Students invited to define future living in exciting design challenge

The ASBP is pleased to support the Riverside Sunderland University Design Competition (#RSUDC21). This competition is open to built environment students at universities across the UK,  challenging them to design “a home and neighbourhood of the future”.




Riverside Sunderland is redefining the city: transforming a spectacular site into a unique, carbon neutral urban quarter – an extraordinary place to live, work and play.  Working in teams, students from different built environment disciplines will share their vision of what urban living in this amazing place will look like in the future.

The Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (MOBIE), Sunderland City Council and the Timber and Research Development Association’s (TRADA) University Engagement Programme, with industry sponsor the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI), are excited to launch this innovative Urban Living Design Competition for built environment students and recent graduates from across the UK’s universities.

Current students from all built environment courses at UK universities, along with 2020 graduates are invited to participate in the interdisciplinary team challenge. Top entrants will be awarded cash prizes.

Teams must produce:

  • An indicative masterplan, to include landscape and streetscape with green and open spaces, a vibrant community of around 100 desirable homes on the riverside site
  • One 3 bed family home in detail that meets or exceeds the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge.

The schemes must be carbon neutral, creatively employing sustainable building materials and construction methods, be energy efficient, as well as technologically smart, focusing on the health and well-being of people, the community and our planet.

The homes and community must be adaptable to meet the needs of living and working now and in the future. Designed and engineered to be manufactured locally using modern methods of construction (MMC) with the main material focus and specification of timber and hybrid systems (timber combined with other building materials).

Launching the challenge, George Clarke said:

Home is the most important piece of architecture in our lives. It crafts the way we live, and how we grow as families and communities.  A well-designed home can enhance the way we live and promote good health and well-being. Students never fail to amaze me with their imagination, talent and passion when it comes to home. I founded MOBIE to create a generational shift in homebuilding and placemaking and inspire young people to help define the way they want to live in the future. That is why I am so excited to be a part of the launch of the Riverside Sunderland: University Student Design Challenge.

We are asking built environment students from Universities across the UK to design a home and neighbourhood of the future to transform a spectacular site in Sunderland, my wonderful home city, into a unique, carbon neutral urban quarter. This is an amazing opportunity and challenge and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team with MOBIE, Sunderland City Council and TRADA’s University Engagement Programme who are making this happen. I cannot wait to see the incredible and inspirational, future thinking designs that are created.”

Through the challenge, and a series of interactive online evening webinars that will run throughout February, participants will increase their understanding of the Climate Challenge, routes to carbon neutral and net zero homes, sustainable forestry and timber products, offsite and modern methods of construction, Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and carbon calculation tools, interdisciplinary design teams, award-winning timber homes, built and theoretical, the benefits of using timber and where caution is advised, and essential resources

The competition opens on 1 February and runs for four months, closing Friday 28 May 2021. Further details of the Riverside Sunderland University Design Challenge (RSUDC21) can be found at:,, or

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