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Firm launches national student design competition

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The firm of B+H Architects has launched a national sustainable design competition targeted at university architecture and engineering students.

The firm of B+H Architects has launched a national sustainable design competition targeted at university architecture and engineering students.

Kevin Stelzer, a principal in the firm and the “Evolve” competition director, said B+H, as “strong proponents” of sustainable design, is anxious to encourage new thought and work in this area.

“We are challenging students to think about the buildings of tomorrow,” he said, noting that the competition also represents an opportunity for students to not only display their creative talent and abilities, but to also help further their careers.

The competition, open to students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels across Canada, challenges them to work together in multidisciplinary teams to design a “net-zero” bank branch for competition sponsor, The Royal Bank of Canada.

Students will explore the design and function of a typical bank branch and develop ways to minimize its energy and water use.

As well, designs should provide a platform for employees, clients and the community to experience how sustainable building practices can be made part of everyday life.

Registered teams have until Dec. 31 to submit their designs.

Stelzer, who focuses on sustainable design, energy optimization and building physics for laboratory, educational and health care projects at B+H, said the multi-disciplinary approach is intended to encourage integrated design solutions with energy and water considerations at their core.

Entries will be evaluated in part on the degree to which they demonstrate a creative use of technology, offer a clear demonstration of net-zero energy use and water conservation techniques, demonstrate a creative use of passive design strategies and are feasible.

Submissions will be judged by a six-person jury that includes B+H principal Douglas Birkenshaw, Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council and Steve Kemp, an energy modelling expert at Enermodal Engineering.

Winning designs will be selected in February. The winning team will be awarded $5,000; the team garnering an honourable mention will receive $2,500.

“I think this is one of the very first such competitions where each team must be composed of at least one architecture student and one engineering student,” said Johanna Hoffmann, global director of marketing at B+H.

by Patricia Williams

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