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Students win national design award for 10sqm building

3 December 2014

Students win national design award for 10sqm building

The design brief was simple – create a breakout space that didn’t require consent and incorporated sustainability, and now four Otago Polytechnic Design students have won the national Sustainable Habitat Construction (SHAC) Pop-up Challenge for their design of an innovative and efficient ten square metre building.

Studio56 was conceived by third-year Design students, Dean Griffiths, Alice Perry, Nina Daniels and Charlotte McKirdy, and was developed to provide a unique learning and collaboration environment for both students and staff, within Otago Polytechnic’s Living Campus – a vibrant community garden and a sustainable model of urban agriculture.

The students were encouraged by their Design Lecturer, Chris Fersterer, who was recently nominated for an Otago Polytechnic Sustainability Teaching Award, to enter the SHAC Pop-up Challenge. The competition specifications included designing a creative space with a small budget, using recyclable materials.

“It’s wonderful to have others recognise the value in our design and a very rewarding experience for us as a team,” says Interior Design student Alice Perry. “It’s been a nice way to end our time here at Otago Polytechnic.”

The building comes with all the specifications you would expect from a regular new build, including insulation, thick walls for heating and electricity. However, it’s the sustainable elements of the build that makes it such an efficient and unique space.

“The building resonates an ethos of education, innovation and sustainability,” says Product Design student Dean Griffiths. “We used recycled macrocarpa for the exterior and we have heat transfer panelling on the windows, so when the steel plate heats up, it draws it inside via a fan and heats the interior. We also have a water channel running from the roof which drains into a catchment system that feeds the living campus garden.”

The project has been a collaborative effort between schools and services across Otago Polytechnic. In-house commercial design and development centre, workSpace, helped design some of the sustainable elements of the build, while the Carpentry students from the School of Architecture, Building and Engineering are currently in the process of building it.

Once complete, the building will sit among Otago Polytechnic’s Living Campus. “We wanted to create a space students would be attracted to. Studio56 creates an opportunity for students to get out of the classroom and sit in a social and relaxing space that still allows them to use their laptops,” says Mr Griffiths.

Going forward, the design team hope to turn Studio56 into a kitset that can be customised. “Being less than ten square metres, you don’t need consent, so it’s a building that can go up in any space,” says Ms Perry.

SHAC is a network of designers, builders, engineers, and architects who are addressing the need for a more sustainable built environment. They host competitions and workshops and work on innovative small-scale building projects for clients and communities.

Studio56 will be officially unveiled in early 2015.

ENDS

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