A team of students from the University of California, Los Angeles has won the inaugural Composites in Architecture Design Challenge presented by the Architectural Division of the  American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA).The competition is aimed at generating greater awareness of the uses and benefits of composites among the next generation of architects and engineers.

ACMA invited a select group of institutions to participate in the inaugural design challenge - including Temple University, Philadelphia University, UCLA and Georgia Tech. Student teams were asked to use composite material construction to develop a novel architectural building component or assembly. The teams were encouraged to explore and invent new and radical architectural designs.
Fifteen different teams competed in the challenge. The submissions were judged by a panel of distinguished experts from both the architectural and composites industries. UCLA's "Undulating Gills" team was selected as the top entrant, followed by Temple University's "B3OCC Pavilion" team and Georgia Tech's "Balloon Panel" team. The judges also awarded honorable mentions to teams from Philadelphia University, UCLA and Georgia Tech.
When commenting on the inaugural Composites Design Challenge, Stephen Van Dyck, AIA partner at LMN stated "What an impressive set of submissions from the students. The projects far surpassed our expectations in their rigor and inquiry into the potential of composites as architectural systems.  From concept to modeling to prototyping and fabrication, the teams explored a wide variety of very compelling applications for composites. It's exciting to see students engage any material system in such a manner, but the results of this Challenge reminds us of the immense potential of composites in the AEC sphere."  
The top teams will be recognized at the 2016 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention (May 19-21, 2016 in Philadelphia). The students will display their work in the CompositeBuild.com booth #2401. 
John Busel, vice president of the ACMA Composites Growth Initiative summarized the work, stating, "The opportunity for expanded use of composites in architectural applications is huge. The design flexibility offered by composites, as well as the inherent benefits of high strength, low weight, and low thermal bridging makes composites an ideal material of choice for many architectural and building product applications. The recently released 'Guidelines & Recommended Practices for Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Architectural Products' and this inaugural Composites in Architecture Design Challenge helps educate the design and building community on the benefits of composites in building applications."