The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Students Win Prize for Carbon-Absorbing Building Design

Students Win Prize for Carbon-Absorbing Building Design
17 August 2023

Students at Coventry University have won the Design Concrete 2023 first prize for their nature reserve building design that absorbs carbon dioxide.

Design Concrete is a national competition open to students of architecture, asking entrants to demonstrate how concrete can be used to reduce whole-life carbon, provide climate change resilience and support a more circular economy. 

Lecturers at Coventry University decided to ask their students to enter the competition as an assignment brief.

The 2023 project was to design a sustainable concrete structure within a former quarry that allows both humans and wildlife to successfully share the same environment, providing a platform for biodiversity and opportunities for visitors to engage with and learn about the natural and geological environment.

Aakriti Kharel, Rio Toyoda, Mohammad Zahidi, and  Harry Greenhalgh, all Coventry University students, took the top prize for their creation: Crane’s Fen.


Crane’s Fen Nature Reserve


The design of Crane’s Fen uses voids resembling water droplets across the roof to allow light to filter through and includes a café and workshop where visitors can take part in feeding the birds, building bird boxes, pond dipping and upcycling nature.

Construction of Crane’s Fen would use Hanson concrete which absorbs carbon dioxide throughout its lifespan and is completely recyclable. 

The judging panel agreed that the design demonstrated excellent sensitivity to the site context from concept to detailed design. Material was used efficiently and details were well developed. The submission also demonstrated an excellent understanding of locally available, low-carbon cements and aggregates.

Aakriti Kharel said: “It was only when they announced the results that we fully grasped the significance of what we had accomplished. Our initial assignment turned out to be our first-ever victory in an architecture competition. 

Picture: a CGI of the proposed nature reserve showing a circular shaped building surrounded by water and wetlands. Birds can be seen also. Image Credit: Coventry University

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 17 August 2023


Related Tags

Related Articles

RAAC Concrete Found in Houses of Parliament

A government spokesperson has confirmed that reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete has been found in one part of the Palace of Westminster. According to the...

 Read Full Article
UK Concrete School Closures – What’s the Latest?

The government has announced that over 100 schools in England will need to close buildings because they are at risk of collapse. ThisWeekinFM looks at the latest on this...

 Read Full Article
Risk of Injury or Death From a School Building Collapse “Very Likely”

The National Audit Office says that an estimated 700,000 children in England are studying in schools that need major rebuilding or refurbishment work. Over a...

 Read Full Article
Five New Hospitals in England to be Rebuilt by 2030

Unsafe hospital buildings in England that pose a risk to patient and staff safety will be prioritised with new funding to rebuild them by 2030. Airedale in West...

 Read Full Article
Laing O’Rourke Mandates Low-Carbon Concrete on all UK Projects

Multinational construction company Laing O’Rourke is making low-carbon concrete standard on all of its new UK projects. From 1 April 2023, low-carbon concrete...

 Read Full Article
The Potential of Decarbonising Concrete

Nothing less than the future of the concrete industry - and the world’s climate - is at stake in a research project trying to devise ways to make low-carbon...

 Read Full Article
Student Aims to Inspire Women to Choose Construction Careers

Madeleine Clarke is part of a rising number of women pursuing a construction career at Coventry University and is hoping her achievement will inspire more young girls to...

 Read Full Article
Buildings as Batteries – the Future of Concrete?

Thanks to unique research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, entire twenty storey concrete buildings which can store energy like giant batteries could...

 Read Full Article
Countering Terrorism The Hard Way

A new type of concrete, which could significantly lower the number of deaths during bomb blasts, earthquakes and other disasters, is being developed by an expert from...

 Read Full Article