The Architectural Division of the American Composites Manufacturing Association (ACMA) has invited a select group of institutions to participate in its second annual COMPOSITES CHALLENGE – an exciting material investigation focused on novel means of integration of composite constructions into architectural production. The strongest and most imaginative results of this challenge will be prominently featured in the (booth #1823) in the Composites Pavilion at AIA 2017 in Orlando.

Composites in Architecture Design Challenge

ACMA asked architectural students working in teams to consider the development of a composite architectural/ building component or assembly. The teams are encouraged to explore and invent new and sometimes radical architectural designs. The design should push the limits of architecture beyond the traditional cladding and secondary components currently identified within the International Building Code.

To facilitate the challenge, ACMA conducted a series of workshops for the participating students which included both seminars and hands-on activities that introduced various aspects ranging from material selection, mechanical properties, production techniques and safety.

The first of these workshops took place January 21 at Clemson University and was attended by nearly 40 architecture students. ACMA also conducted successful workshops at Kent State University and the University of Southern California. In total, about 75 students participated and showed a strong desire to learn more about designing with composites.

Students from Clemson University, the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina Charlotte and Kent State University participated. Congratulations to the following winning teams:

1st Place: Clemson University – “MANIFOLD.”

  • This design deviated from traditional mold-making methods by applying folding techniques that capitalize on fiberglass composites’ flexible textile qualities to create a complex and structural full-scale column.

2nd Place: TIE – University of Southern California – “Incubator” and University of Southern California – “Plug N Play”

  • “The Incubator,” is a proposed extension of the university’s Marshall School of Business. The Incubator is a modular structure with composite panels designed to allow daylighting throughout the building to create an open environment for students.

  • “USC’s second team, “Plug ‘N’ Play,” is also a proposed design for a satellite campus for the Marshall School of Business. As the team explains, the site faces challenges of constrained accessibility for construction, poor daylighting, a narrow floorplate, and strict building regulations. Composites help overcome these challenges and serve as a viable replacement for steel.

3rd Place: Clemson University – “Double Curvature”

    Like Clemson University’s first place team, the third place team created a unique column without the use of traditional mold techniques. However, instead of folding, the team used a rotisserie-like jig to weave fibers to create columns with a “double curvature.”

Special thanks to David Riebe of Windsor Fiberglass for coordinating the COMPOSITES CHALLENGE.

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