providing a fun, competitive experience for young people. Without a concerted effort the sector won’t be able to respond to its current and future skills challenges, and we hope that Beyond 2020 is just the start for some young people’s journeys in the sector.

This is just the beginning for SeerBridge and our mission to find solutions for issues that underpin attracting new talent and closing the skills gap within the sector.

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