Sylva Wood Centre building features in national student design competition

posted on June 25, 2015

TRADA has set a brand new challenge asking student designers to explore the science of timber as a modern construction material for a building at the Sylva Wood Centre.

Logo for the TRADA arboreal 2016 design competition

Logo for the TRADA arboreal 2016 design competition

This is the third National Student Design Competition organised by TRADA, through its successful University Engagement Programme (UEP). Named Arboreal for 2016 the project will see students tasked with designing a brand new flagship timber structure named Arboreal at the Sylva Wood Centre in south Oxfordshire.

“We are really excited about this year’s Arboreal competition,” said Elizabeth Turner, TRADA’s UEP Liaison Manager. “It brings together aspects of sustainability and modern design and asks students to create a conceptual building using timber. It’s the perfect showcase for the material.”

The design brief includes creating a new two-storey timber structure to serve as a multi-use building, housing offices, seminar space, exhibition space and a field laboratory.

In the new design students will need to reflect the ethos and vision of the charity. At the same time, they’ll need to incorporate cutting-edge materials and technologies throughout to act as inspiration to visitors and users and create a sustainable building both with the materials they propose and long term usage of the new building.

The Sylva Foundation was established in 2009 as a charity to work across Britain caring for forests to ensure they thrive for people and for nature, and supporting innovation in home-grown wood. In 2014 it opened the Sylva Wood Centre in south Oxfordshire, as a centre for innovation in home-grown wood. As part of the development of the Sylva Wood Centre the charity is in the process of converting numerous former agricultural buildings into bespoke space for wood businesses, incubation workshops for start-up businesses, an education workshop, training centre and exhibition venue.

Sylva Foundation CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery commented: “The launch of Arboreal is an exciting next step in our plans for the Sylva Wood Centre, and we couldn’t wish for a better partner in TRADA, recognised as a leading authority in wood. By working with emerging talent within Britain’s engineering and architectural schools we are confident that we will attract some excellent entries and raise the profile of wood in these sectors.”

The deadline for entries will be June 3rd 2016, with a shortlist produced shortly after. There will then be a final judging event in early July and an awards ceremony in autumn where the winners will be announced.

Lecturers and students can find out more at: A full brief is also available: download the brief here

TRADA members can get involved with the competition as supporters or as sponsors of the competition.

For further information on TRADA’s national student competition Arboreal, contact Elizabeth Turner, +44(0)1494 569654.



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