Project offered opportunity to collaborate and create

Date posted

14 September 2020


Students from Edinburgh Napier and the City of Glasgow College have linked up to design a new visitor hub for Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow.

Two teams from the Scottish institutions were tasked with creating an ecologically sustainable, environmentally friendly, and inclusive focal point to the vibrant country park.

The aim was to lay out a proposed building that could be constructed and deconstructed away from the intended site, known as offsite construction.

Students' design vision of pavilion at Beecraigs Country Park

Team 2 won the first prize of £600 in the Offsite Ready challenge, when they designed a hub which would cater for cyclists, with open and accessible areas.

Team 1 delivered their presentation on a centre which would withstand the elements, including a mezzanine complemented by the carefully considered path of the sun. They received the runner up prize of £300.

From Edinburgh Napier, the winning team included digital designer Zarja Krevelj, production manager Emily Rankin, production manager Callum MacGillivray, and Agata Gaspari in charge of the summer pavilion.

The ‘Are you Offsite Ready? Online design challenge’ was sponsored by Finnish renewable materials manufacturers, Stora Enso, who donated the £900 to reward students for their efforts.

Rory Doak, Business Development Manager at Stora Enso UK & Ireland said: “Stora Enso were thrilled to support a student-led design project, showcasing the abilities of students to adapt to new working conditions and produce manufacturable, sustainable and inclusive designs.

“I hope that we will see more competitions emerge like this, that equip students with strong fundamental knowledge of BIM, inclusivity, and sustainable construction with timber. I am sure these principles will be key industry drivers in the future, and these students will continue to champion these design principles as they build their careers.”

Students' design vision for Beecraigs Country Park

The challenge was originally conceptualized by Edinburgh Napier lecturer Dr Mila Duncheva and research assistant for the Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures, Louise Rogers; with Catriona Jordan, from City of Glasgow College, as a way of giving students an opportunity to gain some industry experience outwith the university curriculum and in lieu of the international internships usually available to students from Edinburgh Napier’s School of Engineering & the Built Environment.

Dr Mila Duncheva said: “This challenge was designed to develop students’ transferable skills including team-working, problem solving, working to tight deadlines and collaborative digital workflows using Building Information Modelling (BIM). I was astounded by both teams’ intricate technical solutions and striking visual presentations and am delighted we provided a positive experience for them during the worst of the pandemic.”

The project spanned 12 weeks, starting in June. It presented challenges for the students as they learned to work together remotely, whilst figuring out how to get the best from their designs and cater for the park’s one million yearly visitors.

The Offsite Ready challenge teams collaborated with West Lothian Council to provide accurate geographical plans of the proposed sites, and engineering consultant firm SWECO who did an analysis of the project’s factors.

Students also attended a collection of lectures designed and delivered by their mentors, to help inform their designs.  Most of the mentors came from Edinburgh Napier, including Prof. Pat Langdon, Prof. Robert Hairstans and Dr Andrew Livingstone, working alongside industry leaders such as Matt Stevenson from SNRG

Eirwen Hopwood of West Lothian Council said she would like to see one of these designs become a reality at Beecraigs Country Park in the future.

This challenge was part of the wider Offsite Ready project funded by the Construction Industry Training Board and led by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University, City of Glasgow College, Construction Wales Innovation Centre, Ministry of Building Innovation and Education and Class of Your Own.

School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

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