Plywood shelter takes TRADA/Timbmet Award14 April 2012
Third-year Oxford Brookes University architecture student Stephanie Lewis was presented with the annual TRADA- and Timbmet-sponsored Student Design Competition trophy at Ecobuild, standing in the cocoon-like plywood pavilion which won her first prize.
Launched in 2010, the competition is run in conjunction with Oxford Brookes School of Architecture and challenges students to explore the potential and push the creative and structural possibilities of wood.
This year the brief was to create a demountable shelter for a “marine rehabilitation centre”, where an injured marine could rest and recuperate on Mewstone Island, near Plymouth. It also had to double as a means of getting to and from the island, and a display pavilion for TRADA’s stands at Ecobuild and Timber Expo, where it could exhibit models of the 15 other competition entries.
Ms Lewis’s winning design comprises an enclosing semi-circle of birch plywood crescents and ovals, ascending in height. These are interlocked, using dowels, wedges and steel bolts, with a horizontal bench or shelf.
“The transport element comprises taking one of the ovals and attaching some form of membrane to create a coracle,” she said.
Starting with a 3mm plywood model, Ms Lewis worked with TRADA university liaison manager Elizabeth Turner and Timbmet lead product specialist Gary Hollis to develop the full-scale 4x5m pavilion from 24mmx3mx1.5m sheets. Once the calculations were complete, CAD drawings were sent to the company’s Severn Ply division for the components to be cut automatically on a CNC machining centre.
Presenting the trophy, Timbmet chief executive officer and chairman Simon Fineman said the competition was an “inspirational way to introduce student architects to working with timber”.
“It’s also a valuable element in TRADA’s wider strategy to embrace construction professionals,” he said.
Ms Turner, who visits universities and colleges across the country to deliver lectures and raise awareness of TRADA learning resources, said she had also received approaches to take the student design competition national.