Friday, July 12, 2013

Winners of 2013 speaks out

Li Xiaodong

We have to start somewhere. 

Li Xiaodong Atelier

Why did you submit the Liyuan Library for the Architecture of Necessity?
It seemed appropriate to choose that project because it responds to the Architecture of Necessity manifesto in many ways. Just as important as keeping to the five topics of the manifesto, architecture is about finding the point of no more and no less”.

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
Each project is a testing of new ideas. The Liyuan Library has turned out to show how to stay close to nature without loosing the understanding of technology.

What is the most urgent challenge within sustainable community planning in China right now?
Chinese architecture has, during the late 20th century, consisted of symbols. But architecture must be a matter of debate. As well as usage of local materials, it is important to give the building a meaning to the local people.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?
We have to start somewhere. Small architecture can make a large impact, if you do it right. The tall landmarks you can find in several cities around the world are often published as a single photo without further architectural meaning. Big architecture can make little impact. In my practice, I always strive for the balance of “just right”.

David Sim and Simon Goddard, Gehl Architects

Bicycling in China must not be replaced by car transportation!

Gehl Architects and Christchurch City Council

Why did you choose to submit the Christchurch project for the Architecture of Necessity?
DS/SG: It was so obvious. We work with projects in developing countries as well as developed countries. Since the award is Swedish, we chose a project where people hopefully can recognize oneself.

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
DS: The most touching part was that, when planning for a new city after the earthquake, peoples wishes were to go back to basic”.
SG: It is striking how important it is to listen to the citizens. We arrived to Christchurch prepared to teach about how to rebuild the city, but it turned out that we and the citizens learned from each other during the process.

What is the most urgent challenge within sustainable community planning right now?
SG: Globally we must have the developing countries to value their already sustainable parts of the society. For example, bicycling in China must not be replaced by car transportation. The developing world must not make the same mistakes as us over again.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?
DS: The city of the future is less “futuristic”. At the office, we work according to Gehl’s theory of “Life first, then space, then buildings.

Ed Williams, Fletcher Priest Architects

People actually laughed at my idea, and now they love it.

Fletcher Priest Architects
Photographer: David Soar

Why did you choose to submit One Angel Lane for the Architecture of Necessity?
We have several projects on the drawing board that suits the demands for the Architecture of Necessity, but we chose to submit One Angel Lane because it is a completed project.

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
The context in the city centre in London demands an understanding of numerous actors involved. That kind of process is always very slow and heavy with high expectations. For each completed project you improve how to communicate your ideas to be able to realize them.

What is the most urgent challenge within sustainable community planning in London right now?
To reduce the energy usage in all stages of the building process. Also, the challenge of convincing without being aggressive. At an early stage when designing the One Angel Lane, people actually laughed at my ideas. It turned out as a very successful project, particularly commercially, and now they love it.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?
We are very proud of the remarkably increased public space created in the One Angel Lane project. More public spaces in the city is an inspiration and a must to form a sustainable society.

Arne Toennissen, Roswag Architekten

We always prefer low-tech solutions. 

Roswag Architekten

Why did you choose to submit the Pakistan school project for the Architecture of Necessity?
When we heard about the triennial, we were on the site in Pakistan. The project responds to the manifesto and was very current.  

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
As with previous projects, we find the educational process to be the main reason. At our office we have a close relation with universities and we run scientific research along with the design process. At the same time it is important to meet the local artisans on their conditions, and to respect and learn from each other.

What is the most urgent challenge for you as German architects working in the developing world?
We always prefer low-tech solutions. In Germany, high-tech alternatives are standard, and that must change. For example, natural air circulation combined with the right choices of natural materials are superior to high-tech air circulation systems.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?

To offer solutions and share them by open sources gives hope to the future. It is important to develop an awareness, educate and listen to each other.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Winners and honorary mentions in the triennal Architecture of Necessity have been announced

At Wood Summit Smaland at Virserum Art Museum the winners and the honorary mentions were announced by the jury at the evening dinner on 26 June.

Statement of the jury

Virserum Art Museum has invited contributions to a Triennale for an Architecture of Necessity in 2013. 225 contributions from 35 countries were sent in. A jury consisting of Claes Caldenby, Mohamed El-Sioufi, Sadie Morgan and Katarina Pelin has selected four winners. The winners of a similar competition in 2010, Tyin architects, were also invited to the jury. They could not participate in the jury meeting but gave their preferences separately to the jury.

Due to the great variety of the contributions and in many cases their high quality the jury has decided to award four prizes, representing different conditions and categories. The winners of the 2013 Triennale for an Architecture of Necessity are:

Liyuan Library by Li Xiaodong, Tsinghua university, China. For its beautiful use of a local material. together with modern recyclable ones, and for its meditative interpretation of the site. The small library  in a village near Beijing uses the nearby water for simple cooling and the public is invited to contribute to the book collection.

Watermark/One Angel Lane by Fletcher Priest architects, Great Britain. For its sensitive development of a site on the river Thames in central London, increasing public space while building a new hq for Nomura. The building reuses parts of existing structures and is classified as carbon neutral. It also has a kitchen garden, including beehives, introducing urban agriculture in the centre of the city and making a distinct environmental statement.

Locally manufactured school in Pakistan by Roswag Architekten, Germany. For its ingenious use and development of local materials, cooling cob and fast-growing bamboo, as well as proactive training of local artisans and job creation. The resulting school for girls has a pleasant climate both summer and winter and a resilience strategy for facing earthquake risks.

Christchurch recovery plan by Gehl architects, Denmark/Christchurch City Council, New Zealand. For its plan for rebuilding the New Zeeland town after the 2011 earthquake. It retains the existing city grid while limiting building heights, reducing car traffic and making the city greener, all based on a “social fabric fortified by catastrophe” and a diligent community engagement program thus rebuilding the urban fabric and the community.

Besides that the jury wishes to commend the following contributions for interesting concepts in different fields of sustainable architecture and planning:

For their contributions on slum upgrading in the developing world:

The Big Necessity by Anna Sundman, Sweden. For its prototype eco-toilet built in Fiji, solving multiple challenges and combining local customs and materials with modern techniques.

Model of slum upgrading in Kibera, Kenya by Kounkuey Design Initiative, USA. For its network of micro-interventions enhancing public space through participatory design processes.

For their examples of technological developments:

Innovative timber housing for rural Wales by Rob Thomas, Welsh school of architecture. For its development of a new construction system of wooden houses using fast-growing, second rate Sitka spruce.

Artis hq in Berlin by Roswag Architekten, Germany. For its consequent use of passive strategies and best practices to create a small industry building far better than contemporary requirements.

For their contributions on planning issues:

Bishang-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore by Atelier Dreiseitl, Germany. For its transformation of a concrete channel into an attractive park for community integration, giving both water supply and flood protection as well as recreational space in a dense city.

Växjö plan by Växjö municipality, Sweden. For its diligent use of public discussion of the sustainable development of a middle-sized town and for its creative implementation of new uses of a local material, wood.

The jury has given a certain priority to built projects, considering the well-known “implementation deficit” in sustainable building. The jury also would have liked to see more contributions on upgrading of housing estates from the 1960s and 1970s around the world, a highly pressing issue in the near future. Projects which propose sharing of resources in the form of co-housing would also have been welcome

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sadie Morgan, key speaker at Wood Summit Småland, about The Architecture of Necessity:

-Sustainability addressed through social, economic and environmental issues.
 Sadie Morgan, founding Director of dRMM, key speaker at WOOD SUMMIT Småland 26-27 June and also a member of the jury for Architecture of Necessity:
What have you found among the contributions to the triennial Architecture of Necessity?  The best projects have been condensed into the absolute essentials, regardless of scale, typology or budget. Projects that respond to the changing social and economical environment with inventiveness and joy, that engender pride within their community and respond to the needs of the user. Sustainability addressed through social, economic and environmental issues.
What do you see as the main challenges for the Architecture of Necessity?  The main challenges are to make sure that the invention and skills of those designing the 'Architecture for Necessity' become embedded in the mainstream. There are still not enough clients, users and enablers taking advantage of the knowledge and experience of those at the forefront of architectural and engineering innovation in timber.
At WOOD SUMMIT SMÅLAND is architecture and the system change the major theme. What will you focus on as a key speaker?  As a practice, dRMM have deployed various innovative structural timber systems for a range of innovative private and public projects since 1995. The lecture presents a case for engineered timber becoming one of the key construction materials of the 21 century, positioning dRMM's contemporary timber projects within an European tradition for the inventive use of wood as the world's oldest, and most modern, construction material.

If you have not registered yet, registration is still open!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

WOOD SUMMIT Småland 26-27th June

As stated earlier the winners of the Architecture of Necessity will be introduced at the Wood Summit.

In short the updated programme  is as below. For full programme please use this link.


The theme for WOOD SUMMIT SMÅLAND is the architecture of system change. What are the ecological, social and economic challenges we are facing? What is the shape of the sustainable society?

Claes Caldenby, professor of architectural theory and history at Chalmers University of Technology (SWE) THE ARCHITECTURE OF NECESSITY AND THE SYSTEM CHANGE

Per-Olof Östergren, professor of social medicine at Lund University  (SWE) HOW DOES SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT LOOK?

Christer Sanne, social researcher and writer, M.Sc. and Ph.D (SWE) CREATING A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY REQUIRES POLITICAL COURAGE

Andreas G Gjertsen, Yashar Hanstad, founders of Tyin Tegnestue architects  (NOR) WOOD A DEMOCRATIC MATERIAL

David Jonstad, author, freelance journalist and editor of the climate magazine Effekt, (SWE) THE HUNGRY CITY

Josefin Wangel, PhD in planning and decision analysis and is a researcher at the Division of Environmental Strategies Research at the Royal Institute of Technology (SWE) HOW SUSTAINABLE ARE HAMMARBY SJÖSTAD AND NORRA DJURGÅRDSSTADEN?

We have never seen so much good will in terms of environmental issues. And yet nothing seems to change. Is it possible to have a genuine change within the existing system


The winners present their projects

The concept of the bio-based society is a hot topic, especially seen from a research policy angle. Jan Lagerström (SWE) is research director at the Swedish forest industries. Leif Gustavsson (SWE) is a professor of structural engineering at Linnaeus University in Växjö. Per-Erik Eriksson (SWE) is head of the section Building and Housing at SP Wood Technology.

Jim Taggart, architect from the University of Sheffield, UK  (CAN) TOWARDS A WOODEN ARCHITECTURE. This lecture will be in English.

Sadie Morgan, architect from the Royal College of Arts and one of the founders of the international architectural firm dRMM (GBR) ENGINEERED TIMBER
This lecture will be in English.

Stefan Behnisch one of Germany's most renowned architects (GER) POSSIBLE STRATEGIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE. This lecture will be in English.


You can use this form (the second page in English) or link for registration.

Monday, May 6, 2013

WOOD 2013 and the Architecture of Necessity are now open

98 selected projects are exhibited

You find the list of exhibited projects here.

The jury has given a certain priority to built projects, considering the well-known “implementation deficit” in sustainable building. The jury also would have liked to see more contributions on upgrading of housing estates from the 1960s and 1970s around the world, a highly pressing issue in the near future. Projects which propose sharing of resources in the form of co-housing would also have been welcome.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The jury-meeting at Virserum Art Museum

The jury held its meeting in Virserum on 26th April.

The members of the jury are:

Claes Caldenby (SWE): professor in architectural theory and history at Chalmers Technical College, chair of the jury.
Sadie Morgan (UK): founding party of dRMM architects and well known guest speaker and frequent jury member.
Katarina Pelin (SWE): environmental director, the city of Malmö
Mohamed El Sioufi (KEN): coordinator, Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch, UN-HABITAT 
TYIN tegnestue architects (NOR): awarded in the Architecture of Necessity in 2010 among other awards. They could not be present in Virserum but took part in the decisions.

The exhibition WOOD 2013 and the Architecture of Necessity opens on May 5th. 100 projects are showcased from 30 countires. The winners and honorary mentionings will be announced at WOOD SUMMIT Småland 26-27th June.

You can find a programme on the blog, and it will be updated next week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweden’s biggest wood products company Setra joins WOOD 2013 as a gold partner.

–Separate worlds become stronger when creating together. 

Sweden’s biggest wood products company Setra joins WOOD 2013 as a gold partner. Olle Berg is their Market and Business Development Director:

Why is Setra supporting WOOD 2013? Good practices should be continued. Few organisations are as capable of communicating the possibilities of wood for a sustainable society as Virserum Art Museum. The Art Museum links sustainability with architecture and the technical challenges of construction. It’s about the development of ideas. Separate worlds become stronger when creating together. We want to take part in that process. 

What is of special importance to Setra? We do not only saw and process timber. We produce glue-laminates and operate two factories for industrial house production via our daughter company Plusshus. Naturally we wish to highlight the possibilities of industrial construction. More homes need to be built and they have to be affordable.

What importance can wood have for architecture? I am not convinced that all architects and developers have grasped the inherent possibilities of wood. It’s a long-term sustainable material in more ways than one. Consider glue-laminates, for example — I believe the exhibition on the world’s premier wood architecture at WOOD 2013 will be a great source of inspiration. Design and construction will also meet during the glue-laminate challenge, where students from across Scandinavia create buildings using this material on and around the Art Museum grounds.

What challenges are we facing? The international financial crisis has hit the wood products industry extremely hard. But it has also forced us to be open to new possibilities. We need to keep developing the industry and our products. Our initiative to join as a gold partner is part of this process. And last but not least, Sweden will have to start building enough homes to house all our citizens, young and old!

For further information, please contact:
Lotta Löwhagen Lundberg, 0046 8 705 03 17 eller 0046 70 654 13 44,

Tyin visits WOOD SUMMIT Småland

–We want to highlight the democratic value of wood
TYIN tegnestue Architects participated in the Architecture of Necessity in 2010. This year they are on the jury and visits Wood Summit Småland 26-27 june. Andreas G Gjertsen, architect and partner TYIN:

What significance do you think that the Architecture of Necessity has for the development of architecture?
We’ve noticed a positive development of what’s important for young architects. The focus has shifted from physical conditions and economy to mankind’s different needs. The Architecture of Necessity brings relevance to this development in a wider spectra of the architectural debate. And this could be the tipping point, whether the development is
just a trend or if it will change the task of architecture in the future.

What aspect of the Architecture of Necessity manifesto is the most immediate to you right now? 
I would say diligent. It’s more and more common to choose wood in building constructions. Especially in Scandinavia. By innovate thinking and experimentation with the use of wood, in both constructions and other building components, the material has gained confidence among architects and builders. Because of the many benefits of wood, it could serve
as a competitive material to the steel and concrete industry. Wood can be used in many different forms and also meet different needs, in everything from constructions to isolation materials. Without causing to much complication, a lot of these products have superior environmental benefits. With enhanced understanding and knowledge of the material, wood could also provide us with functions that so far is stipulated by steel and concrete.

Wood Summit Småland 2013 will focus on the challenges the world is facing and how architecture and wood can contribute to a sustainable world. What question would you like to raise on that subject? 
We want to highlight the democratic value of wood. Most people “understand” wood. Almost everyone can participate in designing with wood and the material is relatively easy to change over time. This will lead to an architecture that can handle constant change and meet new requirements in the future.

Virserum Art Museum is looking for examples of –wood architecture of the future –the world’s premier wood architecture

Over the past year the expression “the bio-based society” has grown in use. The notion that the future has to be frugal with resources and bio-based is not difficult to agree with. But what will it look like? We must create visions and future scenarios beyond the status quo. Our survival will depend upon a paradigm shift. When we create visions of the sustainable society we increase our knowledge, whilst raising questions that we have to begin to address. Once we seek answers, the future will commence. It is product development for a sustainable society. Science, design and communication in one.
The Architecture of Necessity extends deadline!
WOOD 2013 is Northern Europe’s biggest exhibition on wood and sustainability. Entries are currently being accepted for the Architecture of Necessity, an international triennial for sustainable society building. Due to increased demand, the deadline for submitting material has been extended to 22 March 2013.

We need more examples of the world’s premier wood architecture!
Alongside the Architecture of Necessity, the exhibition will present cutting edge wood architecture from across the world. Virserum Art Museum will accept all entries for large and small projects that stand out from the crowd. We are especially interested in a dynamic relationship between construction and design.

We need more examples of the wood architecture of the future – organic high tech and the bio-based society
What form will a wooden house take in forty years’ time, when raw materials are scarce? We aim to present ideas, play, research and ambitious attempts in the field of organic high tech. Wood as an engineering material will get a new meaning in the future, beyond the cut off and pruned fibres. The industrial and scientific epoch that began in the 19th century – the age of mechanics – is now being replaced by a new era where ideas as well as control facilities allow for the organic growth of resources in a way we’ve never experienced before. We are looking for examples of biomimetics, cultured architectural details, houses without metal, bio-based construction and community building, intelligent production processes, buildings cast in fibre, bio-composites, how bio-materials will replace non-renewable resources in all aspects of society, and so on and so forth.
Carolina Jonsson, Assistant producer,, 0046 495 315 36
Madelene Karlsson, Project secretary,, 0046 495 315 37