Campus for Design and Art

1st prize and student award at the international Microhome competition

The two prizes, worth a total of €6,000, go to the outstanding design "Building bridges" by Luisa Herzog, Lukas Kunze, Luca Ligotti and Malte Terboven from the Architecture course, supervised by Prof. Petra Riegler-Floors, Department of Circular Building, Construction and Materials.

Architecture students at Trier University of Applied Sciences Luisa Herzog, Lukas Kunze, Luca Ligotti and Malte Terboven impress the renowned international jury - including Patrick Schumacher, Corporate Director at Zaha Hadid Architects and Anne Cecilie Haug, senior architect and member of the research and innovation team at Snøhetta - with their design "BUILDING BRIDGES" at the sixth edition of the annual architecture competition "Microhome" and win both 1st prize and the Student Award. The competition is aimed at students and professional architecture firms, with the 2nd prize going to a firm from Singapore.

The work proposes a solution of temporary hostels for refugees, which are positioned along the global refugee routes - which can certainly be understood as a political statement. The design almost casually solves the challenges of the task, such as adapting to a wide variety of building sites, the recyclability of the building materials, which are largely generated from waste, the dismantlability of the construction, the easy transportability of the modules and the self-sufficient supply of water and energy.

Refugee routes exist all over the world, as many people are forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution, hunger and poverty as well as the effects of climate change. The waste disposal routes follow the same course as the refugee routes, but in the opposite direction. This creates zones where local resources can be used to create living spaces for refugees.

Bridges are created by combining several individual microhomes. The joint construction of living spaces not only overcomes topographical obstacles, but also creates a social cohesion in which refugees find comfort, mutual help and the opportunity to build their lives with a new sense of purpose and collective strength. All of this reduces constant fear by providing a safe place during the journey. Topographies and climates are different everywhere and bring different challenges. Only the bridge, as an architectural marvel that provides a seamless connection between the different landscapes, can withstand these challenges. With their ability to span rivers, valleys and even deep gorges, they can not only provide a safe haven, but also allow for easy crossing on the perilous journey.

The reuse of materials, where resources are kept in circulation for as long as possible through recycling or reuse, has great potential to combat climate change and create a more sustainable future. Existing waste from industrialized countries is transported to emerging economies around the world and dumped there. In line with the concept of urban mining, which describes the recovery of valuable resources and materials from existing urban structures, materials and waste are recycled. One example of the recycling of materials/waste is the cork insulation board, which is made from the waste product of wine corks, and the Tuff-roof made from Tetra Pak. In this way, new construction products are made from waste products that would otherwise end up as landfill.

Modular systems of small closed units, which are divided into a grid of 1.20m x 1.20m, together form complex structures that can still be easily assembled, disassembled or replaced. This has the advantage of making the process more efficient, transportation easier and construction time shorter, resulting in a more economical and easier way for local NGOs to help refugees in different locations. One truckload contains all the modules and materials for a microhome.

Self-sufficient living is made possible by an independent electricity and water supply, with solar cells on the roof generating the electricity and fog collectors filtering the moisture from the fog and feeding rainwater from the roof into the water tank. A Nutrient Harvester toilet converts wastewater into nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used for gardening and growing food.

Feedback from the jury:
"Building Bridges is a MICROHOME planned for construction along a refugee migration route. 'Bridges' of connected cabins are created over time as multiple homes are built adjacent to one another. The project is aspirational in its ambition to function as a means for community building, in a space that is environmentally harsh, culturally mixed and transient. The proposed construction is a modular system of recycled materials fully transportable in a single truck."

Francesca Perani / Buildner guest jury

“The design encompasses not only a multi-module self-sufficiency system tailored to assist vulnerable residents in need of evacuation routes but also establishes an architectural framework where mutual assistance plays a pivotal role in rebuilding new lives.”

Anne Cecilie Haug / Buildner guest jury

“The project shows flexibility when it comes to site adaption and the number of units, and it represents a solution to a very difficult task. The use of waste materials to build it could also solve other challenges. The focus on safe outdoor spaces and compact living, vivid renderings and explanatory graphics stood out.”

The international jury at Buildner was made up of the following people:
Sevince Bayrak, architect, writer and co-founder of SO? Sarah Broadstock, architect at London-based studio Bark; Anne Cecilie Haug, head of HR, senior architect and member of the research and innovation team at Snøhetta; Gavin Hale-Brown, director of London-based Henley Hale-Brown; Norihisa Kawashima, founder and director of Nori Architects in Japan; Francesca Perani, founder of Francesca Perani Enterprise in Bergamo, Italy, and co-founder of the activist project RebelArchitette; Todd Saunders, founder of Saunders Architecture in Bergen, Norway; Patrik Schumacher, Corporate Director at Zaha Hadid Architects; and Lei Zheng, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects.

MICROHOME is the sixth edition of an annual architecture competition launched as part of the Buildner's Small-Scale Architecture series and in collaboration with ARCHHIVE BOOKS publications. As the affordable housing crisis spreads to cities around the world and natural resources dwindle in the face of climate and economic crises, the competition seeks sustainable ideas for small-scale living that better fits our changing world. The MICROHOME competition series invites participants to submit designs for an off-grid, modular structure that can house a hypothetical young professional couple. The only stipulation for the project is that the total floor area must not exceed 25 square meters. Participants are encouraged to rethink the spatial organization and incorporate unique aesthetics, new technologies and innovative materials. The projects can be realized at any location, in any size and anywhere in the world.





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