Winners of Resilient Homes Design Challenge announced

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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WASHINGTON, USA — The World Bank, Build Academy, Airbnb, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and UN-Habitat on Monday announced the winners of the Resilient Homes Design Challenge which generated blue prints for disaster-resilient and sustainable houses that could be constructed for under US$10,000 for people living in areas affected by or vulnerable to disasters caused by natural hazards.

Disasters have caused over 23 million people to become homeless in the past 10 years, according to the IDB. Put into local context, last year's Hurricane Maria left only 11 per cent of the homes on the Caribbean island country of Dominica intact.

“It is often the poorest that suffer the most from these shocks. With half the urban building stock that will exist in 2050 yet to be built, the policies and decisions that occur in cities over the next 15-20 years will shape the world we live in. Housing design and planning can play a big role in making cities more resilient,” the IDB said in a release Monday.

The design challenge called on architects, engineers, designers, and students from all over the world to sumbit proposals for up to three scenarios.

Scenario 1: Island countries affected by earthquakes, storms, and flooding;

Scenario 2: Mountain and inland areas affected by earthquakes and landslides; and

Scenario 3: Coastal areas affected by storms and flooding

Over 3,000 professionals from over 120 countries participated, resulting in over 300 team submissions. A jury of international experts selected three winning designs for each of the three scenarios, for a total of nine winners. They are:

Team Name Location for Design

Scenario 1

1) Antu (Nicaragua) Caribbean & Pacific islands

2) CSW Architecture (France) Haiti

3) KZ Architecture (USA) Caribbean

Scenario 2

1) Baha Spatial Agency (Nepal) Nepal

2) Compartment S4 (India) India

3) Ten (Switzerland) Nepal, Bhutan

Scenario 3

1) Architects Avenue (Malaysia) Malaysia

2) PoLito (Italy) Philippines

3) Bam-S (Italy) Bangladesh

The jury also selected one special mention for each scenario.

The jury said it was impressed by the quality of the submissions as well as the diversity of materials and construction approaches, ranging from traditional construction to flat-packing, 3D-printing, and more. It gave due consideration to resilience, sustainability, replicability, and designs that suited the local cultural context, whose construction process would use local materials and enable local employment rather than requiring significant external expertise and materials.

Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the MIT School of Architecture & Planning, summarised the jury's thinking process: “We've seen this repeatedly in disaster situations, where there are solutions that seem fine on paper but are ultimately rejected and abandoned by people. I would definitely go for the more localised construction systems and approaches that changed existing elements or introduced new details that makes the houses stronger, faster, and easier to build, but are also more dignified.”

Winners will be invited to exhibit at the World Bank in Washington, DC, and other select global venues. Winning designs could also eventually inform resilient housing or reconstruction work for World Bank-funded projects in the Caribbean, South Asia, and East Asia, the World Bank said.

The winning design housing models will be tested for their resilience. This will be followed by a continued collaboration with the designers to tweak and improve the designs to get them ready for real-world application.

“We should not be looking at this design competition as a one-off. We should look at this as the beginning of a community of practice around the very important agenda of resilient housing design and retrofitting. We hope that this competition has jump-started a movement and a community of practice that can exchange knowledge, experience, and ideas, and continue to grow,” emphasised Sameh Wahba, World Bank Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience.

The World Bank said initiatives such as the challenge support a renewed engagement in community-driven housing resilience efforts. They also help support the achievement of the 2030 agenda and SDG 11.1 which calls for providing safe, affordable, and resilient housing for those most in need.

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