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Disappointment at architects dominating sustainability competition

Two students from Manchester School of Architecture yesterday won Cisco’s Urban 2020 competition to design a sustainable community of the future.

Peter Sproule and James Hotson’s Connect 4 Sustainability entry was designed to provide easy access to amenities whilst reducing travel times. Announced yesterday as the winner of the competition at the Royal Institute of British Architects, the pair won a cash prize of £2,000.

The competition was open to students at all UK universities and judges expressed their disappointment at the low level of entries from engineering students.

“I was surprised we didn’t get more engineering involvement,” said Buro Happold infrastructure group director Andy Murdoch, one of the judges.

“The majority of entries were architectural. It would have been good to have some entries that had more of a technical understanding of what’s required to build sustainable communities.”

Chair of the judges, Cisco head of public sector Neil Crockett added that he was disappointed that there were no multi-diciplinary entries.

”We didn’t really have a multi-disciplinary approach and the lack of that was a surprise and hopefully something we can improve on in future competitions.”

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Readers' comments (4)

  • I never even heard about the competition. If I had known I would have entered. I think the onus is on university to promote these competitions

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  • I would suggest that maybe the Architecture students have too much time on their hands!

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  • “The majority of entries were architectural. It would have been good to have some entries that had more of a technical understanding of what’s required to build sustainable communities.”

    Perhaps the engineering students had too good an idea of the true technical challenges faced in creating not only sustainable, but liveable communities. It's not just about producing a list of the latest tech. but, for example, understanding what compromises DO have to be made to produce those 'affordable' housing units.

    I am also dismayed the winning entry fails to note exactly which 'happy pills' are to be administered to the residents (and how) in order to maintain the Stepfordian society described.

    This is the C21st. Much as we may choose our friends but not our families, we create our own 'communities', very often completely divorced from our physical location. That is simply the place where we can afford to live. This design is just another return to the thirties, where my workplace is at one end of the street, my recreation at the other, my world essentially a 500m by 500m grid.

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  • As a civil engineer, of course we want to join the competition but the problem is the promotion of the competition! 9 out of 10 time don't know where they publish the news for inviting competition!?If the competition has been well published, I believe there must be more entry for the competition from Civil Engineers! This is the same issues to the other competitions in ICE or other orginisations.... they never published / promoted properly.

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