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Feb 26, 2020

Tomorrow’s timber talent announced

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Written by GT
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Winners of the TRADA University Challenge 2020

Six talented students scooped first prize for their timber-based housing scheme design at the TRADA University Challenge 2020. 

G&T partner and MMC expert Oliver Booth was part of the judging panel for the challenge that saw 58 students from universities across the UK gather at Cardiff University and compete to design, cost and engineer the best low-carbon, energy and water efficient timber community housing in less than 48 hours. 

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"It was great to be asked back to be part of TRADA's University Challenge 2020. The students all rose to the task and delivered high quality end designs, pioneering exciting new methods and practices."

Oliver Booth

G&T Partner and Judge

A brief given by Wales & West Housing Association for a large rural site at Adams Drive, Narbeth, laid out real-life constraints for the students to address and design to. The brief, which included a combination of homes for social rent, low-cost home ownership and open market, required low or zero carbon buildings with a fabric-first approach, sensitive place-making and a hub around which a community could be created.

"Competitors were tested by being asked to interpret a really challenging technical brief in a short space of time"

Rob Wheaton

​Judge from Stride Treglown

Rob Wheaton, Judge from Stride Treglown, stressed the difficulties of both finding innovative ways of using timber and incorporating Passivhaus principles, all while meeting the client’s definitive requirements and working to the constraints of the site.

Each team consisted of student engineers, architects, architectural technologists, quantity surveyors and landscape architects, and received hands-on support from pioneering design professionals and industry members, including judges from Mikhail Riches, Cullinan Studio, Stride Treglown, Ramboll, BuroHappold, Entuitive, Gardiner & Theobald and PLAN:design.

"This is the first design competition I’ve been a part of, so to come first is just astonishing."

Ryan Jessop

University of Hertfordshire

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Kyle Crossley from Leeds Beckett University, Ryan Jessop from the University of Hertfordshire, Aslinn Aijian Zha from Cardiff University, Kai Yusaf Chelliah from the University of Bristol, Kat Cookes from the University of Gloucestershire and Aaron Shaw from Sheffield Hallam University overcame nine rival teams to win a cash prize and walk away winners.

All six teammates contributed their win to an excellent team dynamic in which the four disciplines harmonised towards a common vision, resulting in a finished design which emphasised community, green space, and minimalist design.

‘It is always an honour to organise the annual TRADA University Challenge. Each year I am delighted to witness first-hand the dedication and passion of everyone involved."

Tabitha Binding

Manager of the University Engagement Programme at TRADA

The panel of judges was unanimous in its decision to award the team top prize. Several commented on the team’s brilliant model, which they used to demonstrate a great lighting strategy during their 10-minute presentation; the in-depth, landscape-first approach which integrated allotments and swales; and the team’s strong technical analysis that revealed an excellent understanding of the client’s brief.

To find out more and read the full article visit the TRADA website.

Gardiner & Theobald - Tuc 2020 All Judges

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