UC Merced design competition kicks off

FRESNO, Calif.

UC Merced is committed to being green, and now the university is looking for the best sustainable design for a future building.

Construction is a constant on the growing UC Merced campus and each building is designed to meet stringent sustainability standards.

"I think it just makes us more cutting edge, more in the future, and we're addressing issues that we have today in society, so it's just helping that much more," UC Merced senior Liane Nelson said.

Now the American Institute for Architecture and PG&E have chosen the university for a design competition because of its green goals. The contest is called "Architechture at Zero 2012."

It gives students and professionals a chance to create a concept that could one day be built on this campus. Participants can design either an administration or student housing building, but the structures must produce as much or more energy than they use.

"Each entry is required to use at least one renewable energy source that can be solar, biogas, wind power, so it's really going to be an exciting effort," UC Merced Principal Planner Richard Cummings said.

Plans are coming in from across the country, and as far away as Switzerland and Italy, but at least one UC Merced student group is also working on a design.

"Students love these types of real world projects, we call it project based learning, and they love this idea they can actually learn from and work on a project that's actually happening," UC Merced architecture lecturer Dipu Gupta said.

A panel of experts will spend three days judging the entries, and the winners will get receive prizes totaling $25 thousand plus the chance to see their designs come to life on this campus.

The competition is open until October 1 and the winners will be announced on the 24th.

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