Urban Adaptation Competition Winners Introduce Ideas for Flexible and Sustainable Urban Construction

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The Urban Adaptation competition challenged architects and students from around the world to design an innovative modular wood design for a public building or a building system that easily adapts to the changing needs of the community. The competition, organised by Metsä Group, Aalto University and the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, proved a success – it received a total of 154 entries from 48 countries! The jury has now spoken, and the winners have been selected.

Too often, buildings are static and focus only on the current needs of the community. They serve the purpose they are designed to serve, but when cities grow, and the needs of the community change, this becomes a problem. It may also be necessary to quickly adapt to changes of lifestyle like the move to working from home. The results of the Urban Adaptation competition show how modular construction using engineered wood products like Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) enables adaptable, sustainable and cost-competitive construction.

“We’ve seen many interesting entries, with sites located across the world, showing how universally applicable a modular wooden system can be,” says Rahel Belatchew, Chief Architect and founder of Belatchew Arkitekter, Sweden. The other member of the jury was Minna Riska, Architect and partner at MDH Arkitekter, Norway.

The entries were evaluated anonymously. In addition to visual and functional criteria, the designs needed to show (1.) adaptability, (2.) modularity and (3.) sustainability. Here are the winners:

  • 1st prize €15,000: S M L XL, by Francesco Allaix and Julio Orduña, Finland
  • 2nd prize: €5,000: Zerno, by Alexandra ChislavlevaSergey Ogorodnikov and Xenia Yakimenko, Russia
  • Honourable mention: Modu-Rot, by Onur KarataşAlp Fahri Ardıç and Muhammed Yasin Gülmez, Turkey

The winning design, S M L XL, introduces a multipurpose building that incorporates 4 different floor heights, allowing different spaces that are optimised for hosting various functions. A huge section variety is combined with an extremely simple plan. The wooden structure’s design combined load-bearing GLVL beams and columns, CLT or LVL panels and Kerto-Ripa® elements.

“S M L XL is a well thought-out proposal that showcases the flexibility of modular wooden construction in relation to a programme that can be adapted over time, making it possible to create an ever-changing programme mix,” says Belatchew.

“We’re delighted to see how much interest the competition received. It’s a great way to spread the understanding of the possibilities of efficient and environmentally friendly construction using engineered wood products,” says Jussi Björman, Director, Business Development, Construction at Metsä Wood.

Visit www.urbanadaptation.com to see the winning designs.