Education and Training

Student wows construction industry with low carbon housing ideas

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 28 April 2020 15:35

Student wows construction industry with low carbon housing ideas

A student from Gloucestershire has wowed judges with a unique environmentally friendly housing design at a national competition. 

University of Gloucestershire student, Kat Cookes, scooped first prize for her housing design at the TRADA University Challenge 2020, in a team with six students from other universities across the country.  

The competition saw students gather at Cardiff University to compete to design, cost and engineer the best low carbon, energyand water efficient community housing in less than 48 hours. 

A brief given by Wales & West Housing Association for a large rural site at Narbeth, laid out real-life constraints for the students to address and design to.  

Tabitha Binding, manager of the University Engagement Programme at TRADA, said: “The judges were amazed at how individuals from different universities and disciplines came together to form cohesive design teams in such a short space of time. 

“Congratulations must be given to the winners and runners-up – their hard work and vision resulted in thoughtful and environmentally friendly timber-based designs, which we so currently need.” 

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.  

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.  

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.  

The panel of judges were unanimous in their 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.  

 Pictured: Kyle Crossley from Leeds Beckett, 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 overcame nine rival teams to win a cash prize and walk away winners.