Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Design Against the Elements Competition

Design Against the Elements is a global architectural design competition meant to find a solution to the problems presented by climate change. Spurred by the devastation wreaked in the Philippines by tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) and driven by a powerhouse multidisciplinary group of organizations from the private, institutional, and government sectors, the project aims to draw together the most innovative minds in the fields of architecture, design, and urban planning to develop sustainable and disaster-resistant housing for communities in tropical urban settings.

The winning design will be built as a prototype disaster-resistant and livable eco-village in Taguig City, Metro Manila. The village will be the first green and disaster-resistant community in the country. It will provide a model that can be studied and replicated in similar areas. The finished project will house a marginalized community living in an environmental danger zone, giving them a sense of security, ownership, and awareness of sustainability that can be practiced at all levels in their everyday lives.

The project also aims to present a definitive green building solution in a truly local context. Too often, home-owners, architects, and policy-makers think of sustainable building as a luxury that only privileged landowners and advanced countries can afford. Design Against the Elements considers green architecture as essential to survival; it has the ability to reduce the frequency and impact of environmental disasters and lessen the cycle of poverty.


March 5, 2010: Competition launch

July 31, 2010: Deadline of Registration

August 14, 2010: Deadline for submission of questions

August 28, 2010: Deadline to dispatch answers to questions

September 25, 2010: Deadline for submission of entries

October 4-9 2010: Judging

October 13, 2010: Announcement of winners

November 19, 2010: Awarding


Category 1
First Prize: $10,000.00
Second Prize: $7,500.00
Special Nomination 1 (Energy): $3,500.00
Special Nomination 2 (Green Design): $3,500.00

Category 2
First Prize: $3,000.00
Second Prize: $2,000.00
Special Nomination 1 (Energy): $1,500.00
Special Nomination 2 (Green Design): $1,500.00

Detailed Project Information

The design problem is presented here in more detail to serve as a brief for interested competitors and researchers. The Official Competition Manual will be available on this website soon. Additional briefs and competition updates will be available regularly from the Updates section. Alternatively, interested parties are encouraged to sign up for our e-mail news letter for news and updates.

Project Objectives

The objectives of the project are:

· To foster local and global awareness on climate adaptability and its relevance to poverty alleviation. Disasters are setbacks to sustainable economic growth as well as human tragedies. Having safer structures “ahead of time” will not only lead to less casualties, displacement, and damage, but will empower communities to uplift their quality of life.

· To build the first green, livable, affordable, and disaster-resistant village in the Philippines that will serve as the blueprint for other communities threatened by climate change.

· To compile an encyclopedia of climate-resilient and affordable design solutions for urban poor communities.

Design Task

The submitted design is therefore expected to address all of the following tasks:

· Develop a master plan for an urban housing development that can be applied to similar areas.

· Integrate development that addresses the sustainability of the community by understanding the local economic, social, and environmental attributes.

The design is expected to take into account the various economic, social, and environmental conditions of the community in which it will be built. The following are the criteria against which the entries will be judged.

* Disaster Resiliency

The design should be flood proof, fire proof, and earthquake resistant. It should also consider livability for residents after a disaster. It should be assumed that power, food, and clean water will be limited in some way due to flooding of the area. Transport shall likewise be hindered.

* Innovative Construction Technology

To break the cycle of destruction-rebuilding-destruction, new building technologies or approaches must be explored. The design must present innovative construction solutions, both in terms of materials (recycled, renewable, engineered, etc) and systems (structural, cladding, electrical, irrigation and plumbing, etc).

* Socio-Economic Sustainability.
o Sustainability of the Built Environment.

The design should incorporate green building strategies for both the community infrastructure and individual housing. At a minimum, the design should include the following considerations:

§ Optimal building orientation:
§ natural light
§ natural ventilation
§ Passive systems
§ Water efficiency
§ Energy efficiency
§ Indoor air quality
§ Waste management and minimization
§ Building life-cycle
§ High performance building fabric
§ Use of recycled materials
§ Use of rapidly renewable materials

o Sustainability of the Community.

In line with local building codes, 70% of the land is allocated for residential use only, while 30% is left for other uses.

§ Commercial spaces: Micro-enterprises are an integral part of urban poor communities. Space for small shops or businesses, street vending, and dry and wet markets are some of the commercial aspects which should be considered in the design.

§ Public spaces: Including in this land area are roads and other public infrastructure.

§ Social Sustainability (Community Sensitivity). While the design should be adaptable to other sites (discussed below), it should be sensitive to the local culture and way of life of the beneficiary community.

* Cost Effectiveness

The design shall be built to house a marginalized community and is thus expected to have a limited budget.

* Adaptability to Other Sites

The resulting designs are intended to serve as prototypes to build an encyclopedia of solutions for disaster-resistant design and planning. Concepts utilized in the design should be adaptable to other urban communities in tropical regions.
Program Requirements

* Housing Development

The residential structures shall be multi-story buildings without elevators, with a maximum of four (4) floors. Each dwelling unit shall conform to the requirements laid out in the National Building Code [link] and BP220, or the Guidelines for Socialized and Economic Housing [link]. Each dwelling unit shall have a floor area from 26 square meters to 32 square meters and shall include spaces for the following uses:

o Basic everyday activities, such as sleeping, eating, cooking, cleaning, and sanitation needs

o Landscaping with considerations for urban gardening.

* Community Facilities

Community facilities should likewise conform to the requirements laid out in the National Building Code [link] and BP220 [link].These should include the following:

o Community center / multipurpose hall
o School / day care center
o Waste management facility
o Public market
o Other facilities to supplement the development concepts of the entry

Submission Requirements

The design shall present the project concepts enumerated below. Further submission and presentation requirements as well as the manner of submission can be found here [link].

o Master site development plan and site concepts
o Housing building plans and building concepts
o Community facilities and community building concepts


* Category 1

is open to all local and international architects, registered according to the relevant laws in their respective countries. All entrants are required to provide relevant professional registration on the registration form. Where an entry is made by a team of professionals, the team must be led by a person who meets the above criteria. That member must be indicated on the registration form as the entrant.

* Category 2

is open to all local and international students of architecture in their senior years and to graduates of an architecture degree. Student entries must have the endorsement of the school dean/head and graduate entries shall have an endorsement from an architect-mentor.

The following are disqualified from this competition:

o Professional Adviser/Consultant
o Members of the UAP Executive Committee
o Chairman and members of the UAP Competition Committee
o Officers of UAP Fort Bonifacio Chapter
o Members of the Jury
o Architects employed by any of the promoters of the competition
o Architects employed by MyShelter Foundation
o Immediate family members of the persons listed above.


Competition opens on April 5, 2010. Please refer back to the website on April 5, 2010 for registration instructions, the full architectural brief, and further competition details.

Competition Website


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