Building for tomorrow not today A

LEAF Review spotlights the three winning designs from The Urban Adaptation competition to fi nd out how, and why, architects can innovate and design for the communities of tomorrow.

s the pandemic rumbles on, so do conversations in architectural firms about how

to design smarter buildings that anticipate the challenges of the future. Too often such projects are treated as static entities, fixed, immovable projects that solve a brief rather than the future needs of the surrounding community.

The Urban Adaptation competition challenged architects and students from around the world to create an innovative modular wood design for a public building or a building system that easily adapts to the changing needs of the community. The competition, organised by Metsä Group, Aalto University and the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, received a total of 154 entries from 48 different countries.

ModuRot The third place design, by Onur Karata, Alp Fahri Ardıç and Muhammed Yasin Gülmez, reimagines the conventional concrete high-rise found in Ankara, Turkey, instead offering an adaptable wooden building that can be used as pre-determined plan types of housing, co-working and public served community classes – as well as private enterprises.

These submissions all aim to show how modular construction using engineered wood products like Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) enables adaptable, sustainable and cost- competitive construction. “We’ve seen many interesting entries, with sites located across the world, showing how universally applicable a modular wooden system can be,” said Rahel Belatchew, Chief Architect and founder of Belatchew Arkitekter, Sweden. The other member of the jury was Minna Riska, Architect and partner at MDH Arkitekter, Norway. The winning design, S M L XL, submitted by Finnish duo Francesco Allaix and Julio Orduña, introduces a multipurpose building that incorporates


four different floor heights, allowing different spaces that are optimised for hosting various functions. The project is designed for a new community centre located at the intersection of three neighbourhoods, just a few kilometres north of Helsinki’s city centre. A huge section variety is combined with an extremely simple plan. The wooden structure’s design combined load- bearing GLVL beams and columns, CLT or LVL panels and Kerto-Ripa elements. “S M L XL is a well thought-out proposal that showcases the flexibility of modular wooden construction in relation to a programme that can be adapted over time, making it possible to create an ever-changing programme mix,” says Belatchew. “We’re delighted to see how much interest the competition received. It’s a great way to spread the understanding of the possibilities of efficient and environmentally friendly construction using engineered wood products,” says Jussi Björman, director, business development, construction at Metsä Wood.

Planting design seeds In second place, a project by Alexandra Chislavleva, Sergey Ogorodnikov and Xenia Yakimenko, entitled ZERNO (meaning plant seed in Russian) that reimagines a process of village deconstruction in Russia by taking inspiration from the dandelion cycle. Like all things, ZERNO begins with

“germination”: the body of structure is transported to the chosen location and


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