Student design competition goes from strength to strength

Sunset Boulevard - winner of the 2016 ArchEngBuild design competition for architecture, engineering and construction management students.

Sunset Boulevard – winner of the 2016 ArchEngBuild design competition for architecture, engineering and construction management students.

An initiative conceived by the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) five years ago to encourage aspiring construction specialists to work together to incorporate the best insights and latest technology into a building design, continues to go from strength to strength.

This year 30 of New Zealand’s top final year students in architecture, engineering and construction management from nine academic institutions competed over three days at ArchEngBuild, a design competition that simulates real-life to demonstrate the importance of effective cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Rob Gaimster, CCANZ chief executive says the organisation came up with the idea in 2011 when it realised there was no vehicle to get young engineers and architects working together while they were still studying at university.

“The initiative started as ArchEng, which involved giving the students a concrete focused design project to collaborate on together over a few days. It proved a rewarding experience and a great way for them to develop their skills, create a professional network and enjoy themselves at the same time.”

Interest in the project has continued to grow year on year, and in 2015 CCANZ decided to hand over ownership of the event to BRANZ, which had supported it for a number of years.

“We felt we’d taken it as far as we could and it was a natural progression to pass the baton to BRANZ. They have elevated it to the next level by adding the ‘Build’ component that includes a neutral use of construction materials. However, we are still very much connected to the project and are proud that it has grown from a CCANZ concrete initiative.”

Winners of the 2016 ArchEngBuild competition (from left) Amber Haddock, Emily Pearce and Kha Pham Nguyen.

Winners of the 2016 ArchEngBuild competition (from left) Amber Haddock, Emily Pearce and Kha Pham Nguyen.

Rob says the addition of the ‘Build’ aspect to the event has been ‘thoroughly supported’ by construction management students who were keen to contribute and help shape the creative design process.

“Using a contractor’s specialist knowledge of construction processes early in the process helps to ensure building designs can be readily built.”

This year’s winning team of Amber Haddock (construction manager), Emily Pearce (architect) and Kha Pham Nguyen (engineer) combined a shared passion for 1950s cinema and community spaces to create ‘Sunset Boulevard’.

The concept was inspired by a movie of the same name from the era and combined a residential development with commercial and community space.

Features included a small boutique cinema, café, bar and gelato shop on the ground level, with the first floor above set aside for private residential living. Large green spaces and communal break out spaces filled the balconies and roof top areas.

“The judges were really impressed with this entry across the board.”

Rob says ArchEngBuild highlights how teamwork across the disciplines is critical to ensuring the best outcomes for better buildings.

“By strengthening the bonds between future architects, engineers and construction managers and supporting a collaborative working relationship today, the better the built environment outcomes will be tomorrow.”

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