The University of Westminster has announced the winners of the first Latitudes International Design Challenge, a competition set up to connect architecture students across the globe to learn about climate change in different geographical regions and co-produce solutions through environmental design.

Team ‘Urban Chimney’ from Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia has been announced the 2016 design challenge winner for its design responding to urban slum living conditions in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This year’s winning team, made up of students Nur Deena Binti Ruslan, Mohamad Syaifuladli Bin Mohamad Zaki and Ahmad Azlan Bin Aziz, won a learning exchange trip to Sao Paulo which will take place in October 2016. 

Latitudes is the first global educational network to explore the effects and global dimensions of climate change through design and innovation. The award was judged by an international panel which included the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Westminster, Professor Geoffrey Petts; Darshana Gothi Chauhan, Senior Urban Designer for the London Borough of Hackney; Joel Samper Lopez, Architect and Design Lecturer at Universidad Jorge Lozano; and Rebih El Fadel, Managing Director of Sustainability and Freen Technologies consultancy ZEF Concepts.

In October 2015 Latitudes launched its first International Design Challenge, issuing a call for collaborative solutions to climate change in five cities: London, Malé, Chennai, Bologna and Sao Paulo. Sixty teams, composed of 142 students from seven different countries entered the competition, working together with 11 international tutors. Smart rooms consisting of HD videoconferencing technology that enables real time interactions between students and staff in different countries were set up in each partner university creating a ‘global classroom’ where virtual learning activities can take place.

The judging panel, who were extremely impressed by the high standard of entries, praised the winning entry, saying: "The design is innovative in the way that brings soft and adequate interventions to the existing territory. In other words, the team found a balance between the need of new structures and the kindness expected of interventions in such consolidated and specific settlements, as it is in the Paraisópolis Favela.”

Partner Universities of the Latitudes Design Challenge include Anna University in India, the University of Bologna, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Istanbul Technical University, the University of Lapland, Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia, Maldives National University, University of Sao Paulo, Tromsø Academy of Landscape, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, MEASI Academy of Architecture in India, and Middle East Technical University in Turkey.

The University of Westminster is also hosting an exhibition of all the competition entries at its Marylebone Campus in central London from June 16th to July 15th 2016. 

Find out more about the Latitudes Design Challenge.

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