Concrete canoe race to celebrate new exhibit

Hundreds of civil engineering students from across the country will be testing their design skills in a canoe race in Washington D.C. June 18-20. The students won’t be racing traditional canoes, however. Instead, they will design and construct canoes make of concrete.

The race, known as the National Concrete Canoe Competition, is part of a weekend of activities to celebrate the opening of a new exhibition, “Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete” at the National Building Museum.

The canoe must not only float, but be stable and quick in the water. Seventy percent of the competition is based on the design of the canoe, a written design paper and a business presentation. The remaining 30 percent is based on a series of slalom/endurance and sprint races to be held June 20. Before the canoes can race, they must pass a flotation test in which students must prove their boats can race safely.

“Over the years, competitors have surpassed our expectations for creative applications of concrete in the design and construction of the canoes,” said Mike Shydlowski, president of Master Builders, a corporate sponsor of the event. “It is our hope that staging the competition during the opening of the Liquid Stone exhibition will provide inspiration to the students.”

During the three-day “Concrete Carnival” at the National Building Museum, hands-on activities will educate children and adults on how concrete works and its different applications. The new exhibit, “Liquid Stone,” will demonstrate the different applications for which architects and builders are using concrete, survey the versatility of its use, and explain what technologies make the newest concrete innovations possible. The exhibit will also take a look into the future of concrete by displaying new hybrid versions that may have a heavy impact in construction and building design.

“Liquid Stone” opens to the public June 19 and runs through January 23. To find out more about the exhibit, click on the link to the right.