Isover competition: Nottingham Trent Basin
This year’s Isover winners with jury chair Professor Wolfgang Feist
Two Edinburgh students took first place with a low density scheme for the Trent Basin which included an imaginative vision for regenerating the community through fish farming and urban agriculture. On the whole, this year’s Isover entries were fewer than the 2011 batch and less original. Perhaps it was the brief for family housing and mixed uses on Nottingham’s post-industrial Trent basin which did not inspire as many compelling entries as last year’s lower Manhattan site for a Passivhaus tower. The irony is that this scheme is grounded in a real project; students had the chance to catch the eye of jury member Nick Ebbs of Blueprint, a subsidiary of Igloo Regeneration, who is redeveloping the site in partnership with HCA.
The jury was chaired for the second year by Professor Wolfgang Faust who persistently interrogated most of the students about Nottingham’s mild climate, querying why they had made such extensive provision for natural ventilation. This stirred up quite a lot of buzz in the jury about whether students had been given proper guidance from their tutors. All in all, this is a thoughtful and well-organised competition which enables students to engage meaningfully with sustainable design. Isover is to be applauded for the broad judging criteria which take in issues of urban design and social and economic sustainability, as well as Isover’s Multicomfort House concept. The three winning teams will go on to Bratislava for final judging in May.
1st prize: Trent Quay, Dan Shanahan & Emmett McNamara [Edinburgh School of Architecture]
This scheme included a holistic energy strategy complete with a proposal for water turbines in the Trent River.
2nd prize: Trent Basin Urban Regeneration, by Denny Chan & Tom Bennett [University of Nottingham]
Tom presented first and had to go solo when teammate Denny was delayed in traffic en route to ExCel. Very accomplished presentation nonetheless and two carefully considered housing layouts for the east and west portions of the site along with a strong proposal for allotments at the heart of the scheme. Jury however not convinced by the parking podium below the community garden.
3rd prize: Trent Basin Eco Housing, by Funsho Parrott & Sian Hodgson [University of Nottingham]
Well-worked out proposal with two very different housing types: canal-side terraces to the west along with family units set in parkland to the east.
Commended: Trent Bank, by Jordan J. Lloyd, Eric Chancellor & Chris Matthews [University of Sheffield]
This proposal imaginatively transformed the Trent basin into a self-build community and envisioned the refurbished warehouses as CNC factories for self-build housing components. Considerable jury controversy: One member said it was the scheme in which he would most like to live because of the public square. Others thought this scheme should be disqualified because it simply adapted ideas from elsewhere arbitrarily to the site and ignored a specific stipulation of the brief by increasing the size of the Trent basin.
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