International Essay Competition 2012

International Essay Competition 2012-60
Designed to have a 250-year lifespan, the building was also constucted without the use of common toxic building materials.

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The in-loco program is a "learning-by-doing" experience meant for local and international architecture and construction graduates to improve their skills by aiding in the construction of an extension for the God's Love Orphanage in Maseru.

To the uninitiated, the African continent represents a bleak picture: provincial people, dry landscapes, arcane beliefs, poverty and disease. Most people feel impelled by altruistic responsibility towards it; a responsibility that sometimes arises from an intrinsic presumption of their superior human condition...

Please join us in congratulating the 4 winning Essay Prize entrants, and 5 Travel Fellows!!

These essays and proposals were thoughtful and creative, and they drew superlative comments from the Committee.

Past winners have gone on to publish a book with their winnings, start a similar contest in Romania, and found an NGO in Ghana focused on youth, garnering media attention from the likes of the .

Keep an eye on these rising stars as they continue a tradition of excellence.These students emerged from an ever more outstanding field. It is reassuring to see the deep thought and inquiry all the entrants are investing in the critical the issue of climate reslience. The city is on the United Nations World Heritage Danger List. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT introduced a working concept of “resilient districts” for urban areas that are vulnerable to climate impacts. "Shallow dome roofing" developed by informal masons from a village in northern India have made it possible to reduce use of steel and cement in building construction lowering its carbon footprint. Designed and built by: Avikal Somvanshi and Manu Gopalan, 2012.Built of mud and located in a flood prone area, the city "remains at severe risk of major damage unless necessary preventive measures are taken...[involving] the conservation and use of Shibam oases, which are considered as the buffer zone of the property." Photo credit: Will De Freitas. From the World Heritage listing: "Abandonment of the old agricultural flood management system in the wadi, the overloading of the traditional sanitary systems by the introduction of modern water supply combined with inadequate drainage, together with changes in the livestock management have all contributed to the decay of the city." Photo credit: Twiga_Swala , Rweru Green Village, Rwanda, 2016. Resilient Districts include four central tenets 1) protecting critical infrastructure, 2) thickening regional soft systems, 3) transferring density to less vulnerable areas, and 4) encouraging landscape-based land uses in low laying areas. A fast-track eco-friendly dis-mountable housing prototype that can be used to provide semi-temporary housing post-natural disaster in tropical regions. Designed and built by: Sandeep Virmani and Kiran Vaghela. It is also the first urban infill projects to pursue and to receive a "Living Building" certification from the Interational Living Future Institute.The roof "prow" allows for an extended array of photovoltaic panels allowing the building to produce more electricity then it uses. Photo credit: Brad Kahn ( , Seattle, USA.The Platform helps visualize various distinct elements of the built and natural environment, land use code and policy, in relation to climate risk and vulnerabilities. A 17-unit housing project built using compressed earth blocks.An example of low cost and low carbon footprint housing.Photo credit: Neelakshi Joshi Kompong Khleang, Cambodia. This fishing village sits on the Tonle Sap Lake that historically rises as much as five-fold during the rainy season.This village is a striking example of vernacular flood adaptation, and potentially a model for low-lying areas where climate change is resulting in increased flooding. Houses are built both on stilts and as floating habitats. ( This 16th century city of towers in the Wadi is an outstanding example of density and natural climate control. This is a unique example where a formal architectural project has incorporated incredible innovations taking place outside the professional world to help improve environmental performance of formal construction industry.


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