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May 31, 2018

Carleton University student wins contest for sustainable architecture

Justin Yan, a first-year masters of architecture student at Carleton, placed in the top 10 contestants for a prestigious North American architecture contest.

The student contest, Innovation 2030, aimed to choose the projects with the best models for sustainable, carbon-neutral buildings. A carbon-neutral building is designed to release little or no carbon into the atmosphere.

Yan was the only Canadian winner among over 1,000 contestants. He won with his project design which would adapt an antique store in Centretown into a workshop for making architectural glass. The workshop would use the heat from melting glass to warm the building.

He said he came up with the design as an assignment for one of his courses at Carleton, and it took 12 weeks to complete.

Carleton’s architecture school has done a particularly good job of incorporating “green thinking” in its coursework, Yan said.

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But, according to him, sustainability is becoming a central component to architecture beyond coursework.

“As time passes, [architects] will be focused less and less on creating new architecture,” he said in an email. “Our main priority as a new generation of designers will be renovating, reinvigorating and adapting the existing built fabric to meet environmental goals.”

As a result of his win, Yan will receive $2,000, a paid trip to New York City for the award ceremony in June, and a paid summer internship at an architecture firm, according to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s website.

Internship opportunities give architecture students a better chance of getting into the highly competitive field, Yan said.

“Finding work in our field as a student is not an easy thing to do,” he said.

“To be able to start my post-graduate career in my first step toward the real stages of my profession this way, is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he added.

Yan will be interning with Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD), an architectural firm in San Francisco. According to him, the firm focuses its work on environmental innovation and sustainability.

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