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BUILDING: Leeds Beckett University trio, (l-r) Freddie Garside, Nick Husband and Asma Dauleh, beat hundreds of other entries to clinch the ‘Better Philadelphia Challenge’ award

BUILDING: Leeds Beckett University trio, (l-r) Freddie Garside, Nick Husband and Asma Dauleh, beat hundreds of other entries to clinch the ‘Better Philadelphia Challenge’ award

Leeds students victorious in plans to build a ‘better Philly’

Three aspiring architects from Leeds Beckett University have returned from their trip across the Atlantic after picking up an international design award.

Asma Dauleh, Freddie Garside and Nick Husband, all first year Masters of Architecture students, fought off stiff competition from hundreds of other entries, to be named as one of five award-winning groups in the ‘The Better Philadelphia Challenge’.

Receiving their awards in the ‘City of Brotherly Love’, the competition is in memory of Philadelphia’s iconic 20th Century city planner, Ed Bacon, and challenges university-level students to address real-world urban design issues in Philadelphia.

The Leeds trio, who have become firm friends since they were grouped to work together for the project as part of their coursework, said they were thrilled and proud to be prize winners in such a prestigious international competition.

They won the ‘Special Jury Prize for Alternative Energy’ for their innovative design entry and travelled to Philadelphia for the awards ceremony to present their project.

DESIGN: One of the group’s design entries was centred on the redevelopment of Petty Island into a ‘self-sustained research and nature preserve’

DESIGN: One of the group’s design entries was centred on the redevelopment of Petty Island into a ‘self-sustained research and nature preserve’

23-year-old Asma, who following university hopes to work in third world countries in the development of self-sustained eco-settlement communities, explained more about the group’s designs.

“Our idea was to turn Petty Island into a self-sustained research and nature preserve, which the public, families and school groups could access, utilise, learn from and enjoy,” she said.

“We looked at all of the factors and issues that are currently challenging and affecting Philadelphia and the surrounding areas and how we could turn Petty Island into something which would begin to address those issues.

“Unemployment is a huge problem in the region, and the need for stable and sustainable jobs is paramount. Our master plan for the Island allowed for education, practice and training which would lead to continual employment.”

Better Philadelphia Challenge Judge, Bob McConnell, from architecture firm EwingCole and Co-Chair of the Ed Bacon Memorial Committee, praised the group’s award-winning project.

He added: “The team’s focus on the future of bio-chemical fuels was smart as they may continue to be a part of our region’s energy portfolio for the foreseeable future. We were also impressed with the thoughtful way this team developed the site to function even as sea levels rise.”

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