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Winning RGU architecture students take centre stage at Icebox Challenge Glasgow

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Image of Icebox Challenge Winners Kyle Henderson and Lina Khairy
The designs of a winning team of architecture students from Robert Gordon University are on public display as the ‘Icebox Challenge Glasgow’ event gets underway.

The Architecture students from The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment recently won a national competition to design a highly energy efficient building that marks the build up to the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Students from across Scotland were challenged with creating a building that was both innovative and eye-catching. The competition asked students to design one structure built to Scottish Building Standards and another built to a more environmentally friendly, Passivhaus/ Passive House standard. 

The winning team of architects from RGU has worked with event sponsor, Construction Scotland at its’ Innovation Centre in Hamilton, to fabricate the ice boxes, which are inspired by the natural colours of the Highlands and use timber cladding stained red, green and yellow. The boxes are now on full public display in St.Enoch Square, Glasgow after an opening ceremony on 23rd July.   

At the start of the challenge, the boxes, which are 1m square, each hold 917kg of ice. How much ice remains in the structures over two weeks will demonstrate how well each keeps out the heat and the difference between the Scottish Building Standards and the Passive House Standard.

One of the winning RGU architecture students is 23-year-old Lina Khairy:

"We got involved in this competition because we believe in a sustainable approach and the Passivhaus standard. After four intensive weeks of construction, we're very proud to be able to put these structures on public display to raise awareness of good building performance and what we need to do to tackle climate change.

“It is such an amazing experience to get to build these boxes and gain insight into the construction process! This is honestly a dream come true!” 

The two shed like “iceboxes”, designed to two different specific housebuilding standards, demonstrate how improving the building standards of homes, can help reduce the amount of energy needed and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

A closing ceremony will take place on August 6, from 1-2pm during which, the remaining ice will be weighed and announced.

The student competition has been judged by a jury consisting of the Passive House Institute; Glasgow Institute of Architects; John Gilbert Architects; Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Edinburgh Napier University.

The winning group of students from Robert Gordon’s University include mature student Matt Clubb,  Lina Khairy, aged 23, Alina Vinogradova aged 28 and Kyle Henderson, aged 23.

The ‘Icebox Challenge Glasgow’ is run by the International Passive House Association and The Passivhaus Trust, who are a global network of architects, planners, scientists and contractors in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University. 

The group strive to promote Building Passive which means building better!   The aim of the competition is to create an energy efficient building that was judged on design, cost-effectiveness, innovation, energy supply and sustainability.  

To find out more about the challenge visit:

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