"This team deserves another round of applause."

This was the first reaction of architect and jury member Mischa-Marah Wulllems, after the pitch of MBO Landstede from Overijssel. With this they won the finals of the SMARTCircular Building Design Challenge last Wednesday. This student team was commissioned by the municipality of Zwolle to redevelop a former high school into a place for housing, education, social activities and startups.

The Construction Subject Challenge is an initiative of SMARTCircular in which governments, education and business work together. Each team has its own client and sets to work designing a circular building or area development. In doing so, they look at different fronts: circularity, energy neutrality, biodiversity, feasibility, scalability and nature inclusiveness. During this 4-month challenge, each team receives several guest lectures so that they accelerate their professionalization. Tanja Nolten, initiator of SMARTCircular, sees which skills unfold in this track: "Students go through such a development, at the end you see them really advise, discuss, argue, then those heads go up! The timid students turn into the young professionals we so desperately need."

The judges labeled the students of the Landstede therefore as the most professional team of the competition. Furthermore, the jury was impressed by the use of the already existing foundation and the smart circular solutions for both the buildings, the apartments and the installations. With great enthusiasm, the students accepted their prize: "We are all proud of this team and what we have achieved. It was super last months, we enjoyed it!"

The unique solutions of the Friesland College resulted in second place. The municipality asked this team to develop a campus as the centerpiece of the 'Feanwâlden'. For this they used biobased building materials such as Lisdodde, Flax, Hemp, panels of Coffee grounds, Bamboo, Elephant grass and seaweed tiles. Juror Claudia Bouwens was especially enthusiastic about their Smart Energy Wall: "We need these kinds of new solutions. So this 'out of the box' thinking is rewarded."

Third place was for a collaboration between the Noorderpoort and Alfa College Hoogeveen. Their project: a scalable business case for upgrading office buildings from label G to label A. The criterion feasible, scalable means that you can implement the plan in many places in the Netherlands and beyond. According to jury member Coen van Rooyen, this solution is perfect for this.

"We once started with the dream of bringing those worlds (business, education and government) and big challenges together," says Tanja Nolten, "every year I see what emerges and think, 'Wow, this is what we do it for!'"

Watch the entire finals with all the student teams' pitches back here. 


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