The Urban Adaptation Competition Aims at Flexibility with Modular Wood Construction

Buildings are static. They serve the purpose they have been designed for. But when cities grow and the needs of the community change, this becomes a problem. Modular construction with engineered wood products like Kerto LVL are the solution, because they enable adaptable, sustainable, and cost-competitive designs. It is time to provide solutions to the changing needs of our cities. Time to create an urban adaptation.

THE URBAN ADAPTATION COMPETITION challenges architects and students from around the world to find a way to create multi-purpose buildings that can adapt to the changing needs of urban communities. During the life cycle of a building, requirements can change dramatically due to changes in demography, culture, or politics. A community might need less office space and more kindergartens instead. Or vice versa.

In addition to adaptability, urban construction needs to become more efficient and environmentally friendly. Construction produces over 30% of the global CO2 emissions, but wood does the opposite, it stores carbon. Engineered wood is cost-competitive because it enables fast construction with prefabricated elements and modules.  These elements are flexible and allow designs that are adaptable.

“A wooden structure is easy to adapt to various situations. Wood is adaptable: it is easy to build with, but also dismantle and rebuild according to changing needs,” says Rahel Belatchew, a Swedish architect and a competition jury member.

The competition

The competition is organized by Metsä Group, Aalto University, and the Ministry of the Environment of Finland. The entrants are asked to select a centrally-located empty plot in a city area and develop an innovative modular wood design for a public building or a building system that easily adapts to the changing needs of the community. In addition to visual and functional criteria, the designs need to show (1.) adaptability, (2.) modularity, and (3.) sustainability.

The deadline for competition entries is on 31 December 2020 at 24:00 CET. No preregistration needed.

The first prize of the competition is €15,000 and the second prize is €5,000.

The jury

The jury members are Andrew Scott, a Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rahel Belatchew, Chief architect and founder of Belatchew Arkitekter, Sweden, and Minna Riska, Architect and partner at MDH Arkitekter, Norway.

The winners will be announced in February 2021.

“Engineered wood enables construction which is both efficient and environmentally friendly. I am looking forward to new innovative designs which take into account the entire life cycle,” says Ilkka Hämälä, CEO of Metsä Group.

We need to find a way to create multi-purpose buildings which can adapt to the changing needs of the community.

We need urban adaptation.

For more information about the competition visit www.urbanadaptation.com.

Source: HELSINKI, Sept. 1, 2020, PRNewswire. The image is courtesy of Metsä Group.

About the author

Aarni Heiskanen

Aarni Heiskanen, Construction Innovation Agent, is hailed as a Top 100 influencer in construction. Aarni has been a pioneer in computer-aided design, he has co-founded a business software company, and worked as a certified management consultant. He runs AE Partners, an innovation and strategy consultancy. Aarni holds a master's degree in architecture.


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