American Univesity of Beirut

MSFEA students visit Lausanne and design sustainable Olympic Village of the future

​​​​​On May 3 and 4, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)​ hosted an interdisciplinary competition in which students from universities around the world had 24 hours to design an innovative and environmentally-friendly Olympic Village. The competition, called the Concours Interdisciplinaire Etudiant Lausanne (CIEL), was held in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The premise was simple: six teams of eight students had 24 hours to come up with “Tomorrow's Sustainable Olympic Village." The Village had to meet several criteria: the design had to be a good fit for the city in question, be based on solid reasoning, be financially and operationally feasible, and embody all the disciplines invol​ved. ​

Among the competitors were six students from the civil and environmental engineering department at MSFEA: Julie Abou Moussa, Nathalie Bejjani, Marcel El Khoury, Nizar Jaber, Lina Hassoun, and Michele Semaan. Each one was assigned to a team of eight students from different universities around the world.

“This competition has the same goals as the Olympic Village, by gathering people from different races, countries, backgrounds and cultures all together," said Nizar Jaber.

Each team was assigned a location in which to design their Olympic Village. The possible three locations for the 2032 Olympics were Budapest, Buenos Aires, and Dakar. By the end of the 24 hours, each team had to submit a concept model, a poster, a pitch presentation, and a trailer showing the design process. 

The student teams competed for an Audience Award and a Jury Award. The jury comprised the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and the IOC's head of sustainability.

The teams were evaluated by seven international jury members based on research and anticipation of the topic, solidity of the presented reasoning, and feasibility of the project and teamwork. Julie Abou Moussa was among the winning “Team Beta" that was tasked with designing the Village for Buenos Aires. “The competition was not only about building the Olympic Village of tomorrow, but also about shaping us into engineers of tomorrow," she said.

“Team Epsilon," which included Michele Semaan, won the audience award. “This competition was challenging in so many ways; one of them is learning to work with people from very different backgrounds," said Semaan.

The ceremony was concluded by a visit to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, providing perspective as to the importance of the competition and the work the students did.

“In just 24 hours, we learned about the Olympic Villages and were able to come up with our own sustainable design," said Nathalie Bejjani, adding it was “an amazing experience that I would definitely sign up to again."

The projects will be on display on May 28 and 29 at EPFL's SwissTech Convention Center​ during “The Spot;" an event put on by the ThinkSport network based in Lausanne. They will be shown again on June 5 at Sport Future​, an event run by the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP), in the presence of Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC.​​

Photos courtesy of Ciel - ©​ Letizia Vanelli & Michele Falco​

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