09 February 2019

Winners of the University Challenge 2019

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Six students aced this year's TRADA University Challenge, a high-pressure charrette-styled competition which invited students to design “healthy” student accommodation predominantly from timber in an intense 36 hours. The challenge, which took place on 8–9 February and involved grouping students into multidisciplinary teams of six, asked students to come up with exemplary designs that emphasised health and well-being, energy efficiency, and building to budget – and all for an existing site in the heart of Sheffield's shopping district.


Team 9 – consisting of Isaac Palmiere-Szabo, Louisa Keighley, Arnas Mikalauskas, Aleksandra Ziembinska, Emma Beaumont and Cameron Timms   – scooped the top prize of £1200, while a further three teams – Teams 3, 4 and 7 – placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.

There was also a Highly Commended for Quantity Surveyor student Andy Freeman, who impressed our QS judge with his knowledge and application.


Winners: Team 9


Arnas Mikalauskas, University of Sheffield
Aleksandra Ziembinska, University of Strathclyde


Architects / Interior Architect:
Isaac Palmiere-Szabo, Leicester School of Architecture, DMU
Louisa Keighley, University of Derby


Landscape Architect:
Emma Beaumont, University of Sheffield


Quantity Surveyor:
Cameron Timms, Coventry University



Tabitha Binding, TRADA’s University Engagement Manager, shared: ‘I am absolutely delighted with all the students who participated in this year’s University Challenge. The degree of imagination that went into each teams’ designs was amazing. The knowledge gained of how and where to use timber and timber products is both practical and useful as students head out into the professional world. The multidisciplinary aspect has given them an understanding of how working holistically is so beneficial to designing, engineering and constructing quality buildings.


'Congratulations to Team 9 for their deserving win, but congratulations also to all sixty students who took part. I would like to thank the University of Sheffield, and our excellent team of hands-on sponsors, judges and ambassadors who worked tirelessly engaging, enthusing and educating. Thank you also to Wood for Good, who provided participants with The Modern Timber House in the UK'.


Each team included two architects or architectural technologists, two engineers, a landscape architect and a quantity surveyor – creating situations and relationships comparable to project teams – while pioneering design professionals and industry members provided specialist support.


Universities involved in the competition included: the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Derby, Dundee, East London, Liverpool, Reading, Sheffield, South Wales, Strathclyde, Wales, Trinity St David, West of England Bristol and Hertfordshire; Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh Napier, Leeds Beckett, Newcastle, Nottingham Trent, Salford and Sheffield Hallam Universities; and Arts University Bournemouth, Leicester School of Architecture DMU, Norwich University of the Arts, and the University for the Creative Arts Canterbury.


The judges included architects Alex Abbey of Cullinan Studio, Waugh Thistleton’s Kieran Walker and dRMM’s Patrick Usborne; engineers Tom Harley-Tuffs of Ramboll, AKT II’s Ricardo Candel, and Arup’s Jaffel Versi; quantity surveyor Oliver Booth of Gardiner & Theobald; and landscape architect Stephanie Crewe of LUC.


Many thanks to our major sponsors Timber Trade Federation and STEICO, sponsor Stora Enso, and supporters Wood for Good and PEFC UK.


For more information, please contact tbinding@trada.co.uk.