The finalists have been announced for the 2021 Fleetwood Challenge Cup design competition from an outstanding field of entries. This year’s challenge was themed around the idea of adaptive reuse to address the global problem of vacant commercial buildings resulting from the pandemic-induced mandate of working from home.

The Fleetwood Challenge Cup was developed by Fleetwood Australia in partnership with the peak body for Australia’s prefabricated building industry, prefabAUS to address some of Australia’s most significant construction challenges. Open to faculty teams featuring Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) management students from universities across Australia, the inaugural competition was held in 2020.

The 2021 cross-faculty design competition, which explored the proposition of adaptive reuse in the built environment, asked participants to retain, incorporate and extend buildings at a local site into a vibrant mixed-use development with retail and residential elements. The brief also required teams to explore the role of offsite manufacturing and prefabrication methodologies in supporting the development of solutions.

Participating universities in the 2021 challenge included Curtin University, Deakin University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Newcastle, University of Queensland and University of Western Sydney. Each multidisciplinary team consisted of four to six students who worked collaboratively through the design process to produce innovative solutions.

“With more than 100 students and 26 teams involved, we were inspired by the quantity and extraordinary calibre of submissions. The 2021 competitors, who are the industry’s next generation of change-makers, drew great inspiration from the challenge set and delivered some outstanding solutions. It has been exciting to see great use of innovation, design knowledge and creativity deliver cutting edge designs to support adaptable reuse of vacant building stocks,” Fleetwood Australia CEO Bruce Nicholson said.

Accoridng prefabAUS executive chair Damien Crough, “With the highest building vacancy rates worldwide following the COVID-19 peak, the need to find sustainable ways to adapt, extend and reconfigure existing buildings with prefabrication and offsite manufacturing is a critical part of the solution.”

According to Crough, they assembled a diverse judging panel that included a leading architect, a mechanical engineer, a structural engineer and a physicist, with the judges blending their unique perspectives to determine the finalists.

This year’s top four finalist projects are, in no specific order:

  • Shipping House (Curtin University)
  • Think Tank (Deakin University)
  • Asian Persuasion (Curtin University)
  • Fremantle Springs (Curtin University)

Cash prizes totalling $15,000 will be announced in September 2021.