Design competitions

Find out more about the design competitions being held in relation to our IASS Annual Symposium and Spatial Structures Conference 2020/21.

Geodesic dome on campus

Advanced manufacturing and materials competition

The IASS Working Group has hosted a competition for innovative lightweight structures, which will be exhibited at the IASS Symposium 2020/21.

Spatial structures competition

Novum logo

The University of Surrey’s Spatial Structures Research Centre hosted an exciting competition which challenged entrants to design a new spatial structure for the University campus. The structure will be installed at a location adjacent to the new residences on Surrey’s Manor Park campus (PDF).

This competition was kindly sponsored by the Novum Group.

Judging panel

The Judging panel independently reviewed all entries and awarded points based on evidence of the judging criteria. The highest scoring entries were then evaluated to establish the winner of the competition.

The judging panel includes distinguished academics and professionals in the field including: Professor Max Lu, Professor Steve Baker, Professor Marijke Mollaert, Professor Gerry Parke, Professor Chris Williams, Professor Maria Vogiatzaki, Brian Linton from Novum Structures and Stephen Wells, the University’s Director of Estates and Facilities.

Winning design

The winning design, conceptualised by engineer Volodymyr Opanasiuk, architect Katie Cunningham, architectural assistant Charlie Pye and visualiser Aleksandra Kovalenko, is The Attractor.

The form of the sculpture is a three-dimensional representation of a mathematical deterministic chaos theory model which was developed by Edward Lorenz in the 1960s, whilst studying the pattern of rising warm air in the atmosphere.  Chaos theory is commonly known by the analogy ‘The Butterfly Effect’.  This is the idea that the flap of a butterfly's wing (a seemingly insignificant cause) can change the course of the weather or climate (a disproportionally large effect).  It is a call to recognize the fragility of the world we live in; we must appreciate that small actions now, both positive and negative, could lead to vast differences in the future. Read more.

The design of the sculpture intends to maximise the use of sustainable materials, encouraging re-use, to create a tactile object that people want to interact with.  The Attractor: maths & engineering + art & theatre.

The next steps

The next steps involve the realisation of The Attractor: It needs to be turned from a concept existing only in architectural representations and conceptual drawings, into reality.

The first step has been achieved!  A stake has been put into the ground for The Attractor’s location. The local authority has considered the planning application and the application was approved without any material conditions on 7 January 2021.

Art of The Attractor’s sort requires practical steps to become a reality:

  1. Development and engineering design
  2. Materials and fabrication
  3. Foundations and groundworks
  4. Finally, installation!

Initial preliminary discussions have been held with a potential team who have the expertise, capability and experience to bring The Attractor to reality.

However, none of this will be possible without funding. Members of the Conference Organising Committee are currently exploring ways of securing funding through sponsorship and private donations.

Regular updates

We will be issuing regular updates on the status of The Attractor on this page, as well through our social media channels. Follow us on InstagramLinkedInFacebookYouTube and Twitter.