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XIV World Forest Congress 2015

TREEHOUSING International Wood Design Competition

Housing for the world’s growing urban population and the threat of deforestation are two of the most significant issues facing humanity today. The TREEHOUSING wood design competition challenged architecture students, professional architects and designers to develop innovative and sustainable wood housing and urban building solutions.

There were two open categories:

  • Category 1 - TREEHOUSING DURBAN: Tall Wood Housing
  • Category 2 - TREEHOUSING GLOBAL: Affordable Wood Housing

More than 200 projects by teams from 60 countries were submitted for the contest, which was jointly organized by the Canada-based DBR | Design Build Research School and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Winning entries

The Grand Prize winner of  Category 1 -  TREEHOUSING DURBAN: Tall Wood Housing was tied between two entrants: architecture student Ayla Harvey (South Africa) for her community ‘Jungle Gym’, praised by the jury for capturing the dynamic spirit of urban life, and Koura Studios and ARUP Seattle (USA) for their ‘Nkosi Market’, which the jury said showed good understanding of South African forestry and forestry products.

The Student Award in the category went to STark (France/Germany), for ‘The Social Net Wood’, which the jury considered “entirely buildable”.


Category 2 - TREEHOUSING GLOBAL: Affordable Wood Housing challenged applicants to design affordable wood housing for a site anywhere in the world, although dealing with issues specific to the African continent was encouraged because of the location of this year’s World Forestry Congress. 

The Grand Prize winner of this category went to architects Shosholoza and Friends (Italy) for their design ‘(HOUSE)TREE(WORK)’, imagined for a sustainable rural community site in Ethiopia and praised by the jury for its clarity and simplicity.  Second prize went to A.gor.a architects (Thailand) for their ‘Temporary Dormitories for Mae Tao Clinic’ in Thailand, commended for its practical affordability, and the student prize was awarded to Monika Wozniak (Poland) for her ‘Natural Wood Skin’, a design for Hong Kong that the jury appreciated for its ambitious large tower formats.

Click to view the photo gallery: winning entries and press release.

Jury and prizes

Winners were selected by an international jury and announced on September 10, 2015 at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa. The jury was led by Canadian architect Michael Green, who is known for his research, leadership and advocacy in promoting the use of wood. Green founded Michael Green Architecture (MGA) to focus on progressive architecture, research, education and innovation and is author of The Case for Tall Wood Buildings, which introduces wood as a major opportunity for systematic change in the building industry. 
A first prize of $6,000 USD was awarded in each category, in addition to second and student prizes. 

For more information, please download the competition PDF or visit www.treehousing-competition.com.

This ideas competition is coordinated by DBR | Design Build Research School with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.