Portsmouth student wins UK competition for net zero community centre design

TDChallenge22 competitors

A University of Portsmouth graduate has been announced as one of the winners of a UK-wide competition in sustainable construction

  • 29 July 2022
  • 7 min read

A University of Portsmouth graduate has been announced as one of the winners of a UK-wide competition in sustainable construction.

The Timber Development UK University Design Challenge is based on a live project and took nine months to complete. More than 150 students from 57 universities were tasked with designing a net zero community centre, Southside Hereford, to accommodate three diverse partners with net zero aspirations; Growing Local CIC and Belmont Wanderers CIC, and NMITE.

They then presented their designs to a panel of expert judges, representing both local clients and leading figures in UK sustainable construction, during a live two-day event at the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE).

The winning team was led by Alice Senior who graduated from the University of Portsmouth last year with a BSc (Hons) degree in Property Development.

The Timber Development UK University Design Challenge winning team

Winners include: Alice Senior (University of Portsmouth), Malwina Bartoszewicz (Edinburgh Napier University), Johanna Schwarting (Swansea University), Kyle Henderson (Robert Gordon University), Daniela Lopez (University of Gloucestershire), Ali Uddin (University of Edinburgh), Deepak Sadhwani (Cardiff University)

She said: “Sustainable development is very important. We must insure that our buildings are built to last, inexpensive to run and also be adaptable for changing uses so that we reduce our carbon emissions and material wastage.

“We chose to use high quality, low embodied carbon materials and prioritised materials that can be disassembled and used again. Adaptability of spaces was also important so that the building use can easily change over time instead of building demolished.

“I would definitely encourage other students and recent graduates to take part because it was a huge learning and networking opportunity!”

With the main material focus and specification for Southside to be timber and timber hybrid systems, each team's detailed design was to meet the Passivhaus Standard, slashing energy use from buildings and delivering high standards of comfort and health, as well as both the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets and the LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide metrics.

The winning design was declared by the judging panel as “a strong response and a great integration of uses, with simple elements including a good use of structural timber used effectively and meeting the Passivhaus standard”.

Design challenge winning design

TDUK Design challenge winning design

David Hopkins, Chief Executive of Timber Development UK said: “We need a highly trained construction workforce with a better understanding of wood and timber to achieve net zero and hit the ever more demanding carbon targets for construction.

“Fortunately, it is evident from each and every student who has taken part in the Timber Development UK University Design Challenge that there is incredible built environment talent emerging from UK universities.

The Timber Development UK University Design Challenge 2022: Southside Hereford ran in partnership with NMITE, Edinburgh Napier University, and the Passivhaus Trust.