A design for a cutting-edge timber structure, inspired by nature, scooped the honours and the £3,000 top prize in TRADA’s National Student Design Competition, which this year was hosted by Sylva Foundation at the Sylva Wood Centre.
This year’s competition – dubbed Arboreal – challenged student designers to explore the science of timber as a modern construction material for a design for an exciting Sylva Wood Centre run by tree and forestry charity, Sylva Foundation.
Sylva Foundation Chief Executive Gabriel Hemery said:
“We are very grateful indeed to TRADA, sponsors and judges for making this competition such a huge success. It was exciting to the competition entrants that the brief was a real one. Now we would like to move forward and consider how we could build a structure like this at the Sylva Wood Centre. We would welcome any expressions of interest.”
The winning design – dubbed The Leaf – was created by students Laila Alawneh and Yliana Cristova from Aalborg University in Denmark. The judges were unanimous in their choice of the winner, which blended the performance characteristics of timber with a highly decorative aesthetic.
Laila and Yliana beat off strong competition from students from the University of Coventry, Wolverhampton University, University of Strathclyde and Edinburgh University, although the judges were so impressed by the standard of entries this year they awarded not one but two ‘Highly Commended’ prizes. University of Coventry’s Piotr A Bieluga and Adam Cross, from Wolverhampton University, both picked up Highly Commended awards, while students from Edinburgh University won Best Use of British Timber for their entry, entitled Group 9.
The design brief included 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 had to reflect the ethos and vision of the charity. At the same time, they needed 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.
Charlie Law, from Sustainable Construction Solutions Ltd, was one of the judges:
“The winning entry was one of the most striking entries, using CLT (or Glulam) to produce a church-like structure that really caught the judges’ eye.”
“The detail the students had gone into to find the best orientation for the natural lighting of the exhibition space, and modelling of various forms to ensure it would work structurally, was admirable. A very well worked entry, and a unanimous winner from the judges.”
Commenting on their winning entry, Laila and Yliana said:
“The most challenging part [of the brief] was to provide a cutting-edge timber structure that was not only high in performance but also decorative. We wanted to take the design to a height where it would challenge the plasticity of timber with a creative design solution that shows the beauty of natural forms.”
“We clearly understood that this structure was required to stand out as a showcase of how flexible it is to use timber in construction, one that would break the traditional conception most people have of buildings made of timber.”
More information on our National Student Design Competition, please click here.