June 23, 2006
by Canadian Architect
The Living Steel competition challenged architects around the world to think about how steel can offer a solution to global housing and environmental challenges. The competition called for designs that could be built in two locations: Warsaw in Poland and Kolkata in India. Architectenbureau cepezed from the Netherlands won the competition for Poland, and the India project was won by UK-based Piercy Conner Architects. Each firm will be awarded a prize of 50,000 and a contract to develop their designs for construction.
The winners were selected by an independent jury chaired by internationally renowned architect Glenn Murcutt, and whose members included Charles Correa, James Berry, Andrew Ogorzalek, Jaime Lerner (UIA) and Nicholas de Monchaux (UIA).
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Glenn Murcutt said: “We are impressed by the ambition and scope of the Living Steel program. This architectural competition will provide an excellent contribution to the crucial global debate on sustainability and quality of residential environments. Many proposals and the winning entries in particular displayed the potential for steel construction to provide lightweight, open, flexible and refined spaces responding to contemporary urban living. We’re delighted to be part of such a pioneering approach.”
The jury selected winners from a shortlist of ten architecture firms for the Polish competition and eight for India. Each company making it on to the shortlist received an honorarium of 10,000. They were asked to design buildings that advanced the concept of sustainable housing in each location, demonstrating the value and performance of steel in improving economic, environmental and social performance.
Commenting on the winning entries, Glenn Murcutt said: “We were very impressed with the entry from Architectenbureau cepezed for Poland. It incorporated simple floor plans, robustness and flexibility of design, and the use of double-loaded corridors. The flexibility of the layout will enable full advantage to be made of ventilation and daylight. The scale of the proposed design and, in particular, how the configuration of the building can respond to its context also impressed the jury.
“The jury was struck by the simplicity and lightness of the scheme proposed by Piercy Conner for India. Specifically, we were attracted to the strong concept of ventilation across every space. The inclusion of the roof terrace and the potential for the plan to provide open and closed zones within apartments was also striking. The jury felt this idea was sufficiently robust and flexible to allow consideration of other proportions of the floor plate too.”
Further information about the Living Steel competition and interviews with the winning architects can be viewed at www.livingsteel.org.