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Bond students win plaudit for Olympic vision

A vision to turn London's Olympic stadium surrounds into a sustainable, 800 dwelling village - complete with contemporary farm and apartments made from shipping containers - has won Bond University industry praise.

Students from the Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture won the Judges' Award and the People’s Choice Award at the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society's (PRRES) annual student competition in Melbourne, last week.

Students were challenged to come up with a mock proposal for Chobham Manor, a housing precinct adjacent to the 2012 Games' athletes village. The competition's brief included a full financial feasibility study using the competition sponsor’s software, Estate Master Development Feasibility. The bid proposal submitted by the Bond University team comprised not only a full financial feasibility but also a master plan, which covered economic and environmental sustainability, local planning legislation, and the relationship of the development to neighbouring, under-privileged communities of East London.

The competition mimicked an actual tender process for the site conducted in 2012 by the Olympic Park Legacy Company for a sustainable, iconic community to influence East London's economic and cultural regeneration.

The team, made up of Martin Hume, Jake Jones, Harrison Hume and Lee Purves, impressed the judges with their comprehension and fulfilment of the brief, eventually edging out the Queensland University of Technology team in the final.

As well as recycling shipping containers for affordable housing and creating a modern Urban Agriculture Facility, the team introduced other innovations including:

  • a public amphitheatre capable of hosting concerts, live theatre and public lectures;
  • a product mix which included a substantial component of affordable housing;
  • plots for terrace owners to grow their own herb and vegetable gardens;
  • a Farmers' Market where residents can trade their wares;
  • extensive cycling and walkway networks to connect to existing neighbourhoods.

Martin, the team's leader, said: "It was challenging to come up with a vision for a community on the other side of the world, operating in a completely different marketplace.
"Given the economic climate, getting finance to do something like this in the real world would be very difficult. To give the competition authenticity, we also had to adhere to tough constraints.''

Teams were given a £60 million investment limit at any one time, not exceeding a £30 million debt or £30 million in equity. The team was constrained by a requirement to sell fewer than 100 dwellings annually, making the development timeline for all eight stages more than a decade.

"In our planning, we made a large investment in the development of the community amenities - it needed to be inclusive and sustainable. We developed the amphitheatre in the first stage and the Urban Agriculture Facility in the second stage to foster community interaction, which was key to marketing the community,'' said Martin, 23.

Bond University Senior Teaching Fellow and team coach Matthew Moorhead said: "It was a four month project and basically the only chance for competition in the areas of property valuation and economics for these students.

"One of the things that set our team apart was the architectural approach - we had a real aesthetic continuity for a village which was focused on affordability.''

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