competition : cascade passivhaus – 100 mile house open ideas competition

a brief introduction to the 100 mile house design competition:

the architecture foundation of bc promotes big ideas that recognize sustainable design, architectural merit and innovation in order to advance the knowledge and practice of the design of sustainable buildings in british columbia.

the afbc invites the participants of this competition to explore, rethink, question and experiment with new ideas that will challenge the concept of the regional house and the way we live.

historically, most houses were constructed as ’100 mile’ houses from caves, sod houses, log cabins and stone houses to the first nations’ indigenous cedar houses, tepees and igloos. people worldwide used whatever available materials were at hand to build shelters for themselves and their families. but is this possible in a modern 21st century city like vancouver?

this competition will challenge all participants to rethink the way we live and select materials, systems and technology that reflect this reality in the world of computers, the internet, facebook, etc…  participants are encouraged to challenge the logic of the present, formulate new questions, and explore variations that will allow new potentials for living.

geographically, we have selected the city of vancouver to be the focus of the competition for the ’100 mile house’. participants are challenged to design a house to accommodate 4 people with a maximum area of 1200 square feet (111 m2) using only materials and systems made/ manufactured / recycled within 100 miles of the city of vancouver. a hypothetical flat, corner site of 33′ x 120′ (10.0 m x 36.6 m) will be used for the context. all city services (water, sewer, storm drain, natural gas and electricity) are available to the property line should the entrant choose to use them.

affordability, while important, is not the focus of this competition. competitors are free to propose any alternatives but the concept of the 100 mile house should equally apply to luxury finishes and products. being environmentally conscious is not always dictated by cost.

similarly, zoning and building bylaws of the city of vancouver are important criteria in reality but again are not the focus of the competition. competitors are not expected to know the bylaws and building codes of a specific area but general construction practice should be demonstrated. the applicability of the solutions to other jurisdictions will be important regardless of minor variances in building codes. it is hoped that necessity, as the mother of invention, will foster/ create prototypes that could be modified and the ideas exported to any geographic area. all submissions should demonstrate the integration of local social, technological, economic and aesthetic sustainability into the final solutions.

this is a global competition. architects, designers, artists, students and other environmentally conscious creators from around the world are encouraged to submit their ideas.


description of cascade passivhaus:

the cascade passivhaus is a 1200 sq.ft. home designed for a family of four. the ground floor comprises of a living space, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom with ensuite. the upper floor contains two bedrooms, a bathroom and a playroom in the center. the playroom opens onto a south-facing sundeck for private use. An exterior staircase along the north side allows access to the roof deck. the decks are protected with high-albedo waterproofing and decking for summer use or can be finished with an intensive green roof to further reduce storm water run-off and heat island effect.

in designing, the focus was to eliminate any unnecessary items that can be mitigated by natural alternatives, such as ventilation that is provided naturally by opening window/doors; heating harnessed by the sun; and lighting by the use of solar-powered led-s. the ground floor is raised and supported on individual concrete pillars to reduce the amount of concrete used (typically with footing & foundation wall systems). the open space under the house allows for air movement, as well as, a reflecting pool/water feature on the west side of the house acts as a cooling agent. rainwater is harvested and stored under the house; once filtered, it can be used in all non-potable plumbing fixtures (clothes washing, dishwasher, shower) and landscape irrigation. using materials from the existing deconstructed house and reclaimed hydro poles which will provide the necessary structural frame for the house. In keeping energy-efficient, it will be built with passivhaus building standards.

now that the competition is over, this design is available for further design. if you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact david kominek of drkdesign at 604.928.6036.


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