Architecture for Humanity has announced the winners of the 2011 Open Architecture Challenge: RESTRICTED ACCESS competition. Designers were challenged to team up with community groups from across the globe and develop innovative solutions that re-envision closed, abandoned and decommissioning military sites. The response was overwhelming, as 600 international teams registered from 70 countries. A jury of 33 professional evaluated the submissions based on community impact, contextual appropriateness, ecological footprint, economic viability and design quality, and filtered the teams down to only 23 semi finalists. Now, the winners of those finalist have been revealed!
“We wanted people to look at former military installations and ask ‘How can we re-envision spaces that exist in difficult, sometimes hostile environments and transform them into something positive?’” stated Architecture for Humanity executive director Cameron Sinclair, as reported on Wired. “We want to use the design process to weave the community back together. It might be a quilt of many different pieces, but in the end, it’s a quilt, and that’s what makes it work.”
Continue after the break to review the winning proposals!
The Grand Prize was awarded to “OCO – Ocean & Coastline Observatory,” submitted by a Portuguese team proposing the repurposing of Trafaria - a series of batteries across the Tagus estuary from Lisbon.
“The Portuguese role in the world is still very attached to the ocean,” the designers remarked. “More than an economic , the ocean is an element that defines us, that gives us identity,” all the while becoming a simultaneously rich and wasted resource.”
“Trafaria’s 5th Battery is part of a large network of buildings built for the military protection of the coastline….It would be most sensible for a civic program to take its place,” while allowing the site to answer a familiar calling. The team reinterprets the old defense structures: “set on top of a hill, turned to the sea for coastline preservation, now in a civic, ecological and sustainable way….”
Founders Award: Paicho Huts, Uganda / Andrew Amara
Ugandan architect Andrew Amara received the Founders Award for “Paicho Huts” – a proposal to re-open an army outpost as a combination clinic, community center, market and memorial gallery. The Founders Award is awarded to the entry that best exemplifies the aims of Architecture for Humanity.
Amara is seeking ways to restore peace in rural Uganda following decades of conflict. While the town of Gulu is now bustling, Amara notes, “the suburbs on the outskirts however are picking up slowly with people returning back to their homes to rebuild livelihoods that were shattered by the war.” “During the hostilities between the Uganda People’s Defense Force and the Lord’s Resistance Army there were many IDP camps throughout the district, where at one time, an estimated two million people lived. One of these camps was in Paicho. An army outpost was therefore stationed in Paicho to monitor and safeguard the camp.”
“However after April 2009, all IDP camps were closed and the people were allowed to return to their villages. In July 2009, an estimated 1,452,000 (80.7%) IDPs out of a total of 1,840,000 had voluntarily left the various camps to return home, leaving only 388,000, who are in the process of vacating or permanently settling where they are.”
Amara sees in Paicho an opportunity “to catalyze the resettlement and rebuilding process of the community” for the remaining residents of Paicho. Amara assesses every service needed by this population, and lays out a powerful vernacular road map to achieve it.
Environmental Impact Finalists: Humboldthain Food Cooperative, Germany / Emi Bryan
Political Response Finalists: ALTER YOUR NATIVE BELFAST // ALTERNATIVE BELFAST, United Kingdom / Mick Scott
Economic Development Finalists: Magazine Hill: A weathered continuum, South Africa / Cliff Gouws
Small-scale intervention Finalists: PLUG-In HEBRON – People Liberated Urban Gaps In Hebron; Old City of Hebron, Israeli Occupied Palestinian West Bank / The Building Sumud Project
restricted Access finalists will be featured at the 2012 Venice Biennale and followed by a touring exhibition.