BSI Recognise Design Quality of Concrete Canvas

Press release - 29 June 2004

Will Crawford and Peter Brewin’s concrete canvas has won the prestigious BSI Environmental Award receiving the first prize of £2000 at an awards ceremony held on the 29th June at the Royal College of Art.

Two runners-up prizes of £1,500 have been awarded to Maureen Valfort and Leah Harrison for their educational programme to combat Guinea worm and to Laura Carlin and Yu Jordy Fu who looked into ways of preserving China’s cultural heritage in the face of rapid urban development.

The winning design concept looks set to make a positive impact on the lives of refugees living in some of the most inhospitable parts of the world. The panel of judges were impressed with the Crawford and Brewin design, a hardened structure designed to overcome the main limitations of conventional disaster relief shelter.

"The BSI Environmental Design award will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to travel to Uganda to test our designs. We hope to improve the lives of refugees all around the world and look forward to taking this important next step" says Crawford and Brewin

The recipients of this year’s awards will use their first prize fund of £2000 to fund a three-week research programme. Crawford and Brewin will be travelling to the refugee settlement of Gulu in Uganda, where they will be able to gather further information first hand. They will be meeting with representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Uganda, who will be able to provide them with constructive feedback on how the shelter would perform in a refugee settlement.

What is the Concrete Canvas?

The Concrete Canvas has been designed to be sent to refugee camps packed and folded and would be inflated on site with water, taking only four hours to inflate and harden into a rigid structure. This revolutionary new concept has been designed to last for at least 15 years, far exceeding the life span of canvas tents and can be used to house vital support facilities such as field hospitals.

Maureen Valfort and Leah Harrison received a runners-up prize of £1,500 for their educational initiative aimed at tackling the growing Guinea worm disease problem in Uganda. Guinea worm, a parasitic disease found in stagnant water supplies is rife in Sudan, accounting for 80% of the world’s cases. The disease often causes fever and burning pain, debilitating patients for months preventing them from performing everyday activities such as working, going to school and harvesting crops.

Guinea worm has no cure and eradication has been achieved in other third world countries through access to health care education. This is notably deficient in Uganda where conditions have been exacerbated by ongoing civil war. Valfort and Harrison’s winning submission consisted of an educational pack designed to provide Ugandan school children with information on the dangers of drinking stagnant water. The pack will comprise of a book containing a story about children that drink water from a stagnant pool and a t-shirt and necklace of hose, which can be used together to drink water while filtering Guinea worm.

Water fleas that carry the larvae of Guinea worm can be filtered easily and quickly through fine weave cloth and Valfort and Harrison’s concept pack also includes innovative methods of removing harmful larvae for families at home and on the move.

Additional prizes awarded for China project

Laura Carlin and Yu Jordy Fu, also received a prize of £1,500 for their project, which identified ways of integrating China’s traditional rural environment with its current rapid urban growth fuelled by a booming economy.

‘We would like to thank BSI for promoting high environmental standards world wide and for providing us with an opportunity to continue our work, and undertake further research for our projects’ says Laura and Jordy.

Mike Low, the BSI director of standards, presented the award and commented, "I am delighted to be able to present these awards on behalf of BSI. All the designs are both original and innovative, highlighting the relevance and importance of environmental considerations in the design process."

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art, said: "Our relationship with BSI over the last 10 years on the Environmental Design Award has enabled us to highlight some incredible talent, and this year is no exception. The RCA is immensely proud to showcase its designers of the future. Both the BSI and the RCA are centred on standards".

Notes to editors

Royal College of Art

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