Two teams of American college students shared first place in the International Sustainable Laboratory Student Design Competition held by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. The competition, which focused on creating energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable laboratories, was held in conjunction with the Joint Institute for Caribbean Marine Studies and in collaboration with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. This year’s competition focused on a proposed Salt River Bay Marine research and Education Center in the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Entrants were judged on how they addressed resident and visitor accommodations; historical and cultural context; protection of a threatened costal environment; large-scale considerations of energy, resources, ecological, and social systems; climatically appropriate passive design; and energy-efficient design solutions.

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture students Dan Addis, Eui Song “John” Kim, and Jensen Ying won the competition with their proposal dubbed “Modular Sustainability.” The proposal focuses on harnessing three naturally occurring forces—prevailing winds, consistent solar exposure, and oceanic water—to develop a net-zero-energy facility.

Caitlin Ranson and Dianah Katzenberger from Clemson University were also awarded first place for their project, “MR + EC.” Their proposal also capitalized on eastern winds, and provided connections to the nearby ridge, reef, beach, and mangrove ecosystems. It includes solar thermal design, PV panels, daylighting, and rainwater collection, and adapts to extreme weather conditions.

Both winning proposals, along with honorable mentions and competition details, can be found online here