Distinguishing some of today's innovative housing projects aiming to push the typology forward, the Architectural Review's AR House Awards competition has successfully concluded another edition. Starting with over 200 entries from around the world and then a shortlist of 16 projects, six of them made it to the final round. After visiting each finalist project, the jury — which included architects Mathias Klotz, Marie-José Van Hee, and Amin Taha — bestowed the overall winning prize to ZAV Architects' Habitat for Orphan Girls in Khansar, Iran. The jury also selected two Highly Commended projects, and three Commended projects.
The jurors each had their own approach in evaluating the entries. Klotz posed the question, “Should a house be more about an idea than about the home?”, while Van Hee “was looking more at the process, than the architecture”. Taha believed it was important to focus on ‘an exemplar of structural elegance’, and questioned whether “the tradition of acknowledging political emergency housing” should be continued in this year’s shortlist.
Check out the winning projects below.
Winner: Habitat for Orphan Girls in Khansar, Iran by ZAV Architects
Project summary: “Set in the foothills of the Zagros mountains, the Habitat for Orphan Girls gives vulnerable children a safe and culturally sensitive environment. In this project, ZAV Architects present new and alternative forms of domesticity in Iran.”
Judge’s comment: “Habitat for Orphan Girls by ZAV Architects is an atypical project that has no ambitions in the architectural sense of monumentality. The expression of the ‘inner’ quality, however, is monumental — and also brave.” — Marie-José Van Hee
Highly Commended: Binh House in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Project summary: “As a new addition to the House for Trees series, Vo Trong Nghia Architect’s Binh house in Ho Chi Minh City is their latest radical integration of greenery into architecture. Responding to the bland concrete behemoths developed in the region over recent decades, the playful section of Binh House reveals a complex arrangement of floating rooms, protruding planes, interstitial airspace and lush planted terraces.”
Judge’s comment: “Reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s Villa Shodhan, Vo Trong Nghia Architects’ Binh House in Vietnam serves as an inspiring experiment to predict a model for the subtropical, intergenerational and high-density suburban villa-cum-townhouse.” – Amin Taha
Highly Commended: House in Nobeoka by Schemata Architects
Project summary: “The exterior of Schemata Architects’ house in Nobeoka, Japan is non-descript, blending seamlessly in the street, but the interior is curious and unexpected, with 60 percent of the floor area devoid of furniture or immediately obvious function: the family’s residence is on the upper floor, while the steel-framed warehouse and empty multi-purpose space on the ground floor lend themselves to a wide range of activities.”
Judge’s comment: “With the house in Nobeoka, Schemata Architects have given new life to a structure without value; the project contributes to sustainability and generates conditions for new future uses.” – Mathias Klotz
Commended: Casa Bruma in Valle de Bravo, Mexico by Fernanda Canales & Claudia Rodríguez
Project summary: “Set on a rural verdant hillside 100 miles south-west of Mexico City, the Casa Bruma holiday home embraces and nurtures nature. Each of its nine discrete units is in close proximity to the others through the courtyard or via the covered walkways.”
Judge’s comment: “The architects have shaped an outside room by nestling pavilions around a courtyard, just like an old settlement in a forest clearing. Very well detailed, Casa Bruma is contextual architecture at its best.” – Marie-José Van Hee
Commended: Casa IV in Elche, Spain by Mesura
Project summary: “Strategically laid out in relation to climate and orientation, this vaulted rectilinear volume is an elongated brick and concrete garden pavilion creating space around it as much as within. The exterior spaces are seamless extensions of its interior spaces.”
Judge’s comment: “The extension demonstrates an uncompromising and beautiful unity of structure and aesthetic composition. By adding just two rooms, the architects successfully transformed the original villa.” – Amin Taha
Commended: Kokoon by Helsinki’s Aalto University Wood Programme, Finland
Project summary: “Aalto University Wood program’s Kokoon is a modular, portable and temporary housing system made of stackable units providing living space for up to three months, suggesting new possibilities for superior forms of emergency shelter.”
Judge’s comment: “By taking charge of a global problem in a sustainable, flexible manner with limited impact, the project tackles both social and environmental issues. This way of restoring the urban fabric is a good example for young architects, especially in poor urban contexts.” – Mathias Klotz
All photos courtesy of 2018 AR House Awards.
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