August 31, 2021
Andersen Corporation recently teamed up with the University of Minnesota’s College of Design to create an innovation challenge, part of the senior capstone for the school’s product design majors.
Graduating seniors spent their Spring 2021 semester working directly with Andersen® products and the company’s Research, Development and Innovation team to develop innovative window and door solutions for bringing the outdoors in.
“The idea for the contest arose from the trend of merging indoor and outdoor spaces through creative home design, as well as COVID-era concerns about getting enough fresh air inside buildings. For people without an outdoor space to utilize, windows can be a means to allow the outdoors in,” explained Andersen’s Research Development & Innovation Product Design Manager, Ben Goebel.
Students were tasked with designing a fully functional window prototype that addresses one of four concerns: security, allergies, accessibility, or noise for tenants living in apartments, assisted living, or dorm-type buildings. The student with the best all-around product was awarded a $1,000 prize.
The 2021 Innovation Challenge winner was Rachel Davel. Davel’s winning project focused on improving air quality and long-term health for families living in dense urban environments, who she found were often affixing air filters to box fans and propping them in their windows to provide air influx without pollution. With this in mind, Davel designed an adjustable window fan with a minimalist-profile and two-way filters to more effectively purify the air.
Image Credit: University of Minnesota College of Design
“By the end of the semester, we had all been dealing with the pandemic for over a year, giving us a very different relationship with our homes and personal space. Designing around increasing airflow and how that can positively influence an individual's health felt very relevant. It was a reminder that as designers we have a responsibility to use our skills to help others,” said Davel in an interview with the College of Design.
Read more about the contest, here.