|Primary School students around Australia responded very creatively to the RAIA TimberTrek Bridge to the New Millennium competition; their entries were inspired by everything from treehouses and weather monitoring devices to a wristwatch.|
The winning entry, from Deloraine Primary School in north-west Tasmania, was based on the theme of a bridge from the primary school out into the wide world of the future. It gave the jury a clear idea of how some students interpret the new millennium and won a $5000 prize for the school.
The Deloraine design, which proposed a crawl-through space leading to an interconnected series of open timber pyramids, related structural and social triangulation with support and partnership. The youngsters (Grades 1 and 2) clearly enjoyed experimenting with drawings and models at school, and on their subsequent visit to the Faculty of Architecture workshops at the University of Tasmania.
Through the competition, primary school classes learned about design, building materials and the built environment this year. Juries in each state and territory awarded Kodak digital cameras to the top finalists. These were Pemberton State School (WA), St. Cecilias Primary School (Victoria), Happy Valley Primary School (SA), St. Aidans Anglican Girls School (Brisbane), Marrara Christian School (Darwin), Paddington Public School (Sydney), and Village Creek Primary School (Canberra).
Organised by RAIA Built Environment Education (BEE) committee and the
|National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI), the open competition was a vehicle for local BEE activities and architects visiting schools, and led to construction of some large-scale bridges. The competition aims were not only to produce an innovative bridge design, but to show schools and parents how built environment research and design can play a strong part in learning areas like social studies and technology.|
The three best entries from each state and territory were assembled in Canberra for the national jury, comprised of architects Janet Thomson and Greg Cowan, NAFI representatives Don Mackay and Peter Llewellyn, educator Judy Bull and national BEE manager Jan Goldsworthy. The task of selecting the winner from the wide range of imaginative and well developed submissions was difficult. Three encouragement awards were made to reward the efforts of some small or remote schools.
National BEE chairperson Christina Coleiro believes the successful competition result will add impetus to BEE programmes around Australia. The recognition given to local and national winners will enthuse children and teachers about the importance of architecture and the built environment, and the process has shown how young people can take part in understanding, designing and maintaining the valued places around them.
Gregory Cowan is a Perth architect and Curtin University academic who chaired the national jury of this competition