Architects for global sustainability competition



Living Steel, a 5-year worldwide program designed to stimulate innovative and responsible housing design, has put out a call to architects interested in competing in the 3rd International Architecture Competition. Open to architects around the world, the Competition focuses on designing low cost, sustainable housing.

Competitors are required to design energy efficient, single-family, detached housing that minimizes greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and which can withstand temperature extremes, while at the same time remaining affordable to build and to purchase.

Living Steel is an organization promotes the better use of steel in the residential sector as a low cost, durable and recyclable building material. The competition and program were launched in 2005 in response to growing housing shortages around the world due to rapidly rising numbers of people moving to urban areas.

More than 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities; according to the United Nations each day more than 180,000 people move to urban areas. By 2030, the UN estimates the global population will reach approximately 8 billion people and a requirement for 40% more housing and basic urban infrastructure than exists today.

According to Living Steel, this unprecedented urban population growth is placing pressure on city infrastructure, communities and is degrading the quality of life for millions, particularly the urban poor.

'This competition is the chance to be a positive force in the growing global need for economical, environmentally responsible housing,' said Scott Chubbs, Living Steel Programme Director, in a press release. 'We’ve put together an exciting format that will allow ten teams of two architects each to present their best ideas for filling this critical need.'

This third Living Steel Competition includes a two-part challenge each with a winner and prize. Ten teams will be short-listed as competition finalists. The ten selected teams will be given details of the design project and one month to put together ideas for efficient, sustainable housing that fits the location specifications. These teams will be flown to Helsinki, Finland, where they will present their concepts to the Competition’s Jury on 26-27 June 2008.

The competition event in Helsinki will conclude with an awards dinner and the announcement of the winners of the Jury Prize and Architects’ Prize.

According to the press release the Competition will be judged by some of the leading architects from around the world. First place winners will receive $150,000 and the opportunity to construct the winning design in Cherepovets, Russian Federation, where temperatures can range from -49 to +34 C.

The homes constructed from the winning designs will be part of a community for use by employees of Russian steel maker, SeverStal JSC, headquartered in Cherepovets, Russia.

In addition, a two-day design charrette will take place in Helsinki where the teams will be joined together in groups and tasked with master planning community development. The groups will present their plans to each other and then vote which group offered the best solution. The winning group will share the $30,000 Architects’ Prize.

Each of the 10 competition teams will be awarded a $4,400 honorarium, as well as have their travel costs to Helsinki paid by Living Steel.

'We want to give architects the opportunity to imagine their extreme ideas making an extreme impact for our world and for the people that will call their vision ‘home’,' said Chubbs. 'We are anticipating a great time of exploring a score of possibilities for home and community, not only to meet this competition challenge, but to offer the world viable, sustainable solutions for comfortable and affordable housing for similar regions.'

The 3rd International Architecture Competition follows two other successful Living Steel competitions that took place in Brazil, China, India, Poland and the United Kingdom.

The growing interest in the competition reflects the necessity and rapid emergence of sustainable building design for building of better cities in the years to come.

Architects submitting Expressions of Interest must do so as part of a team of two architects to be eligible for short-list consideration. These can be submitted at until 28 April 2008.

GLOBE 2008, held in Vancouver from March 12 to 14 2008, will feature sessions and experts on sustainable building designs. More information on GLOBE 2008 can be found here.

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