Concordia University has launched a contest to design a C$23,000 solar-powered bus shelter on its Loyola campus in Montreal (Deadline: 15 June)
Open to students, recent graduates and professionals, the competition seeks innovative proposals for an off-the-grid shelter that promotes public awareness of climate change.
Organised by the university’s CoLLaboratoire research iniative, the project is the first of several high-profile sustainable installations planned for the city’s Sherbrooke Street.
The competition brief says: ‘We invite participants to think creatively about the site, while any intervention should not get in the way of the site providing actual shelter from the weather for shuttle-bus users.
‘It could be so much more than just a bus shelter. It could be a refuge of a whole new sort, which may include any or none of: green walls or roofs, charging elements, heating pads, innovative roof tops, thermally modified materiality, weekend market shelters etc. What else might people seek shelter from? What else may the shelter provide?’
Located opposite the Vanier Library, the prominent site currently has a ‘utilitarian’ bus shelter, used by around 2,300 passengers of the university’s campus-to-campus shuttle service every day.
Proposals may retain or replace the existing structure, but must feature solar panels and encourage user engagement through information displays or other creative designs.
The university is particularly seeking concepts that promote new connections between academics, businesses and the community. Submissions should also consider alternative functions for the space on weekends when it is significantly less busy.
Based in Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Design & Computation Arts, CoLLaboratoire was formed by the Canadian university’s design ethics panel to focus on responsible urban practice. The organisation has partnered with Concordia’s NSERC Smart Net-zero Energy Buildings Strategic Research Network on the latest project.
Participating teams must include at least one student or professional specialising in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, urban design, design or engineering.
The judging panel will include seven academic professionals in art, architecture and building design from Concordia, McGill University and the University of Montreal.
The winning team – set to be announced on 30 June – will receive a C$1,750 first prize and up to C$1,500 in fees to work with a team of academics, professionals, and researchers to deliver the structure.
Following a two-month design development period starting in August, the C$23,000 shelter will start on site in October and complete by April next year in time for Montreal’s 375th anniversary.
The university will also award a C$750 second prize, C$350 third prize and a popular vote honour worth C$250.
How to apply
Faculty of Fine Arts
Sir George Williams Campus
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd.W.
Canada H3G 1M8
Tel: 514-848-2424 / 4609
Strawberry Smart Bench case study: Q&A with Milos Milivojevic
Belgrade-based architect Milos Milivojevic discusses his approach to designing a solar powered bench and charging station for Canary Wharf, London
How did your Strawberry Smart Bench project increase awareness of solar power and climate change?
Strawberry Smart Bench is a piece of easily installable and easily movable street furniture powered by solar energy, offering free battery charging for electrical devices, relevant local info, local environmental data etc. Strawberry Smart Benches represents reliable and smart city infrastructure made to meet the daily needs of the mobile generation by providing on-the-go access to energy to recharge mobile devices.
Nowadays solar panels are used all over the world, but in most cases, they are hidden from the eye of the passenger, on the building rooftops and roofing. The idea of Strawberry Smart Bench is to make the panels visible in the urban space as a daily reminder of the insufficiently exploited potential of renewable energy sources provided by nature. Through everyday use of Strawberry Smart Bench we give a chance to each individual to learn, realise and understand the idea of clean, green technologies. This way, we help them realise the importance these technologies have on the future of humankind.
Source: Image by Dejan Mitrovic
What electrical, material and structural technologies are available to designers seeking to achieve a similar impact?
While exploring the solar panel market during our design process, we concluded that solar panels have greatly progressed. They are no longer just ugly things, as architects usually see them; we can find them in different shapes and colours. When choosing solar panels we must pay attention to two things: their output power, on which depends the functionality of devices we have to supply with energy; and their shape and dimensions, which greatly affect the desired design.
What advice do you have for competition applicants on how to design solar-powered structures?
The first step is to choose a clear direction we wish the design to take – whether it is creating a unique predefined sculptural form designed for a specific location, or making modular structures that can be multiplied and thus create a multitude of diverse shapes that can be added in time. For a specific location, first it is necessary to calculate the optimal orientation and incline of the panel. Afterwards, we should consider the context in order to make the design that responds to contemporary needs.
Source: Image by Marc Ehrenbold
Source: Image by Marc Ehrenbold