This past weekend we put architectural science and civil engineering students from Ryerson University to the test. They were tasked with designing and building an emergency relief medical aid shelter out of wood. The results are outstanding and we couldn’t be more excited to share this with you!
The students were placed into 8 teams, all named after types of wood – Team Ash, Aspen, Cedar, Fir, Hemlock, Larch, Pine and Spruce. The design brief was revealed on Friday and they had until Sunday afternoon to complete their structures. This was 36 hours of sweat, sawdust and loads of fun!
Students were tasked with designing and building a prototype one-room shelter that would have space for an examining table and one medical staff.
Shelter is a basic human need, and in times of crisis, anywhere in the world, providing fast, reliable protection for people is essential. This year’s competition focuses on creating a space where people can access medical treatment in an emergency relief situation. You are to design and build a prototype one-room shelter that would have space for one examining table and one medical staff attending. Design consideration should be given to the patient experience: the positive effect of treatment environment and materials on patient outcomes. As Toronto architect Tye Farrow has said “If it doesn’t look and feel like a hospital, people’s anxieties are lowered.” And, it needs to be safe: designed to resist gravity and wind or earthquake forces that caused the crisis in the first place.
All the projects were very high calibre. They survived the stress test, but some did better than others. It was the horizontal sway that was most variable. Some had very low horizontal stability, while others were very rigid.
The weights were scaled down from real life to the scale of the models: 135 lbs of steel plates were placed on the roof, and there was 22.5 lbs of horizontal pushover.
1st Place Winner: Team Pine for “Gradation”
Their shelter, “Gradation” has a thoughtful attention to the experience that a patient would feel while being treated in the emergency relief medical aid shelter. The use of carefully spaced interior cladding creates playful effects of light within the space. The use of many structural triangles provides structural stability for gravity and wind forces. The team felt that the shelter should convey a sense of safety and strength for the users. They also considered prefabrication of the building to speed up installation in the event of an emergency.
Many of these themes were considered by the other teams, but the judges felt that this team had the most well-rounded approach, with a thoughtful narrative and detailed execution.
2nd Place Winner: Team Ash for “Light”
Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors, judges, mentors, and to everyone who helped make TimberFever 2015 an event to remember!
Finally, thank you to all the contestants and volunteers for their passion, collaboration, creativity and hard work. We will see great things from this future generation of architects and engineers.