As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, high building vacancy rates, demand in the social infrastructure space, lagging productivity, tight labour markets and ageing populations have all become pressing issues.
The Fleetwood Challenge Cup has been specifically designed to tackle these key issues facing the construction sector. The inter-university cross-disciplinary team challenge was established in 2020 to uncover the next generation of built environment professionals. Teams of emerging architects, engineers and construction professionals are set to battle it out in the new design competition.
In 2021, university teams are challenged to adapt and reconfigure empty buildings to drive building re-use incorporating both residential and retail components.
Off-site manufacturing and prefabrication is leveraged as a tool to support flexible adaption of existing spaces to meet the demands of the future.
Developed by prefabAUS, the peak body for Australia’s off-site construction industry, in partnership with modular building solutions provider, Fleetwood, the Challenge Cup poses a new design challenge to be addressed by senior architectural, engineering and construction management (AEC) students.
The competition, involving top universities, aims to build on the success of 2020 by accelerating the development of emerging talent, new ideas and pipeline innovation into Australia’s construction industry.
Last year, the inaugural Fleetwood Challenge Cup competition challenged students to provide a novel solution to address the shortage of affordable housing in Australia and develop flexible designs that could be easily changed and relocated over a 50-year lifespan.
A Judging Panel drawn from Australia’s most respected AEC companies assessed 10 groundbreaking designs submitted from The University of Melbourne, Curtin University, the University of Queensland and Monash University.
The University of Melbourne team took out the Fleetwood Challenge Cup overall award, with a holistic approach.
The students’ ‘ecoShip’ design was selected as the most affordable, functional and sustainable construction solution, with features fostering social and community connectivity.
An AEC University of Queensland team secured second place, with an innovative Link_POD design, that provided multistorey living spaces to accommodate ever-changing accommodation requirements.
Third place was awarded to Curtin University, who developed a design called Infinity Apartments, a unique social housing concept.
A Fleetwood Industry Award was presented to another team from Curtin for using a novel and inspiring approach to incorporate prefabrication, flexibility, relocation and adaptability elements and holistically integrating the use of architecture, engineering and construction design disciplines to address the challenge brief.
Chief Operating Officer at Fleetwood Building Solutions, Jason Kunkler, said they believe a new level of collaboration and fresh thinking is required to push the boundaries to deliver more sustainable, flexible and adaptable building solutions.
“We have created a platform for some of the best and brightest minds to work across disciplines and get exposure to the innovation, possibilities and flexibility offsite manufacturing has to offer,” he commented.
“As the peak body for Australia’s off-site construction industry, we see the Fleetwood Challenge Cup as a great opportunity to showcase innovation in action,” prefabAUS Executive Chair, Damien Crough, added.
“As we emerge from the COVID pandemic with very high vacancy rates, the need to find sustainable ways to adapt, extend and reconfigure existing buildings using prefabrication and offsite manufacturing is more vital than ever before. We look forward to seeing the creative solutions this year’s teams come up with.”
Off-site manufacturing offers a wide range of benefits which can include substantial savings due to reduction of on-site construction time, enhanced safety, flexibility and community amenity.