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Texas A&M Students Participate in GM Sustainable Design Competition

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Yingzhe Duan’s first-place museum design
Photo:Yingzhe Duan,
Texas A&M

As automotive companies start to take an increased interest in sustainability, they have also begun looking for innovative new ways to reuse and recycle materials. General Motors is consistently at the forefront of this movement.

GM recently reached out to Texas A&M and its student body with a challenge: design a building using leftover materials from its automotive manufacturing operations.

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Each time General Motors manufactures a vehicle, thin sheet metal is left behind when the car parts are stamped out. This excess sheet metal has historically been tossed aside or thrown away.

That’s precisely why GM developed the challenge for some of Texas A&M’s best and brightest. Specifically, participants were to design a hypothetical 27,000 square-foot museum that utilized this leftover sheet metal.

Traditionally, architects develop a design and then choose the materials that they will use. Therefore, having to create a design based around a pre-selected metal was a perplexing issue for the students.

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“Our students thought about the process in a new way,” stated Dr. Ahmed K. Ali, the director of the resource-based Design Research Lab at Texas A&M. “I call this approach ‘synergistic means-oriented design.’ They looked at a challenge – in this case, manufacturing waste – and identified an application to use it.”

At the end of the competition, resident student Yingzhe Duan was the winner. His design managed to apply the sheet metal in a way that added both structure and personality to the conceptual museum. The design also managed to help him earn the first-place prize of $1,000.

With the brilliant minds at GM and Texas A&M working together, it’s no wonder that this competition produced some exciting and innovative ideas for a sustainable future.

Source: Texas A&M, GM Authority