Living Steel 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing Announces Winners

Living Steel announced the winners of the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing, which challenged entrants to design efficient and innovative housing solutions using steel construction to meet the demands of a burgeoning global shortage. The competition required entrants to submit housing designs for one of three locations: Brazil, China and the United Kingdom. Winners are as follows:

Brazil: Andrade Morettin Arquitetos Associados Ltda, Brazil
China: Knafo Klimor Architects, Architects And Town Planners, Israel
UK: Cartwright Pickard Architects, UK

The three winning firms will be awarded a prize of 50,000 and a contract to develop their designs for construction of a demonstration building in the specified locations. The remaining 15 shortlisted firms will be awarded a prize of 10,000 each.

According to the UN, the planet’s population will grow to the level of around eight billion people over the next 25 years. It is estimated that by 2030, there will be a need for 40% more housing and basic infrastructure services than existed in 2005. To meet this need, more than 4,000 housing units will need to be constructed every hour, for the next 25 years.

“This competition sets forth a specific proposition that we wanted architects to think about,” said Anand Sen, Living Steel Steering Group Chair. “How will we address this tremendous need for new housing with steel solutions that respond to the unique cultural and social requirements of a given location? Each shortlisted firm provided their most creative work, addressing issues like energy conservation, rain water capture, and efficiencies in heating and cooling. Steel is the right material for meeting this housing shortage, particularly in that it facilitates speed of construction and design flexibility to provide durable and comfortable living spaces.”

The winners were selected by an independent jury chaired by renowned architect Andrew Ogorzalek and approved by the International Union of Architects (UIA). Jury members included Glenn Murcutt, James Berry, Andrew Ogorzalek, Cui Kai, Jaime Lerner (UIA), Roberto Loeb, and alternate Nicholas de Monchaux (UIA).

Speaking for the jury, Chair Andrew Ogorzalek commented on the highlights of each winning design that influenced its selection by the jury. “For the Brazil entry by Andrade Morettin Arquitetos Associados Ltda, the jury was impressed and encouraged by the simplicity and elegance of the scheme and its appropriateness to the culture and place,” said Ogorzalek. “It showed a good use of the proposed steel structure to create a flexible, open lightweight character.

“The winning design for China by David Knafo Tagit Klimor was appreciated by the jury for introducing valuable greenhouse space as an integral part of the high-rise, high-density development, adapting traditional models of communal space to a high-rise topology. The jury felt the scheme could provide an exemplar building demonstration as to how traditional sustainable communities could be created within a high-density urban environment. And the scheme is taking full advantage of the rational steel frame structure, providing an open plan for flexible use of the space,” said Ogorzalek.

“The jury appreciated UK winning firm Cartwright Pickard Architects’ concentrated effort to design a comprehensive family of suitable dwellings using offsite modular construction,” commented Ogorzalek. “The jury looks forward to a collaborative development process among the architect, developer and steel fabricators, with this design being the vehicle to both meet the needs of the UK market and advance the proposed modular strategy.”

Living Steel members and staff have been working in local demonstration teams to secure land for the construction, as well as establish relationships with real estate developers. In Brazil, the winning design will be part of a development located in the city of Recife. China’s winning design will be constructed in a development located in Han Yang, Wuhan and the United Kingdom construction will take place in the Thames Gateway area. The winning designs will be celebrated at local events in each city in September and October 2007. Groundbreaking and construction is planned for 2008.

“We are delighted to see steel construction become part of the local and cultural fabric that makes up these key building locations,” said Sen. “And we are very enthused by the jury selections. These designs truly demonstrate innovative steel solutions that capture the spirit of this competition.”

The competition generated tremendous interest among the world’s leading architects. Over 1,100 entrants from 88 countries entered the competition launched last October on World Architecture Day. From these, 18 firms (six per country location) were selected for the shortlist to submit detailed designs. The entries were shortlisted based on criteria that included creativity and innovation, evidence of built designs, sustainability, suitability for the relevant climate/market, and suitability of building type. Also considered was the willingness to work with local partners and developers in the respective countries and evidence of steel construction experience. These firms were charged with the development of innovative approaches to sustainable building design that use steel solutions to address the economic, environmental and social aspirations of a growing world population. The implementation of best practices and innovation in design and construction with steel were sought to demonstrate the value steel offers in meeting society’s housing needs. The 1st International Competition of Sustainable Housing, launched in 2005, invited architects to design sustainable environment-friendly housing in Kolkata, India, and Warsaw, Poland. The winning architect for Kolkata, Piercy Conner Architects and Designers (United Kingdom), and for Warsaw, architenbureau cepezed (Netherlands), were chosen from 259 submissions received from architects in 38 countries. Planning and preparation is currently underway for construction in India and Poland.

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