The winners of the New Zealand Institute of Building Charitable Trust’s (NZIOB Charitable Trust) 2018 Scholarship Awards were announced at the New Zealand Building Industry Awards in Auckland, on Friday the 24th of August.
The two winners, who each received a $10,000 cash prize, are Emma Fell and Mikayla Heesterman. Emma and Mikayla are Master of Architecture (Professional) students from the School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington.
Emma Fell is researching the design and development of a prefabricated building envelope system for mass timber construction using cross-laminated timber (CLT). The system uses specially designed proprietary joints specific to different types of cladding. Emma proposes to use the NZIOB Award to fund a full-scale prototype using CLT and the building elements necessary to assess the viability of the system. The resultant research has the capability to revolutionise prefabrication in New Zealand.
Emma noted in her application that in the current climate of KiwiBuild and concern for smarter building solutions, the proposed prefabricated envelope system, once optimised, offers the possibility of off-site fabrication, followed by delivery to the site, and quick erection without scaffolding. The optimised design and process could lead to an immense reduction of overall construction time and costs.
Mikayla Heesterman has been inspired by traditional Japanese timber architecture, which used intricately carved timber-only connections. Such connections are structurally successful and aesthetically beautiful, but as Mikayla notes in her application, their complexity makes them time-consuming and difficult to make.
By using pioneering industrial robotic arm technology Mikayla proposes that it will be possible to fabricate more complex designs than is usually possible with existing wood-working machinery. The ultimate aim is to produce an accessible database of new construction designs, with relevant structural information for different applications, that can be easily selected, personalised and produced.
The NZIOB Charitable Trust scholarships, which were first offered in 2017, recognise, encourage and financially support recipients from a trade, technical or professional role, who are proposing to pursue a project linked to building through research, practice or professional development.

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