Gian Cabanas wins IStructE international design competition – Latest
Congratulations to Gian Cabanas (Elliott Wood) and Suista Gurung (London Structures Lab) on winning the Young Structural Engineering International Design Competition organised by the Institute of Structural Engineers’!
The competition challenged entrants to produce innovative designs that provide solutions for humanitarian issues caused by climate change. This year, the specific challenge was to design a habitat for small-community living in a coastal region of a Least Developed Country (LDC) that is at risk of flooding and rising sea levels.
Gian and Suista designed a village for 100 people that transforms during seasonal floods through the use of an adaptive and modular floating raft system that regains lost ground floor space during floods.
Drawing on their research into social housing, post-disaster resettlement and bamboo engineering in the Philippines, it was important for the design to be sympathetic to the culture and to give ownership of the design to the people who will eventually live there.
The team studied the Bangladeshi people and learned about the many techniques - such as allowing areas to naturally flood using polders and the Khona Maxim’s - that they have used for hundreds of years to adapt to flooding. They integrated these ideas into the design and combined it with an understanding of the circular economy to try and come up with a more sustainable proposal.
Modularity was an important part of the project both in the micro-scale in the form of the floating rafts, to the macro-scale in the form of the structural grid of the buildings and the village layout. They also had to consider technical aspects, such as drainage, water and electricity supply, structural design, cost and ground conditions but for the most part, the design was focused on trying to innovate traditional building techniques.
IStructE hosts the competition every three years, providing a chance for young structural engineers to be adventurous, and to develop their ingenuity, imagination and inventiveness.
For more information on the awards visit the IStructE website.