The prestigious International Concrete Design Competition for students took place in Ireland for the first time in August and highlighted the innovative use of locally-sourced concrete as a technology and a material in cutting-edge design.
Hosted by UCD and sponsored by Cement Manufacturers Ireland, this year’s event saw twenty five nationally chosen laureates from Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands join five students from Irish universities to participate in the week-long workshop. This year’s theme for the competition and workshop was ‘Elegance – exploring intelligent solutions’. Central to this concept is the evolving use of concrete as an architectural medium that is increasing design and performance possibilities for architects, designers and engineers.
The participating students were challenged to work as a group to utilise expert global knowledge in the application of local materials. The students took ownership of the challenge, and using experimental formwork and design methods, produced a number of visually striking outdoor benches. These group projects exposed the students to advances in structural systems, surface treatments and concrete properties, amongst others, that can be applied and scaled-up by these students in their future careers.
This theme of elegance was explored in a week-long programme of workshops and lectures with international industry, academic and design experts. These included Gregor Zimmermann, a specialist in high-performance concrete, architect and engineer Laurent Ney and Diederik Veenendaal, a building engineer specialising in innovative and complex structural designs using fabric formwork. A number of public lectures also formed part of the week-long event.
Speaking after the event, Jim Mintern, Chairman of Cement Manufacturers Ireland said, “We are proud to be associated with the first hosting of this event in Ireland and would like to congratulate all involved in this hugely successful week – especially the participating students and the UCD staff. Using locally-sourced materials, these students have created benches that are both visually striking and functional – encapsulating the theme of elegance and intelligent solutions.”
Dr Elizabeth Shotton, Head of Research and Innovation in the UCD School of Architecture stated “The energy, creativity and innovation shown by participating students this week was a joy to be associated with. From diverse backgrounds, the students quickly began operating as teams to explore advanced concepts and processes with concrete – as evidenced by the outstanding group projects on display. These students have shown how concrete facilitates expression and intelligent solutions that are elegant and which offer potential to architects, designers and engineers in wider applications.”