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Competition: House in Forest 2018

An open international ideas competition has been announced for innovative timber housing solutions in forested areas around the world (Deadline: 1 March)

Open to architects, landscape architects, planners, designers and students, the anonymous competition seeks radical proposals for new timber, or partially timber, housing typologies for the world’s woodlands.

The project aims to identify new sustainable and ecological housing solutions while also promoting debate over issues surrounding construction in forested environments. Proposals may focus on any real or imagined site and could feature individual dwellings, larger structures or even entire landscapes.

A timber loghome

A timber loghome

Source: Image by Meniscus

A timber loghome

According to the brief: ‘This competition is designed to challenge and seek to explore the fantastic ideas of architectural design, as well as landscape design and site planning. The aim of this competition is to promote our ideas of protecting the forest and its environment, as well as focusing on urban design problems, while simultaneously raising awareness of sustainability.

‘This year’s competition focuses on timber houses, an extraordinary architectural style with traditional methods of building with heavy timbers, creating structures and joined timbers with other components. Entrants are challenged to conceive a new and original concept for a timber house, not strictly limited to the style of “full-timbered structure”. A degree of flexibility and alternative choices are allowed –for example “half-timbered” or “partially wooden” – provided it is backed up with adequate justification. The project area is defined as a “forest area”.’

Timber is one of the world’s most widely available and sustainable construction materials. More sophisticated forms of timber dwellings, such as timber-framed housing, have existed since at least the Neolithic era in areas such as Europe and Japan.

Log cabins are also a traditional type of timber housing used in areas such as Russia and Scandinavia, where access to deciduous timbers is limited. The oldest still inhabited timber house in the world is Kirkjubøargarður on the Faroe Islands, which was constructed in the 11th century.

Kirkjubøargarður, Faroe Islands

Kirkjubøargarður, Faroe Islands

Source: Image by Vincent van Zeijst

Kirkjubøargarður, Faroe Islands

Proposals should feature an original concept that harnesses timber construction within a forested area, which could be a fictional location selected by the applicant. Proposals may respond to a unique topography such as a river, lake or other elements near to the site.

Submissions should feature a single A1 board featuring plans, layouts, sections, diagrams, sketches and construction details along with a 450-word description of the project. Judges include Abigail Randall, principal of Randall Architects; Bill Motley of Chicago-based MWorks Architects and Afroza Ahmed, associate professor at the State University of Bangladesh.

The overall winner will receive a $500 prize while a second place prize of $300 and third place prize of $200 will also be awarded along with 10 honourable mentions.

How to apply

Deadline

The submissions deadline is 3 March.

Fee

Standard registration from 1 January to 31 January: $55
Last minute registration from 1 February to 1 March: $65

Contact details

Email: info@houseinforest.com

Visit the competition website for more information

The Harmonious Niche case study: Q&A with Narinderjit Kaur

The deputy dean and professor of architecture at India’s Lovely Professional University discusses lessons learned working with students on the design of last year’s winning scheme

How would your project deliver an innovative new housing typology for a green setting?

The Harmonious Niche proposal was designed to experience different layers of basic human needs such as physiological and psychological needs. The house environment is a single unit, such that residents can come and experience elements of panchbhuta; water, earth, air and ether. The design is inspired by nature and is blended with natural attributes. The design deals with materials that can be recycled and reused for future generations. These materials are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

To make design sustainable, vernacular materials play an important role. Thus bamboo and timber were proposed with traditional and modern joinery techniques to make design economical and aesthetically appealing. The design inspiration was from natural free flow. We proposed to use flexi glass to support the envelope of structure for light and ventilation. We proposed using bamboo and timber to maintain the temperature inside and outside the building. It absorbs the noise and maintains the acoustic of building and its surroundings.

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing environmentally responsible homes?

One needs to understand the importance of natural environmental layers such as landform, water regime, biodiversity (flora and fauna) and its physiographical patterns, along with the impact of built environs on the vulnerable sectors of the environment. One needs to maintain living order and balance leading towards quality of life. There is need to inculcate a sense of responsibility and belongingness while dealing with natural layers. The built environments that one designs should be a blend of mirage reflecting interior to exterior environs, incorporating diverse needs such as privacy of individuals to social belongingness. Built environments should be designed with life cycle assessment with regard to building assessment systems such as to audit its contribution towards minimising and offsetting carbon footprint, water footprint and energy footprint.

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University

The Harmonious Niche by students from the Lovely Professional University