post-earthquake prototype house
post-earthquake prototype house designed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong

A post-earthquake prototype house has been declared Building of the Year at World Architecture Festival, held last week in Berlin.

Designed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the reconstruction/demonstration project of Guangming Village was inspired by the Ludian earthquake in 2014 that left most of the local buildings destroyed. This project is meant to provide villagers with a safe, economical, comfortable and sustainable reconstruction strategy after earthquakes.

A prototype house was built for an aged couple to experiment with and validate the technology and building performance of the new system.

The judges applauded the re-use of traditional material and construction methods with the use of modern technology as well, “combining ancient wisdom with modern know-how.” They also were impressed by this project’s ability to be re-applied anywhere around the world affected by earthquakes and low wealth.

“The architects succeeded in translating ‘four walls and a roof’ into something which, through architectural commitment, becomes a project that is much more profound,” WAF program director Paul Finch said.

“This building is a demonstration that architecture is just as relevant in the poorest of communities as it is in the richest.”

Australia leaves its mark

Australia had 43 projects shortlisted for the awards across 30 categories, and three received awards, along with one commendation.

Taking out the Future Project of the Year award as well as the Masterplanning Future Projects category won by Australian architects for the second year in a rowwas the design for the relocation of the

Sydney Fish Markets by architects Allen Jack + Cottier Architects and NH Architecture.

The fish market will be relocated to a wharf in Blackwattle Bay on Bridge Road in Glebe, adjacent to the existing market in Pyrmont, and will restore public access to Wentworth Park, include outdoor seating for more than 3000 people, as well as wharves with mooring spaces for fishing and recreational vessels, and will be double the size of the existing market.

The East Sydney Learning Centre, Andrew Burges Architects

category for converting a 1920s four-storey warehouse building into a multi-level childcare centre with a community space on the top floor.

Andrew Burges Architects created a mini city at a child’s scale, featuring tiny house-shaped rooms and a sandpit on its roof.

Other Australian projects recognised at the awards were the Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel by Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects winning the Best Use of Colour award, and the EY Centre on Sydney’s George Street by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, receiving a high commendation in the Office Completed Buildings category.

Vietnam project to tackle climate change

Vegetable Trellis, designed by Cong Sinh Architects, won the Hotel & Leisure Completed Buildings award for their “strong potential for social impact,” which encourages visitors to grow their own vegetables at home.

The space has a vegetable trellis to provide a cool and fresh microclimate, where visitors can relax, enjoy and possibly plant their own food.

The idea arose from the damaging effects of climate change, which influences agricultural productivity in Vietnam. The project promotes energy efficiency by using almost only sunlight to light the buildings, which are open between 6am-6pm every day. As well, the area is well ventilated so no airconditioners are used.

The construction of the building also used eco-friendly materials. The ground floor was tiled with concrete planks to make it easier for rainwater to penetrate into the ground, helping to decrease flooding in the area.

The judging panel agreed that this “modest, yet thoroughly adaptable and sensitive” design proved that “green cities can be edible.”

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