15 November 2011

Competition judges commend Oxford Brookes architecture students for the quality and individuality of their work

Timbmet has again sponsored a competition for students of architecture at Oxford Brookes University to design a demountable timber pavilion - the brief requiring that it can be deconstructed then transported and used as a temporary shelter for an injured marine stranded in bad weather conditions on an island.

Judging took place on 14th November and "the judges were presented with an impressive display of skill and labours", said Ronnie Maclellan, Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture. The seven judges - Rupert Scott and Andy Pitman (both of TRADA), Simon Fineman (Timbmet), Neil Eaton (BGS Architects), last year's winner Christian Spendier (part-time student, Terence O'Rourke Ltd), Matt Gaskin and John Stevenson (The School of Architecture, Brookes) - identified 16 entrants as potential winners.

Mr Maclellan said, "It was their difficult task then to agree on only one as the eventual winner, Stephanie Lewis of Unit H". He added, "The standard of entry this year was high indeed. There could have been many prizes. Some models were beautifully crafted, some highly imaginative, some the product of remarkable conceptual thinking, some demonstrated good understanding of structure or appreciation of the nature of wood. We saw some exquisite drawings, some depicting the project in context, others being excellent representation in plan and section. There were some very high quality examples of imagery using Photoshop, some excellent computer models, and many instances of high quality presentation. Many of the sketchbooks gave judges a clear insight into your design process and some of these were quite delightful."

What struck the judges most was perhaps 'the individuality of each submission'. Mr Maclellan continued, "It is self evident that you are all creative and quite original thinkers and that each of you have your own line of conceptual thought and unique set of design ideas. From a tutor's perspective, we could see a good body of work that will contribute significantly to your portfolios." The brief, he admitted, was more challenging than last year's, but curiously this seems to have given the students 'the impetus to respond to the complex and conflicting demands in a positive manner. Perhaps we have learnt that a difficult brief can lead to the most imaginative proposals'.

Chief Executive of Timbmet Simon Fineman said, "This award is in memory of our late Chairman Dan Kemp who spent 60 plus years in the industry. Dan would have been delighted with the quality of all the entrants, especially because virtually every model emphasised the beauty and diversity of wood in a very demanding application. It took the judges two hours to choose a winner. If we hadn't been under time constraint, I could have happily enjoyed the exhibitions for much longer. The efforts of every entry made for a very fitting tribute to a man who worked tirelessly all his life for the love of wood."

The winning design will be erected as part of the TRADA stand at Ecobuild in March 2012. All student models will be displayed on the winning pavilion. This story is adapted from a news item dated November 15 2011.