Combo Competitions' latest ideas challenge, entitled Hello Nature!, centres on a site located in northern Sweden at the foot of a mountain (Omneberget), sat within an area called the High Coast (Höga Kusten) - which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This competition is looking for "structures that celebrate nature", which also involve elements of "both education and recreation, or - if you prefer - business and pleasure." The wider question the competition poses is whether or not architecture can encourage involvement with nature. Previous Combo Competitions have included the London Cinema Challenge and Faith! A Place of Worship in London, both of which attracted a number of high quality proposals.
Since the dawn of time, humanity has been dependent on nature to provide us with food and shelter. And even as our civilisation is becoming increasingly advanced, we still rely on nature to provide the basic building blocks: everything we eat is still grown or farmed on earth, and while we have invented and produced a myriad of exotic products, they are all built with materials found in nature.
However, over the last few centuries, people have become increasingly distant from the wild. Before the industrial revolution, only 3% of the world’s population lived in cities. Today – only 250 years later – more than 50% live in urban areas. It represents a physical, as well as a mental, detachment. The majority of the world’s population is no longer connected to nature in the same way as in the past.
This detachment affects both parties: on the one hand, the population living in cities misses out on the positive impact nature has on both mental and physical health – a multitude of scientific articles highlight the benefits of spending time in the green outdoors. On the other hand, when being less involved, people also tend to become less considerate. While humanity’s negative impact on the environment increases, the concern about our planet declines. In the long run, this is a crucial contributor to climate change, affecting the entire planet.
It is time to reconnect to nature, and to highlight the relationship between humanity and the rest of the planet.
Read an interview with Combo Competitions' founder here:
Read about their latest competition here.