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Seismic success for Chinese students

Dr Adam Crewe with Team of Legend

Dr Adam Crewe with Team of Legend Martin Chainey

Press release issued: 18 July 2011

Six Chinese students, who won the 2011 Dynamic Designs China competition, will visit the University of Bristol this week [18-22 July] for a week-long masterclass on sustainable engineering.

Six Chinese students, who won a unique competition to design an earthquake-resistant building, and an all expenses paid trip to the UK, will be at the University of Bristol this week [18-22 July] for a week-long masterclass on sustainable engineering.

Dynamic Designs is an earthquake engineering competition run as a collaboration between the University's Faculty of Engineering and the British Council.

Two leading earthquake engineers at the University, Drs Adam Crewe and Wendy Daniell developed the competition, where teams are challenged to design an earthquake-resistant hospital building in an area where earthquakes are common.

The winning team, Team of Legend, is from Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China.  Chengdu is a city in a seismic area that suffered very badly from a major earthquake in 2008.

The team will spend their week at the University working with academics in various fields of engineering to improve their competition-winning design, in particular working on creative ways to make the hospital building more sustainable. It is their first visit to the UK.

Their five days in the Faculty of Engineering laboratories will include work on the structural design of their hospital building; using modern 'green' materials to replace carbon-intensive materials; reducing the energy consumption of the hospital; researching sustainable sources of energy for the hospital, including solar and wind power and investigating the wider environmental impact of the building using Systems thinking methods.

During the week the team will also do some sightseeing and get a taste of life as a student in the UK. Their video diaries and blogs will be available to read in China during their stay.

The week will culminate on Thursday 21 July with the Bristol Dynamic Designs Lecture, which will include a presentation from Team of Legend on their original design and how they have improved it through their work with Bristol researchers.

The lecture, 'Entering the ecological age: the engineer's role' will be given by Peter Head, CBE, FREng, FRSA. Peter will outline the challenges facing society in the context of climate change and a burgeoning world population. He will review the major changes required in the development of infrastructure, policy and the role of the engineer, to enable climate change issues to be tackled in urban and rural areas, in both developing and developed countries, with a particular emphasis on China. Professor Nick Lieven, Dean of Engineering, will chair the event.

Peter Head is a consultant with Arup, Chairman of the Institute of Sustainability and CEO of the Ecological Sequestration Trust.

Dr Adam Crewe, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering in the University's Department of Civil Engineering, said: "We are looking forward to welcoming the winning team to the University, especially as they won the competition against the odds and it is their first trip to the UK. During the week the students will build on the knowledge and skills they learnt during the competition, specifically green engineering.

"With disasters from landslides, floods and earthquakes frequently in the news, the competition showed the students the work that engineers can do to protect people from the Earth's natural hazards and that a degree and career in engineering is interesting and valuable."

Pat Killingley, the British Council's Director of Higher Education, said: "The British Council aims to showcase UK Higher Education at its most innovative and inspirational, and the Dynamic Designs competition is an excellent way to encourage stimulating interaction with students and faculties overseas. We've been very pleased to work with Bristol University on this project, and we welcome the winners, Team of Legend, for their first trip to the UK so they can showcase their winning design."

Xiong Chen, the captain of Team of Legend, added: "We were delighted to participate and then win the competition. It was an unforgettable experience and we learnt a lot from it. We are extremely excited about visiting Bristol University."

The 2011 Dynamic Designs China competition required teams of students (six strong, with an academic tutor to assist them) from across China to create a design for a hospital building in a seismic zone. Their design took account of all aspects of the building, from its earthquake resistance, to its architectural design and financial viability.

During the 'grand final' finalists had two major tasks to complete in the day: a presentation, and building and testing a small-scale replica of their building, which was tested to destruction on a shaking table. The presentation required two members of the team to present all aspects of their hospital design, including a visual representation of the architectural design, an explanation of the benefits to its investor and the people of the imaginary town in which the building is planned, and its ability to withstand an earthquake.

Competitions last year were held in both India and China, and the winning team in China won an all expenses paid trip to Bristol, funded by the British Council and the University's Faculty of Engineering. Many of China's top universities entered teams in the competition and the 'grand final', held in Shanghai, China, was streamed live online and drew 1.5 million viewers.

The Bristol Dynamic Designs Lecture, 'Entering the ecological age: the engineer's role' by Peter Head, is organised by the Faculty of Engineering and will take place on Thursday 21 July, from 5.30 to 7 pm in the Pugsley Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Engineering, Queen's Building, University Walk, Bristol. The lecture is open to all, to book a place email


Further information

The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in over 100 countries in the arts, education and English and in 2010/11 we engaged face to face with 30 million people and reached 578 million. We have 6,800 staff worldwide. Our total turnover in 2010/11 was £693 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was £190 million. The remainder was generated through trading activities such as English language teaching. For every £1 of taxpayer money invested we earn £2.65 in additional income.

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