The following images represent winning designs from the first two Designing Worlds, Spark predecessor events.  The task was to create an environmentally sustainable design, building or process.


Designing Worlds Student Competition Winners

First Prize
University of California CED Team, Berkeley
Project: Sustainable Streetscape
Location: San Leandro, California

Sustainable design begins at the ecological source to create a visible framework for future development. Our proposal mitigates the impact of polluted storm water on San Leandro Creek by reconfiguring 14th Street, the city’s civic spine. At the street’s watershed boundaries, the empty lot becomes a park with summer playing fields and winter retention ponds; the school, an education center with a retrofitted eco-roof and detention basin. A system of roadside swales allow storm water infiltration. Vegetation along the swales enhances the streetscape aesthetic while filtering pollutants. Permeable grates provide pedestrian access and on-street parking. Runoff enters the creek at a creek walk, converting an unused area into a public amenity. Building upon best practices for 14th Street, we propose to
incrementally transform the city grid into a healthy dendritic system based on watershed drainage patterns rather than political boundaries. (Excerpt of overall design.)

Second Prize
University of Cincinnati Team, Cincinnati
Project: Pedal-Powered Lawn Mower
Location: University of Cincinnati

“In a single day, southern California’s lawn tools spew out more pollution than all the aircraft in the L.A. area. A single mower puts out more pollution than 73 new cars.” Sustainable products should be long lasting through superior craftsmanship, quality and design. As industrial designers it is our responsibility to consider the entire lifespan of the product from conception to destruction and its impact throughout. This product intends to replace gasoline-powered lawn mowers which are major contributors to air pollution. The pedal powered mower also contributes to the well-being of the user by providing cardiovascular conditioning. It would consist of modular attachments such as a wheel barrel, mulcher, and leaf collector. By combining time-tested simple machines, the bicycle and reel mower, this product will maintain a long lifespan, reduce toxins released into the atmosphere, and promote healthy lifestyles for the users.

Third Prize
Graduate School of Fine Arts, Dept. of Architecture
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Project: Revelation of Water, Palentology Museum
Location: Ithaca, New York

My design is a Paleontology Museum in Ithaca, New York. Millions of years ago, glaciers covered the earth. The melt water carved the land. Ithaca owes its dramatic landscape of gorges and waterfalls to this water. It exposed fossils that trace the history of plant and animal life. The museum displays these testimonies of time. The site is located on a slope above Cayuga Lake. Terraced land accommodates parking. The runoff is channeled into swales for cleansing. The water is directed to the wetland for retention. It eventually rejoins the lake. The museum rests lightly on the earth. The glazed southern wall maximizes solar gain in the cold climate. The northern face is a trombe wall. Water from the roof funnels into the building and is released over the wetlands. The temporal sensation adds to the visitors’ understanding of the processes of nature.

Designing Worlds Professional Competition Winners

Manuel Saez
Manuel Saez Design, Brooklyn, NY

SuperBin disposable garbage container Sustainable design takes into consideration the environment in all its phases. SuperBin uses recycled material; a non-polluting manufacturing process. Its goal is to provide the users with a cleaner way to dispose garbage, contrasting, garbage bags do not biodegrade, and are manufactured using oil SuperBin is made out of recycled paper; waste saw mill and construction wood. These materials are ground together, and mixed with a water-based adhesive, this creates a pulp that can then be used to mold the bins. Pigments are added to the mix to give the bins exciting colors. The interior of the bin is sprayed with a water resistant agent. The water barrier has a life span of a few weeks following contact with water, after which time it will biodegrade. Two different wall thicknesses: Strong and Superstrong. Strong: for use in an office, where the garbage is primarily paper. Superstrong, for wet items, and is intended for household use. When in use, the SuperBin’s rim has charming detail. When it is full, two sides of its rim are folded down and locked together as a lid. The remaining sides are the handles.

Marc L’Italien
EHDD Architecture
Chicago, Illinois
“Factor 10 House”

The Factor 10 House derives from a concept for reducing environmental impact by humans. Sustainable Design is defined here by: Size Reduction, Improved Efficiency, Extended Life Span and Impact Reduction. Environmental impact decreases by a factor of 10 compared to an average home. Considerations: a narrow lot, adjacent buildings, modular building systems, a 1,200 s.f. plan, and a solar chimney. Material dimensions are respected, minimizing waste. The solar chimney brings in light through a south-facing window. Warm air travels up and out of the house in summer, down into the house in winter. A wall of recycled water bottles forms a heat sink. Energy use is reduced by increased insulation, cross-ventilation, and by the heat sink. Materials are selected for long life spans, initial production impact, and recycled materials are incorporated. Other features include: permeable site surfaces and a sod roof to minimize water runoff. The house achieved 5 Stars from the HERS rating system.

Pat Rodden
Bothell, WA
“Northwest Power Residential Fuel Cell”

Sustainable design is a practice, much like a profession, always in search of balance and manageable perfection. Today, where the world economy revolves around the existing polluting energy infrastructure, the commercializing of fuel cell technology offers a huge leap forward in clean, sustainable, non-polluting, de-centralized energy production while offering the hope of a real human revolution in productivity and efficiency when converting the world from a carbon to sustainable hydrogen based economy. The fuel cell will prove to be one of the most compelling new technologies to enter humanity since the development of sanitation and clean water standards just over 100 years ago.

Northwest Power’s mission is to develop and manufacture small-scale fuel cell systems that are reliable, flexible and environmental friendly. The residential Fuel Cell system combines the clean efficiency of fuel cell technology converting methanol to electrical energy, heat, oxygen, and water with the renewable qualities of methanol fuel. The tremendous potential for reducing the environmental damage of traditional power generation makes the Residential Fuel Cell a prime example of Northwest Power’s environmental and social commitment.