2022-2023 competition

Contest task

The task is to design a new segmental retaining wall product that will expand the aesthetic and technical possibilities for designers. Barkman Concrete Ltd. is expecting compelling ideas for a precast wall system that is flexible, attractive, and easy to integrate with other products. 

The wall system needs to:
    • be a dry-cast product, fabricable with Barkman’s equipment and methods;
    • be modular and integrate with at least one other Barkman hardscape  product;
    • be functional and aesthetically pleasing.

The winning design will be chosen based on the feasibility, creativity and usefulness demonstrated in the design. 


Submission Instructions

Students are to submit scale drawings (plan and section) of the proposed wall system and its components, how they stack together and maintain structural integrity, as well as renderings of the product in use. At least two different applications should be illustrated (e.g., curb & retaining wall). Written explanations of the design concept, potential applications, and anticipated fabrication method are to be included on the board.
Students are welcome to use scale models, real or digital, to study assembly options, but this is not a requirement. Images of the models may be included in the submission as a supplement to the plan and section drawings.  

Layout: design board(s), 24 x 36 inch surface area. Maximum of 2 design boards permitted.

Submission form: 2 hardcopies and 1 pdf-file


Explanation of Competition
Rm 110 Arch 2  | 11:30am – 12:15pm, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022

Barkman Plant Tour & Lecture on Concrete    
10:15am – 2:15pm, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022

Review of draft
JAR room #312 | 11:30pm –2:15pm Monday, Nov. 28, 2022

Arch 2 Room 110 | 11:15am Monday, December 5, 2022

Arch 2 room #208 | 9:00am – noon Friday, December 9, 2022


A jury of Barkman Concrete representatives will undertake the adjudication on December 9th, 2022.

Intellectual Property developed during competition will be managed under the University’s Intellectual Property Policy. Barkman Concrete Ltd. will retain the duplicate copy of submissions for their records and will enter into a compensation agreement with the designer(s) and the University before commencing any commercial production on the basis of their design.

For further information please contact the instructor: Glen Manning

2020-2021 competition

Contest task

The task is to design, layout, and detail steps or stairs to the sunken patio on the northside of the Architecture 2 Building. Barkman Concrete Ltd. is expecting compelling ideas for an inviting spatial solution that includes areas to sit, learn, linger, relax etc. outside of room 121B. Room 121B is a studio space and has two doors that open to the rear patio which slopes upwards 2.50m, in between existing concrete walls. You are encouraged to experiment with features (wood, plants etc.) to compliment the stairs.

The unit(s):

  • can be a dry-cast or wet-cast product(s)
  • needs to be of a weight between 1300 to 1500 pounds so that it can be installed by the equipment of a contractor (1 cubic foot concrete weighs 145 pounds)
  • needs to easily slide out of the formwork form
  • needs to be functional and aesthetically pleasing
  • needs to be assembled to overcome a difference in height of 2.50m
  • needs to be applicable to other locations and their design

The winning design will be chosen based on the plausibility and creativity in how to create a space and shape steps in an intriguing, makeable and affordable way.

  • site plan of university of manitoba campus
  • the view north from architecture 2 building
  • north side of architecture 2 building
  • a walkway leading to a building with trees in front of it