Department of Architecture of Faculty of Built Environment and Spatial Sciences (FBESS), General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) took part in a 3-day workshop in Interior Design, organised by Oklahoma State University (OSU), USA.

The workshop entitled ‘DESIGNATHON’ organised by Mixed Reality Lab operating under Department of Architecture of OSU took place on the 14th, 15th and 16th of October 2022. Organised by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tilanka Chandrasekara who is the current Head of Mixed Reality Lab, the local resource person/coordinator was Archt. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nishan Rasanga Wijetunge of KDU. The visiting Archt. Prof. Dr. Harsha Munasinghe was the brainchild behind this pioneering international collaboration. The Dean of FBESS, Dr. Harindra Lakmal, and the Head of Department of Architecture, Archt. Nuwan Premaratna, were instrumental in making this collaboration a reality. Archt. Dr. Malthi Rajapakse also played a pivotal role in this venture.

Intakes 38 and 36 took part in the exercise, assembled under 6 groups. The workshop was participated by groups from the US – from OSU and University of Miami – as well as by that of Golestan University of Iran. The workshop commenced on the 14th, and was concluded on the 16th with presentations followed by a Q & A session.

Under the title ‘Returning to the Moon’ the groups were assigned two problems.

Problem 01

Using the concept of the modular units develop habitable units for the space pioneers to live, work and play. How will these units be built, what kind of material will be used? What design concepts will be used in the interior? What type of spaces would be included?

Problem 02

Using the existing model of the International Space Station (ISS), propose and develop functions that can be housed within the structure. Who will use these new spaces? What design concepts will be used in the interior? What type of spaces would be included?

During the first two days, eminent speakers from various space-related agencies (i.e. NASA, Center for Design and Space Architecture, Artemis Lunar Architecture Team, Blue Origin, Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture) delivered very interesting and informative lectures for the benefit of the partakers of this exercise. The lectures were joined by KDU students live on zoom, where the rest of the design group work was carried out sticking to Sri Lankan time.

The Judge panel of DESIGNATHON was comprised of high profile individuals from the areas of space exploration and interior design.

The students from KDU performed exceptionally well, and were praised by the judges as well as the organisers of the workshop. The group 5 from KDU became 3rd out of 16 participant groups for their project entitled SEMTRY OF EARTH. They successfully designed a selected area within the International Space Station to become a gaming station, where the best gamers of the planet earth could use it as a platform to change the paths of dangerous asteroids using their advanced gaming skills.

Further details of the workshop can be viewed on

and, all submitted student presentations can be seen on