Since it was originally conceived and launched 2001, this competition has been challenging architecture students to develop a deeper understanding of steel structures. Over the years, students have been encouraged to explore the essential relationship between architecture and structure for a given application.
The competition is meant to encourage architectural students to consult with experts, engineers and fabricators to arrive at a true understanding of the structural design and detailing requirements of an actual steel structure – taking the study of steel beyond the technical and into the realm of supposed application.
For the second year, eligibility for this competition has been expanded to students registered in any accredited or non-accredited architecture program in Canada that is 3 or more years in length.
Details and Past Winners
Throughout the history of the CISC Architectural Student Design Competition, two implicit, recurring themes have emerged: spanning and linking. From a Plus-15 structure to bridges, span has underpinned numerous design challenges over the years. Link has presented itself, both in the challenge to provide a connection between separate structures or landscapes, as well as providing opportunities to explore architectural links that bring people together.
The 2017-2018 Competition invites students to explore these recurring themes as an explicit challenge. “Link” challenges students to design a span that meets the primary purpose of linking disparate elements together, while at the same time, challenging students to explore what it means to “link” people together through architectural design.
Students are challenged to design a spanning structure that explores “link” on a site of the designers’ choosing. While the purpose and scale are left to the discretion of the designer, it is important to focus on what it means for us to engage and experience a “link” that connects people and disparate elements. The structural focus must utilize exposed steel as a primary structural material, but otherwise, the material palette is open.
The intention of this design competition is primarily to provide students of architecture in Canada with a unique opportunity: to enter into a design process that brings together, of necessity, concept and reality. It is important for students of architecture to grasp the fact that structural design lies not just in the realm of the engineer, but can be a means for architects of arriving at a meaningful realization of architectural ideas. It is when theory meets physical necessity that architecture can become really interesting.
To that end, this competition calls upon students to conceptualize, and realize in detail, a structure of simple program that explores the meaning of link. The exploration will, of course, include issues related to program and site, but the emphasis in this competition is upon the architectural exploration through form and material, on the essential relationship between architecture and structure.
The reality of this competition comes in two forms: through the requirement for buildable details, primarily utilizing structural steel; and through the collaboration with the steel fabrication industry on those details. This collaboration is an important component of this competition, as a secondary objective is to expose students to both the opportunities and restraints inherent in realizing conceptual design.
The conceptual component of this competition will come through the recommendation that this competition be run through either a studio, or a lecture based course, most probably within a structures course. Under the guidance of faculty sponsors, students will conduct the design process as an academic exercise, within the guidelines set out in this brief. As an academic project, the design process will adhere to the standards set forth by the students’ school of architecture.
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