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Ryerson Students Win Canadian Institute of Steel Construction Architecture Design Award Two Years in a Row

August 09, 2019

Ryerson fourth year undergraduate students, Ruotao (Rita) Wang and Shengyu Cai, have been chosen as the winners of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction’s, Annual Architectural Student Design Competition of 2018/2019 for Anthropique.

Students were tasked with creating a pavilion solely made of steel, the shape and scale of which should establish relations with its surroundings.  In its 18th year, this competition has become an established institution for architecture students to present their most interesting and cutting edge work. Working with steel alone meant working a material that is ductile, malleable and has a high tensile strength, making it the perfect material for constructing a large scale, intricately woven infrastructure.

The design aimed to highlight and address the irreversible damages caused by climate change, such as flood and loss of biodiversity, Anthropique seeks to both create public awareness around the importance of wetland conservation and exemplify how architecture can help to facilitate regrow and rejuvenate of existing ecosystems. The Pavilion located in Technopark, one of the few urban wetlands in Montreal, as well as a unique bird watching spot in the city.

Asked what inspired the Anthropique, the two students speak about their passion for the environment and addressing climate change, which they see as the most urgent issue of their time.

“Montreal has been one of the biggest victims of flooding in these years; thousands of people have been forced to leave their home. What we found really unsettling was that this could be the new normal, as we are seeing increasing flood in the future because of the multiple negative effects of global warming. It leaves us with no choice but try to mitigate the harm and work to adapt to a stark future. These phenomena reminded us of a visually awe-inspiring documentary in 2018: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, which narrates the humanity’s impact on the planet from a geographic point of view. This documentary inspired us and urged us to think about the environmental issues from an architectural perspective.

Having done extensive research on this topic, as architectural students / future architects, they were attracted to a more “softer approach” which is utilizing/redesigning the natural landscape /ecosystem to achieve flood control.

“Wetlands are nature’s way of reducing intensity of flooding and maintaining water quality. They act as natural sponges that trap water and release slowly. We wanted to address the beauty of nature and the importance of wetland conservation, and we believe the intention of the project to raise public awareness of the global warming and environment degradation will reach more people”.