Tongji International Construction Festival

Published on 15 June 2018

The University of Dundee was invited to participate in the annual 2018 Tongji International Construction Festival in Shanghai, sponsored by the Fengyuzhu Exhibition Company Ltd and hosted by Tongji University’s architecture school.

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A team of six first year Dundee students joined the thirty-six international teams competing to construct a habitable pavilion in one day from a fixed number of thin polypropylene sheets, with the completed pavilions forming a public exhibition street within Tongji's campus.

Organised specifically for first year students, this high profile international event gives the selected participants the opportunity not only to explore the largest city in the world, but to be immersed in a highly competitive, international environment, to mix and share knowledge with architecture students from across the world, and to visit exceptional exhibitions and events hosted by Tongji University and their partners.

Students competed for a place in the team, with successful participants joining intense design sessions in Dundee immediately after project submissions at the end of semester. This intensity was maintained through three days of material testing and prototyping in Shanghai, ending with a day of construction before the exhibition was finally opened to the public. Battling through a mini-typhoon during construction simply added to the students’ determination.

For the first year students, the entire experience was an incredibly steep, but intensely valuable, learning curve. It replicates the type of real-world competition environment which many professional architecture studios compete in. It necessitates skills in fast, efficient working and strong team collaboration, as well as demanding confidence in presenting to judges and participating in media interviews. Above all, however, it gives students the irreplaceable and unforgettable experience of constructing what is likely to be their first actual building.

Story category Student experience