Design for Barcelona

Photo of architecture students

From 500 entries, two of the University’s Master of Architecture students have won first prize in the Barcelona 2011 International Architecture Competition.

Marinel Dator and Katie Yeung’s design, titled The Hanging Cloud: Lightweight Living for Barcelona incorporates a reinterpretation of Antoni Gaudi’s inverted hanging model, with the tower broken down into light-suspended elements.

The competition challenge was to design a 100m tall, “zero-ecological impact” tower-hostel to create a new landmark opposite the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which was designed by renowned architect Richard Meier.

Dator and Yeung’s winning design utilises locally produced terracotta columns to collect and preserve water at a constant temperature to create thermal comfort, and vibro-wind panels on the columns and pods to capture wind vibrations to create energy.

The competition was open to professional architects (student entries to be accompanied by academic staff), making the students’ win even more remarkable.

Daniel Ryan, coordinator of the faculty’s Sustainable Architecture Research Studio, said, “We encourage students to participate in architectural competitions as we hope that the public and private sector in NSW will start to recognise the value of competitions for both the commissioning of avant-garde architecture and the support of a new generation of architectural practice.”

The students, who balance work at architectural firms Bates Smart and Patrick O’Carrigan and Partners with their studies, put a lot of effort into the project. “We each spent about 20 hours a week working on this design,” said Dator.

“We could see presentations used for previous awards,” Yeung said, “so we had a precedent for the high standard we had to aim towards. It was not just the architectural design we had to get right but how you present it graphically.”

The tutors for the studio were Daniel Ryan, Allison Earl and Associate Professor Glen Hill; and consultants were Su-Fern Tan, Matt Markham-Lee and Professor Max Irvine.

The prize is $3500 and a trip to Barcelona, which will be the students’ first visit not only to the city but also to Europe.