January 21, 2013


The winning design of the 2011-2012 OTS Student Design Challenge featured three tire derived products in creative and innovative ways. The rock-inspired seating and play elements are coated in a poured rubber product supplied by Shercom Industries. SofSurfaces recycled rubber tiles are prominently featured on the site as is Heffco recycled rubber mulch.

Creative use by students of recycled tires in design recognized

The second annual Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) Student Design Challenge will engage the designers of tomorrow in using innovative products, such as recycled tires, say organizers.

“Our goal is to reach the design professionals of tomorrow, to really engage those students who are going to be going out there and be the professionals that people rely on to design their spaces,” said OTS executive director Andrew Horsman.

This year’s challenge will bring students together in a two-day contest to design a space at the downtown Toronto YMCA, located on the northwest corner of Yonge and Grosvenor streets. This is a new format for the challenge and Horsman hopes it will create excitement among the students who compete from colleges and universities from across the province.

“Anytime you put pressure on students especially it tends to bring out a bit more energy, a bit more excitement, he said.

“We’re hoping that will translate into some fresh and exciting designs for the downtown Toronto YMCA.”

The YMCA is located in a high-traffic area and Horsman hopes it will engage passersby.

“The space is going to be right front and centre so people will get an opportunity to look at, read the promotional materials, read the educational signage, and learn about those products.”

He hopes this will generate excitement from the general public in learning about using these products in their own homes. Roof shingles and garden mulch are some of the tire derived products that people are surprised to learn about.

Horsman said tire derived roof shingles are often used in historically significant construction because they provide a better aesthetic than asphalt and are cheaper than slate or cedar.

Tire derived mulch was one of the components of the 2011-2012 student challenge winners’ design at Evergreen Brick Works, a community environmental centre in Toronto.

The design by Gloria Perez and Jessica Gafic mimics the curves and colours of Mud River, a tributary of the Don River running beneath the site. It also features three tire derived products in innovative ways. The rock-inspired seating and play elements, referred to as “pods,” are coated in a poured rubber product supplied by Shercom Industries.

SofSurfaces recycled rubber tiles are prominently featured on the site in two lively shades of river-inspired blue. It also showcases Heffco recycled rubber mulch around planting beds and newly landscaped areas. The site emphasizes the theme of “blending old and new” and celebrates the elegant union of natural and reclaimed materials to create memorable user experiences. Horsman said the winners were innovative and contacted one of the manufacturers to speak about alternative ways to use their product.

“It’s that kind of innovation, it’s that kind of excitement in the process that we hope they take forward into their professional careers and use these materials in projects where they can get the maximum benefit from them,” he said.

The 2011-2012 winners were announced on Jan. 19.

Follow Kelly Lapointe on Twitter @DCNKelly.

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