Passivhaus Affiliate

2023 Student Competition

The Challenge




2024 Registration

Please direct competition queries to Tabitha Binding

Climate Responsive Retrofit: University Design Challenge 2023

Retrofit is essential; It’s more challenging than new-build, and it takes a team of caring professionals to accomplish schemes that work. Our future professionals must grasp the complexity and embrace the constraints and challenges.We never shy from a challenge, so this year we were pleased to announce that #TDChallenge23 was to tackle the improvement of an existing timber frame building to EnerPHit or AECB retrofit standard.

The Passivhaus Trust (PHT) was delighted to support the 2023 university challenge led by Timber Development UK (TDUK), in partnership with BE-ST, New Model Institute for Technology & Engineering (NMITE), Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), & the Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB). Interdisciplinary teams of built environment students addressed the urgent need to reuse existing buildings by repurposing and retrofitting.

TDchallenge23: Climate Responsive Retrofit


The challenge

Teams were challenged to design, engineer, landscape, specify and cost a retrofit scheme to EnerPHit or AECB retrofit standard for an existing non-domestic timber frame building in Hereford.

Widemarsh Cricket Pavilion was once a much-loved facility but is currently only used for storage. The community would like a building that will serve its needs as a multifunctional community space that is welcoming, warm, easy to maintain, produces more energy than it consumes and costs little, if anything, to run in perpetuity.

Teams had to reimagine the building and the triangle of ground bordered by roads and paths – retrofitting to EnerPHit or AECB retrofit standard and extending it for multifunctional community use. Teams could double the 123.5m2 pavilion footprint and extend to the rear of the building, but could not go beyond the boundary of the frontage or 0.5 metres on each side. Rooms in the roof could be considered. Landscaping for climate mitigation & increased biodiversity, and community enjoyment was to be explored and contained within the tarmacked road and path boundaries.

Download the challenge brief.

Widemarsh Cricket Pavilion Front Facade Widemarsh Cricket Pavilion - Hereford: Site map



A series of webinars from leading industry professionals took place online online during November 2022 to inform the challenge. A team of experts at the forefront of retrofit spoke about why, how, when and with what climate-responsive retrofit can be achieved. Webinars are hosted on the #TDChallenge YouTube channel. Watch the launch event below which took place on 25 October 2022.

Software workshops were also available to all registered teams and covered the following topics:

  • Trimble sketch up software 

  • PHPP software 

  • DesignPH software 

  • AECB PHribbon



With design features ranging from green roofs to glulam extensions, charred timber façades to biophilic interiors, the final proposals demonstrated an imaginative and impressive array of fabric-first and environmentally integrative thinking.

Congratulations to the four shortlisted teams, listed below, representing some of the incredible emerging talent of built environment students in the UK:

Team 1:

  • Numaan Amar, University of Birmingham
  • Joseph Meehan, University of Bristol
  • El-Amin Ahmed, University of Cambridge
  • Tanchho Lawati, UCA Canterbury
  • Siara Wong, University of Nottingham
  • Matthew Lindars, University of Birmingham
  • Tsveta ‘Ettie’ Karagyozova, University of Sheffield

Team 2:

  • Irene Dumitrascu-Podogrocki, Newcastle University
  • Shweta Salvankar, Cardiff University
  • Deepak Sadhwani, Cardiff University
  • Dafyn Llewelyn Richards, Plymouth University
  • Martin Juricek, Heriot-Watt University
  • Daniel Green, London Metropolitan University

Team 5:

  • Arjun Prema, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Chantal Barnes, University of Westminster Graduate
  • Jiar Sadiq, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Muneeb Khan, Robert Gordon University Graduate
  • Shifana Kunnathedath, University of the Arts London

Team 9:

  • Craig Robertson, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Tim Danson, University of Brighton
  • Caroline Vosburgh, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Vicky Rogers, Plymouth University
  • Augustin Quarez, University of Bath
  • Alice Davyson, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Prince Lemoha, Robert Gordon University



(L-R) Tabitha Binding, Head of Education, Timber Development UK. Dafyn Richards, Plymouth University. Deepak Sadhwani, Cardiff University. Daniel Green, London Metropolitan University. Beverley Gibbs, CAO NMITE. Absent: Shweta Salvankar, Cardiff University. Irene Dumitrascu-Podogrocki, Newcastle University. Martin Juricek. Heriot-Watt University | Image Credit: Timber Development UK

A huge congratulations to Team 2 who took top spot in the Climate Responsive Retrofit University Design Challenge 2023 (#TDChallenge23).  Submitted by a mixed-discipline student team, who featured built environment students from across the UK, the winning design adopted a whole-building approach to meet the EnerPHit retrofit standard.

Winners Team 2 concept image | Image credit: Timber Development UK


Reflections from the 2023 Challenge

2024 Registration

The competition will return with a new sustainable housing brief in 2024. Spaces are limited, so register your interest early to participate. We invite individual students and 2023 graduates on Built Environment courses from UK Universities to join an interdisciplinary UK wide team competition which will run for 5 months, from February to July 2024.


We invite individuals to register. The competition will support you to enable teams of 4 to 8 members to include students and 2023 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.


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


Further Information


TDchallenge23 Webinars

Passivhaus Retrofit

Passivhaus Student Engagement

Previous Passivhaus Student Competitions