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Sheffield shows its metal

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Students at Sheffield School of Architecture took both first and second prizes in the British Steel Architectural Student Award

The primary aim of the annual British Steel Architectural Student Award is to give students a creative vehicle for learning about steel as a construction material. More specifically, it encourages entrants to learn about and then practically demonstrate the latest environmentally responsible methods of designing in steel. The 11th competition was launched in October 1998 to tie in with the 1998/99 academic year and attracted 35 entries from architectural schools across the UK.

This year's brief called for the design of a Crafts Education Centre on a brownfield site close to the railway station in Derby. The centre was to sit next to several Grade II-listed former railway workshops, forming an edge to a new square in a previously derelict and contaminated area. Students were also given the option to design a footbridge linking the site to the city centre. The brief listed a full schedule of required accommodation including a lecture theatre for 50 people, a 200m2 exhibition space, two classrooms, six small workshops at 25m2 each (for renting out), office space and a reference library.

The brief also demanded a 'green building' which could 'demonstrate its respect for the environment', doing 'more with less in the fullest sense'. Entrants were specifically asked to consider overall operational energy consumption levels, embodied-energy ratings, the integration of structure and services, and the future adaptability of the structure (alterations, conversion, extensions etc). Students were directed to the Steel Construction Institute's 'Environmental Floor Systems' as a reference guide.


Of the 35 entries received, nine were shortlisted. With a total prize fund of £5000, the judges decided to award £2000 to the winner, £1500 to second place, and £500 each to three commended entries.

The overall winner was Julian Kinal, a one-year visiting student at the Sheffield School of Architecture from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the us. Second prize went to Daniel Harvey, also of Sheffield, and three equal commendations went to Sarah Greenwood (Manchester), Rob Oussey (Sheffield) and David Shield (Sheffield).

'Overall the judges were impressed by the standard of the entries, the effort that had been put in to their development, and the fact that most submissions followed the brief well,' said Eva Jiricna, chair of the judging panel.

'Approximately 80 per cent had included a clear environmental strategy although only a few chose to design the bridge. Generally the entries consisted of cad presentations and we were concerned about the scarcity of hand-drawn sketches. In some cases entries showed a good understanding of how to design in steel but did not deal well with the site. In others the research had been done a little too intensively and took up too much space on the five A1 boards that were required. On the whole however it was agreed that the standard was higher than in previous years,' she said.

The British Steel Architectural Student Award is supported by The Architects' Journal, the bcsa, and the sci, and approved by the riba.


Eva Jiricna, Eva Jiricna Architects (Chair)

Christopher Nash, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners

John Pringle, Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects

Bryan Avery, Avery Associates

Tony Hunt, Anthony Hunt Associates

Gethyrn Davies, Derby City Council

Paul Finch, The Architects' Journal

Alex Amato, Steel Construction Institute

Ian Cox, British Steel

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