Award-winning shelter encourages sustainable transport

03 June 2014
Shelter-2

An architecture project designed to make an Auckland primary school safer and encourage sustainable modes of transport has won an international student design award.

Sam Wood and Yusef Patel, both students from the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland were awarded first prize in the Innovation in Structural Engineering Design category of the 2014 Bentley Student Design Awards for their seating shelters made for Onehunga Primary School, created as part of their Master of Architecture (Professional) study.

Sam and Yusef’s structures were each designed and constructed around a different theme. Onehunga Primary has Green-Gold Enviro School status, and Sam’s structure was created to promote sustainable travel such as walking and cycling to and from school, while Yusef’s project focused on developing innovative structural jointing methods adapted from the world of furniture design.

Responding to Auckland’s increasing traffic problems, particularly the road congestion that occurs around school drop-off and pick-up times and wanting to encourage initiatives like walking school bus programmes, the pair designed a safe, sheltered area with seating for children and their parents to meet at the entrance of the school.

The structure incorporates Pacific weaving and tapa patterns, as well as messages in Maori, Samoan, Tongan and English, which were devised by children from Onehunga Primary School, encouraging them to make personal changes to the way they travel to and from school.

Produced under the supervision of Professor Andrew Barrie and John Chapman from the University of Auckland, the shelters were a pro-bono project carried out with extremely limited funds. While the team had the use of the School of Architecture and Planning’s advanced design software and CNC milling machine, the structure was built using unskilled labour and materials donated by local businesses.

“Sam and Yusef's project demonstrates how the energy and creative thinking of our students can benefit the community. The award they have received – and which was also won by one of our students last year - shows that these students are up with the best in the world,” says Professor Andrew Barrie, from the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland.

Sam, from Central Auckland and Yusef from Mt Eden receive a trophy and cash prize of US$2,000. The talented pair are forging ahead with their careers; Sam has begun working for Christian Anderson Architects and Yusef will shortly start his PhD in Architecture, supported by a BRANZ Scholarship, researching automated fabrication techniques aimed at lowering building costs.

This is the second consecutive year that University of Auckland students have won this prestigious global engineering award - last year it was won by Melanie Pau for an entrance structure at Onehunga Primary that promoted healthy eating.

Media queries to m.playfair@auckland.ac.nz