University Challenge 2020

TRADA's University Challenge 2020 will ask students to design sustainable community housing from timber in multi-disciplinary groups of six.

60 students from universities across the UK will descend on Cardiff University for an intense ‘charrette style’ challenge 17–19 February 2020. The students will form 10 multi-disciplinary teams to compete for generous cash prizes and the prestige of winning the TRADA University Challenge.

The competition, which brings together final year undergraduate students of architecture, architectural technology, engineering, quantity surveying and landscape architecture related courses, is about creating opportunities for students to interact with timber industry forerunners and design professionals while gaining valuable practical experience.

James Turner of Mikhail Riches, whose Goldsmith Street won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2019, is the most recent addition to a renowned panel of judges which also includes Cullinan Studio’s Hannah Durham, Ramboll’s Tom Harley-Tuffs, BuroHappold’s Natasha Watson, Entuitive’s Toby Maclean, and Gardiner & Theobald’s Oliver Booth.

The University Challenge 2020 could not take place without the kind sponsorship and support of major sponsors STEICO and Arnold Laver, sponsor Stora Enso, and supporters PEFC UK, Passivhaus Trust, WTTA and Wood for Good.

The challenge
“Climate emergency” is the Oxford Dictionaries’ 2019 Word of the Year following a year of climate strikes (including the largest in history), mass civil disobedience, Architects Declare, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and calls from Sir David Attenborough for action. Ultimately, the race is now on to reach carbon zero by 2050, if not before.

Every industry has its role to play and construction has its own challenges. For TRADA, who has long played an independent educational role within the timber industry, this means getting the word out about the benefits of timber as far as we can – from those of us already in practice to those among us just starting out.

This is the thinking behind the TRADA University Challenge 2020 brief, which will ask students to design timber community housing that is low-carbon, energy and water efficient, climate resilient, healthy and desirable. These students are our professionals of the future who will design, engineer, cost and construct our built environment that is required to be zero carbon in the future.


Notes to Editors

About TRADA: TRADA (Timber Research and Development Association) is an international membership organisation dedicated to inspiring and informing best practice design, specification and use of wood in the built environment and related fields. We pride ourselves in providing independent, authoritative design and technical guidance through our website, online software, printed publications, e-books, and our telephone helpline.
For further information, contact:
Elissa Field, TRADA

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