Climate Responsive Retrofit: University Design Challenge 2023

Climate Responsive Retrofit: University Design Challenge 2023

Register by 22nd January to take part!

Retrofit is essential; It’s not easy, it’s far more challenging than new-build, and it takes a team of knowledgeable caring professionals to accomplish schemes that work. We need our future professionals to understand the complexity and embrace the constraints and challenges.

Timber Development UK (TDUK) are delighted to partner with Built Environment – Smarter Transformation BE-ST, New Model Institute for Technology & Engineering (NMITE), Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), Passivhaus Trust (PHT) & the Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB) to launch the 2023 university challenge which will see interdisciplinary teams of individual students and 2022 graduates from UK Universities address the urgent need to reuse existing buildings by repurposing and retrofitting.

Timber Development UK and our partners never shied from a challenge and so this year we are pleased to announce that #TDChallenge23 will tackle the improvement and re-use of existing buildings.

The challenge


Check out our 15-minute launch video, taken as part of BE-ST Fest, which introduces the partners, sets out the competition program details and how to join in.


We invite individual students and 2022 graduates on Built Environment courses from UK Universities to register their interest join in an interdisciplinary UK wide team competition which will run for 5 months.


We invite individuals to register, and we will support you as we enable teams of 4 to 8 members to form to include students and 2022 graduates from UK universities who are studying to become:

  • architects, interior architects,
  • architectural technologists,
  • engineers (civil, structural, M&E)
  • landscape architects,
  • quantity surveyors,
  • project managers,
  • or other built environment professionals.


Your team challenge – design, engineer and cost a retrofit scheme for an existing timber frame building.


On Tuesdays in November a team of experts at the forefront of retrofit will speak about why, how, when and with what climate responsive retrofit can be achieved.

Experts will be on hand to advise and guide you throughout the challenge. You can view the recorded webinars here.


Due to the generosity of our software partners, each team of participants will be given access to industry software Trimble SketchUp, designPH and PHPP, AECB Carbon Calculator – along with dedicated workshops on their effective use.


The competition will culminate is a live final with individual (team) cash prizes.


Please contact Tabitha Binding head of education & engagement at TDUK.

  • 25 October 2022Launch at BE-ST
  • November 2022Challenge Brief released
  • November/December 2022Webinar series
  • 22 January 2023Registration closes
  • January 2023Team Building
  • January/February 2023Software workshops online
  • 24 April 2023Challenge closes
  • 9 May 2023Shortlist announced
  • Early JuneLive final at NMITE


We are currently seeking sponsors for our 2023 competition. Please get in touch with for more information.

AECB logo
Passivhaus Trust Logo