Sheathed in walls of living green and resembling a pagoda emblazoned with a curving copper rooftop, this UniCube dormitory utilizes an impressive set of sustainable features to regulate its temperature, harvest rainwater, and produce its own energy. Conceived by Andrew Southwood-Jones, the design recently took top honors for Architecture in Autodesk’s 2008 Student Design Challenge.
The Autodesk Student Design Challenge was founded to encourage young designers to showcase their skills in industrial design, architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, and 3D animation. Paul Mailhot, Autodesk’s senior director of worldwide education programs, said that “It is exciting to see the creativity of today’s students come to life through sophisticated and innovative designs . . The Build Something design contest is just one of the programs we are undertaking to challenge students to put their imagination and passion into action through design . . .” The competition encouraged students from around the world to create a sustainable marvel and resulted in a set of stunning finalists, including Roland Cernat’s eye-catching Oriens Glider.
Andrew’s designed the UniCube with several guiding principles in mind: it had to incorporate sustainable building strategies, maximize available space, and balance it all with an attractive aesthetic. To satisfy these parameters he envisioned a facade outfitted with insulating living walls and an aerodynamic copper roof that channels wind to ventilate the structure without the need for air conditioning. Sun-tracking solar panels provide power to the building and a rainwater collection system channels water for use in irrigation, toilets, and laundry.
The award-winning prototype was realized using Autodesk’s Revit Architecture software. We love seeing inspired student designs such as this that pave the path to a sustainable future.