A group of six houses and living spaces representing the best achievements in residential design globally have been announced by the Architectural Review as part of the 2023 AR House awards.
Judges, including the 2023 Serpentine Pavilion designer Lina Ghotmeh, chose from a 15 project shortlist to select an overall winner and five commended works which together demonstrate a “refreshing resourcefulness, imagination, and optimism” tied to “social and political relevance” in what is now the competition’s twelfth edition.
A range of modular furniture designed for low-income apartment dwellers living in Hong Kong’s subdivided unit (or SDU) residential buildings from the local studio Domat won the top prize, followed by a 'highly commendable' workforce housing project for rubber workers in Mexico.
Juror Stephanie Davidson complimented Domat's designs as being “noble, necessary and radical,” adding that she saw in the project an “interesting, contemporary and contextual extension of the Existenzminimum.”
Ghotmeh joined her in saying the work demonstrates a “close listening to daily postures,” adding it also represents “both a quick response to people’s needs and a smart use of materials.”
Daniel Tudor Munteanu added finally: “Architecture cannot heal a sick political and economic system, the architect should go beyond the figure of the ‘public intellectual’ — who makes ‘correct systemic diagnoses’ — to become an activist. As Domat’s work shows, spatial practitioners can then help to temporarily relieve chronic pain in the social body.”
Manuel Cervantes Estudio’s mix of temporary and permanent housing for rubber workers in the Mexican state of Chiapas garnered recognition for its ability to challenge pre-conceived notions of privacy and permanence while responding to the needs and challenges inherent in delivering homes for a transitory mode of life.
Ghotmeh said: “The project responds to a pressing need and shows the power of architecture in transforming people’s well-being.”
Four additional projects were also selected as 'commendable' designs. They included the Terraced House in Japan by Atelier Luke; MOCT Studio’s UK Small House design; Denmark’s House 14a from Pihlmann Architects; and the Itu House in Brazil by RADDAR, which the jury lauded as “an essay in intelligent adaptive reuse.”
They follow last year’s winner, Yuka to Tenjo (Floor to Ceiling House) by Kochi Architect’s Studio.
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