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Taiwan’s Student Dormitory Improvement Initiative Wins Good Design Award in Japan

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From left, Huang Guan-Chao, Dr. Liang Hsueh-Cheng and Dr. Wang Chun-Hsiung at the award ceremony

A five-year Ministry of Education (MOE) project to improve university and college student accommodation launched in 2019 received a Good Design Award in Japan in October 2023, together with international recognition. It was then called the “New Dormitory Plan” but the Ministry’s entry in this international design competition was called “Dormitory Re-design Movement”. Japan’s annual Good Design Award was first held in 1957 and is now considered the equivalent of an Oscar Award for design.

As the Good Design Award website states: “Dormitory Re-design Movement aims to enhance students' living and learning environments by creating additional public spaces in and around dormitories. The social context involves embracing holistic education and incorporating SDGs into design principles, promoting mental and physical health, inclusive education, gender equality, reduced inequalities, and sustainable urban development … the project seeks to positively impact students' living and educational experiences, and cultivate sensibility to life, while adapting to Taiwan's changing student demographics.” 

The design process for this MOE initiative featured participation by four key stakeholders—students, staff, architects, and designers—with the focus on the students. It addressed the quality of dormitory life, public spaces such as cross-cultural kitchens, and art and workshop areas, and ecological sustainability.

The Ministry has worked with 46 universities since 2019 and 148 dormitories, accommodating more than 40,000 students with diverse academic lives, have already been redesigned. They now include multi-functional shared spaces and social environments designed to help achieve the SDGs of promoting well-being, inclusion, gender equality, and sustainability, as well as increasing students' aesthetic appreciation and their environmental awareness.

Dr. Liang Hsueh-Cheng, Deputy Director General of the Ministry’s Department of Higher Education, Huang Guan-Chao, Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, and Dr. Wang Chun-Hsiung, head of the project promotion team received the award on behalf of the Ministry at the award ceremony on October 25, 2023. They also toured the exhibition and interacted with other award recipients from all over the world.

The Ministry of Education is planning to implement the New Dormitory Plan 2.0, a further five-year phase, beginning in 2024. It will continue to provide funding subsidies and work together with universities to create Next Generation Student Dormitory Environments and transform students’ living and learning experiences.

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