A clutch of up-and-coming practices including Alma-nac and Fisher Cheng are in the running for the Architects Journal/James Hardie House of Colour contest to design an innovative playhouse on a Berkeley Homes site.
They are joined by ’experimental architecture office’ IJP Architects, newcomer Adam Joyce – who is currently working at AECOM – AJ100 big hitter EPR Architects and Clerkenwell-based ALEKSA Studio, which was set up in 2014 by Bartlett tutor Aleksandrina Rizova.
The contest, which was free to enter and open to all UK-based architects, is being run by building materials firm James Hardie and the AJ in association with developer Berkeley Group and received more than 50 entries.
Entrants were asked to come up with concept designs for a £15,000 playhouse or set of playhouses which will appeal to children while also showcasing potential future colour trends in residential design.
James Hardie and Berkeley will look to build the design in HardiePlank® fibre cement cladding at Green Park Village, a major residential scheme being developed in Reading by St Edward, part of the Berkeley Group.
Shortlist in full
The judging panel includes aLL Design director Will Alsop, Matthew Biddle, managing director at Berkeley Homes (Western), German light and sound artist Hans Peter Kuhn, Caroline Thomas, senior structural engineer at Arup, and Karen Ogden, UK & Nordics marketing manager at James Hardie.
The final judging day will be held on 29 September with each of the shortlisted practices receiving a £1,000 honorarium for their time.
Should the winning design be built, the winner will receive an additional £2,500 to work up and deliver their design on a one-off basis.
The victorious design will also appear online and in an AJ issue in the autumn.
James Hardie is keen for the contest to explore colour trends which could also apply to the residential market.
Will Hurst, AJ managing editor and the remaining member of the judging panel, commended the strength of the shortlist.
‘We had a superb response to this competition from both established and up-and-coming practices so being down to the last six is no mean feat,’ he said.
’While imagination and design flair are key elements of the competition, there are also practical issues to be tackled given the real build project on the horizon.
’It’s for this reason that judges would like those on the shortlist to further consider the buildability of their concept designs alongside other factors such as safety and the British weather prior to the final judging session in September.
’We will be writing to them to provide more detail on this and wish them all the best of luck.’