On the 6th of June, at the University of Auckland’s end of semester barbecue, Sam Wood and Yusef Patel were awarded the Scott Lofgren Student Design Competition Award for the Innovation in Structural Engineering Design category.

Sam and Yusef’s award was for their architecture project entitled Repetitive Timber Structure, designed to make an Auckland primary school safer and encourage sustainable modes of transport. Seating shelters made for Onehunga Primary School were 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 combined their themes to design 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 advanced design and analysis software (including the Multiframe module of Bentley's Maxsurf software), and use of the School of Architecture and Planning’s CNC milling machine, the structure was built using students' 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.

At the University of Auckland award ceremony (left to right):

Bruce Yelverton, School Board Member, Onehunga Primary School

Brendan Kiely, Bentley Systems

Mavis Moodie, Former Principal, Onehunga Primary School

Sam Wood, Winner

Yusef Patel, Winner

John Chapman, Supervisor, University of Auckland

Andrew Barrie, Supervisor, University of Auckland

More information about all of the 2014 winning student projects (gallery & video) can be found here.