About the Competition

Image of finalists and mentors in the 2020 National High School Design Competition

About the Competition

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum launched the National High School Design Competition in 2016. Every year, students around the country are challenged to design a solution to a unique scenario, inspired by Cooper Hewitt’s rich collection and stimulating exhibitions.

2023 Challenge

Cooper Hewitt is delighted to announce the 2023 National High School Design Competition: What would you design with data for your community?

Excited to get involved? Learn more about the 2023 competition and get started! Email us at DesignCompetition@si.edu to let us know you’re entering and stay up-to-date on the competition.

Sneak Peek at Being a Competition Finalist

Previous Design Competitions

2022: WHAT WOULD YOU DESIGN FOR A MORE PEACEFUL AND JUST WORLD?

Winner: Erin Saya Ahn

Erin Saya Ahn entered the competition as a tenth grade student at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, WA. Her project, Aid To-Go, is a medical diagnosis brochure that enables easy doctor-patient communication, encouraging inclusivity as a step toward health equity and world peace. The brochure allows the patient to express their needs, regardless of linguistic or speech barriers by removing social, religious, and gender obstacles so the patient can get the care they need. Learn more about Saya and the 2022 competition.

2021: WHAT WOULD YOU DESIGN FOR A HEALTHIER WORLD?

Winners: Aditi Jha, Nidhi Malpani, and Yasmina Muradova

Aditi, Nidhi, and Yasmina entered the competition as eleventh grade students at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, KY, Westwood High School in Austin, TX, and The Gatton Academy in Bowling Green, KY. Their project, Aegle, plays on people’s empathy and natural inclination to help others by encouraging self-care through a physical-mechanical plant and an app that responds to an individual’s well-being. Learn more about Aditi, Nidhi, and Yasmina and the 2021 competition.

2020: WHAT WOULD YOU DESIGN TO HELP MORE OF US FEEL INCLUDED?

Winners: Priya Agarwal and Anika Agnihotri

Priya and Anika entered the competition as eleventh grade students at the Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering in Rockaway, NJ. They created Storily, a design that allows users to turn their family into storybook characters and insert them into riveting and educational picture books that reflect different cultures and experiences. Learn more about Priya and Anika and the 2020 competition.

2019: WHAT WOULD YOU DESIGN (OR REDESIGN) THAT IS A NATURE-BASED SOLUTION TO A GLOBAL PROBLEM?

Winners: Daniela Contreras and Lucas Dunoyer

Daniela and Lucas entered the competition as twelfth graders at Design and Architecture Senior High in Miami, FL. They created Sound Gardens, a solution to sound pollution in urban areas that suppresses stressful city sounds, improves life quality, and provides a safer habitat for people as well as wildlife surrounding the city. Their design is inspired by the sounds of wind in nature passing through foliage and by rattle seeds. Learn more about Daniela and Lucas and the 2019 competition.

2018: WHAT WOULD YOU DESIGN TO MAKE THE EVERYDAY ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL?

Winners: Emily Bryson and Natasja Enriquez

Emily and Natasja entered the competition as twelfth graders at Design and Architecture Senior High in Miami, FL. They created Art-Share, a tactile art-making tool kit for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Their design prototype featured three tools that create different types of marks and help users further develop motor skills. Learn more about Emily and Natasja and the 2018 competition.

2017: WHAT WOULD YOU DESIGN TO IMPROVE A COMMUNITY’S ACCESS TO HEALTHY, FRESH FOODS?

Winner: Tova Kleiner

Tova entered the competition as a ninth grader at SAR High School in the Bronx, NY. She created a new fruit and vegetable subscription service for seniors to not only receive fresh food, but also to connect with high school students in their community. Tova’s design also features an innovative storage container to keep food organized and fresh. Learn more about Tova and the 2017 competition.

2016: DESIGN AN OUTDOOR CHAIR INSPIRED BY THE COOPER HEWITT’S COLLECTION

Winner: Claire Christianson

Claire entered the competition as a tenth grader at Providence Academy in Plymouth, MN. Using the Art Nouveau vase from Cooper Hewitt’s collection as inspiration, Claire designed a clean, modern chair for the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt. Claire’s chair was manufactured by Target, and is found in the garden today! Learn more about Claire and the 2016 competition.