AFH announce Open Architecture winners

Wednesday 09 Sep 2009

The future of classroom design revealed

Teton Valley Community School in Victor, Idaho and Section Eight [design] have been announced as the winners in Architecture for Humanity's Open Architecture: Classrooms competition for 2009. An emerging practice, Section Eight [design] partnered with Teton Valley Community School to design the classroom of the future. Currently based out of a remodeled house, students at Teton Valley Community School will now receive up to $50,000 in funding for classroom construction and upgrading and a grant of $5,000 to help them do it.

Cindy Riegel, President of the School Board said, “We are thrilled. The evolution of Section Eight’s classroom design for the Teton Valley Community School was a truly collaborative process involving students, parents, teachers, and community members. It exemplifies the school’s philosophy of real world learning and community engagement.”

AFH held the competition in collaboration with Orient Global and a consortium of other partners around the world to raise awareness of the need safe, sustainable and smart classroom design due to the 776 million people worldwide who are illiterate. In addition, tens of millions of crumbling classrooms including in the developed world are in urgent need of upgrading. "Meeting this demand for better learning environments will constitute the largest building project the world has ever undertaken," they advise.

Collectively more than 10,000 individuals participated in this global initiative. More than 1,000 design teams from 65 countries registered for the competition and the winning design was selected from more than 400 qualified entries by a team of interdisciplinary online jurors. Each design was rated on feasibility, sustainability, and innovation in the learning environment.

“The response to the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge has been remarkable. It has clearly captured people’s imagination,” said Richard F. Chandler, Chairman of Orient Global. “We congratulate the winning teams and everyone who took part in this international effort."

In addition to the overall winner, the competition recognized entries in each of three competition categories: best urban classroom upgrade design, best rural classroom design and best re-locatable classroom design. Three building partners, Rumi Schools of Excellence in India, Building Tomorrow in Uganda and Blazer Industries with The Modular Building Institute in the United States have committed to build classrooms based on these designs.

The Founders Award was awarded to the entry that best exemplifies the aims of Architecture for Humanity and the Open Architecture Network, in this case The Corporación Educativa y Social Waldorf in Bogota, Colombia by Arquitectura Justa were awarded for their integrated approach to providing safe spaces for students to learn and play.

Competition finalists will also receive awards, including AutoCAD Revit 2009, Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010, Autodesk 3DSMax 9 and a selection of other design applications.

All the design solutions are now available on the Open Architecture Network for designers and school administrators to learn from and adapt to their own context. An international traveling exhibition of the winning designs and notable entries is set to launch in the autumn.

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