‘Student architect Monique Pousson wins university Responsible Wood prize’


Monique Pousson congratulated by Professor Cameron Bruhn, dean and head, UQ School of Architecture, Jim Bowden, representing Responsible Wood, and Professor John Macarthur, director, School of Architecture

PASSIONATE about global forest management and sustainable buildings, student architect Monique Pousson was gratified to receive a Responsible Wood award for her performance in structural timber design at a special donors’ lunch in Brisbane last Thursday.

Twenty-seven academic and merit awards were presented at at the Lightspace Studio in Fortitude Valley, chosen by a select committee from the School of Architecture and School of Civil Engineering at UQ, including Dr Joe Gattas, Future Timber Hub, Dr Dan Luo, committee representative for architecture and Dr Lisa Ottenhaus representing civil engineering.

‘The decision was unanimous to present Monique with the inaugural Responsible Wood award,” Professor Cameron Bruhn, dean and head of the UQ School of Architecture, said at the presentations ceremony.’

‘Monique was selected on the basis of excellent detailing, an innovative and visually expressive structural form, with timber central to the design,’ he said.

‘What we build matters and so does how we build it,’ Monique said.

‘Building with sustainability in mind should be standard for the 21st century home.’

She expressed her support for certification, both forest management and chain of custody.

‘By consuming certified wood products, we make sure that they come from a responsible and sustainable source,’ she said.

Monique’s project brief was to explore the design of a long-span timber roof that would house a large-scale market space in the centre of Brisbane.

‘I explored alternative timber structures and their future potential within the construction industry,’ she said.

‘The inspiration came from investigating traditional Chinese woven bridges, which date back more than 1000 years. These bridges use a weaving method which creates a triangulated system that behaves like a beam.’

‘Using this logic, I started to explore how I could create triangulation in a woven structure, rather than using a standardised truss.’

What resulted was a layered structure made up of curved laminated timber members which intertwined in the horizontal, vertical and diagonal axis, creating a large vaulted structure that ‘floats’ above the market space.

Next, Monique explored the joinery of the timber through an interactive prototyping process. Through this experimentation she developed uniform member sizes and shapes to simplify the on-site construction.

‘The complexity of the structure becomes the building’s ornament, creating a visually interesting space for the users to occupy, while showcasing the potential of timber construction to the public,’ Monique said.

Monique is a student architect at Biscoe Wilson Architects in Brisbane.