Engineering student among winners of the Urban Buzz Challenge

Sixty students from 28 UK universities gathered here at the University over the weekend to take part in TRADA's Urban Buzz 2018, an undergraduate challenge to conceive ways in which timber can be used to create greener, timber-based multi-storey car parks.

Influential and successful timber design professionals from the world of business and science joined forces to judge the designs for timber car parks that were not only aesthetically pleasing but considered the transition to a greater number of hybrid and electric cars in the future.  

Entrants wowed the distinguished panel of judges with their unique designs, including architects Carol Costello and Alex Abbey of Cullinan Studio, and Waugh Thistleton’s Kieran Walker; engineers Matt Caldwell of Buro Happold, Keerthi Ranasinghe from the TRADA Advisory Committee, and Arup’s Susie Gregory; and landscape architects Stephanie Crewe of HLM Architects and Kate Shearer of Ares.

The winning team included University of Sheffield students, including Edward Shaw from our Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, won the top prize of £2,000 – congratulations!

Speaking on behalf of the winning team, Edward said: "We are so excited to win Urban Buzz 2018. Representing our respective universities, presenting our designs to a panel of eminent judges, learning to work under pressure in a multidisciplinary team and innovating with timber has all been a fantastic experience.”


TRADA (Timber Research and Development Association) organised the event. Tabitha Binding, University Engagement Manager at TRADA said: “I would like to thank Sheffield University, the judges and sponsors for this competition. Such a brilliant event could not happen without the time, dedication and support of everyone involved. Congratulations to the winners and runners-up for their inspired designs. It was great to see the architectural, engineering and landscape students turn from individuals into design teams, embrace the challenge and deliver well thought through timber concepts. I am thrilled at the enthusiasm with which our multidisciplinary competition has been met. I hope others will be inspired to enter TRADA’s undergraduate challenge in 2019.”

Susie Gregory, Structural Engineer at Arup, said: “Urban Buzz provides the perfect opportunity for students in architecture, engineering and landscape to come together for discussion and debate, and push boundaries in outstanding timber design. The students today have shown a real passion for timber, from the enthusiastic way they got stuck into the competition and their presentation skills, to the outstanding quality of their designs.”

In recognition of the importance of promoting timber in education, Urban Buzz 2018 was sponsored by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), Arnold Laver, Stora Enso, Hanson Plywood and OSC Sales Ltd. Media supporters included: IStructE, Architecture Today, and TTJ.

Congratulations to the winners, and everyone else who took part, the judges were very impressed with the world class quality of the submissions.

For background on TRADA’s University Challenge and details on how to enter next year’s competition, please visit: