A DAtE with Disaster: Design Against the Elements 2011 Winner is Announced

In the architectural and design industries there are some really great results that come out of, unfortunately, natural disasters. Although these new designs will be beneficial in the future why do we wait for a catastrophic event before we design for what could happen? We do have to learn from the past, but is there any way possible to design for the future at the same time?

A competition that is geared toward answering the question of what could have been designed differently and better while taking into consideration tomorrow’s economy, trials and unforeseen misfortunes is the Design Against the Elements (DAtE) competition.

DAtE is a global architectural competition meant to find solutions to the problems occurring due to climate change.

“Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth’s global climate or regional climates over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. Changes may be driven by internal processes, external forces or, most recently, by human activities.”

This is the third competition of its kind all originating in the Philippines with the latest winner being announced in early 2011.

DAtE is a partnership of the City of Quezon City, Climate Change Commission, MyShelter Foundation, United Architects of the Philippines, and Philippine White Helmets. It is sponsored and media partnered with many organizations:  San Miguel Properties, DigiScript Philippines Inc., Bigtop Media Productions Inc., Sixdegrees, Red Media, FXBdesign, National Geographic, Arkitektura, Greek Architects, AR, NGN, and EcoSeed.

The first competition was in 1976 and it was called Manila-Tondo Foreshore International Architectural Competition. It was a competition to move 17,000 families and to consider their jobs, homes, lifestyles, and incomes. The winner was Ian Athfield from New Zealand.

The second competition was in 2007-2008, called The Millenium Schools Competition. This was to design a sustainable and disaster resistant school. The winner was a bamboo school by architect, Eleena Jamil from Malaysia.

The final competition took place throughout 2010 with final judging being held on January 13, 2011. It was a demand for a response to Typhoon Ketsana that hit there in 2009 and will be the first low-cost, climate change-resilient and disaster-resilient housing community once completed.

The competition was split into two categories: Professional and Student. The winner in the Professional category was The Winter Office in Denmark with its bamboo community living with a core of structural, electrical and mechanical elements to keep the residents safe in a time of natural emergency, also the bamboo can be easily replaced or the building easily rebuilt if necessary. The winner in the student category was Dao Thanh Hai from Vietnam.

The criteria that the competitors had to meet were in the categories of:

  • Disaster Resiliency
  • Innovative Construction Technology
  • Socio-Economic Sustainability
  • Sustainability of the Community
  • Cost Effectiveness
  • Adaptability to Other Sites

DAtE’s competition is a valuable contributor to natural disaster relief and perhaps the future of sustainable and safe design. It is a program that is looking for solutions to past occurrences and meeting future necessity while balancing environmentally friendly designs with advanced architectural technologies.

Resources: World Architecture News, Competitions, ArchDaily, Inhabitat and Design Against the Elements