The 6th National University Timber Structure Design Competition Winners Announced

By: Yading Zhu

Technical Manager, Codes and Standards, Canada Wood China

The hard work of architectural students has been recognized as we announced the winners of the 6th National University Timber Structure Design Competition co-organized by Tongji University, Beijing Forestry University and Canada Wood China (CW China) on December 11, 2021.

This year’s top honour has been awarded to the team from Southeast University, followed by the second prize winners from Zhejiang University and another team from Southeast University.

The first prize design from Southeast University
The second prize projects

The competition received 34 submissions from 17 universities with about 240 teachers and students participating. Students majoring in civil engineering and architecture were invited to set up teams to design a timber structure for a multi-function hall with a floor area of 1200 m2 and up to 3 storeys, that would be suitable for a forest park environment. The winning design has a chance to be constructed in the Jiufeng Campus of Beijing Forestry University in the future.

The design booklet submission requirements included a rendering and model of the architectural scheme, Issued for construction, and calculation details. After the preliminary evaluation, 9 teams from 7 universities reached the final round of the competition. In the end, it was a student team from Southeast University that won the first prize.

The submissions were judged on the technical and aesthetic aspects of their designs. The winning design was inspired by classical Chinese architecture and aimed to adapt traditional elements using new materials with an innovative, muti-functional design. The design showed how traditional Chinese architectural forms could be modernized and given new vitality with wood construction technologies. With a total construction area of 1,200 m2, the project uses glulam as the main material as it is highly durable, offers seismic resistance, and is a low carbon material.

The judging panel included Professor Frank Lam from the University of British Columbia and professors from Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing Tech University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Beijing Forestry University and Chongqing University. The final round of the competition was held online, with opening remarks delivered by Professor He Minjuan, Chairman of the Academic Committee of Tongji University, Professor Zhang Weiping, Vice Dean of School of Civil Engineering of Tongji University, Professor Mu Jun, Vice Dean of School of Materials Science and Technology of Beijing Forestry University, and Mr. Paul Newman, Executive Director of Market Access for Canada Wood Group.

The National University Timber Structure Design Competition for college students was initiated in 2016. It is held to encourage university students majoring in architecture and structural engineering to learn about the characteristics of timber structure buildings. The cooperation between architecture and civil engineering has become an important topic in the education for timber structure design. This competition can help students to improve their creativity in design, to better understand the academic theories and industry knowledge of architecture and civil engineering in timber structure design, and to grow the enthusiasm of both students and teachers regarding the subject of wood structures.

The design competition has been hosted by the National Administration Sub-committee on Teaching Civil Engineering Majors in Higher Education under the Ministry of Education, organized in partnership with several prominent universities. CW China has been supporting the events since 2016 with advisory and adjudication roles. With the rapid development of the wood construction industry in China, cooperating with Chinese universities to promote wood structure design courses is of great significance to motivate and train future architects and engineers to appreciate and understand wood design and construction. The growth potential of the market will depend on the capacity of trained professionals available to work on projects, who can deliver the design and engineering requirements.

This program also builds awareness of wood construction for university students and construction industry professionals through media promotions, the CW China Wechat platform and the CW China website.

The design competition starts around June each year and the final panel assessment and award ceremony is normally held in December. The type of project to be designed for the competition is based on a building application that is a current market focus each year.