NEAT houses take out the competition in Canberra

Four bold and progressive ideas for alternative housing options in Canberra have been unanimously selected as the winners of the New Experimental Architectural Typologies (NEAT) competition.

The collaborative competition – a joint venture between the Australian Institute of Architects, Land Development Agency, Environment and Planning Directorate, and Defence Housing Australia – invited entrants to come up with viable concepts for innovative and compact dwellings suitable for the nation’s capital in the 21st Century while also challenging current planning rules.

Simon Corbell, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro, presented the first prize to Melinda Dodson for her submission, Hi House – a scheme offering vertically organised flexible housing that can be adapted over time with elevated external spaces that can service both private and communal possibilities.

‘This is an intelligent and sophisticated look at higher density in Canberra; an approach which questions prevailing attitudes while providing a sensitive and thoughtful alternative,’ the jury noted.

Rob Henry was awarded second prize for his proposal which challenged various Territory planning standards by submerging private open space into sunken courtyards and living areas below ground to maximise green spaces over dwellings – supporting the notion of the ‘bush capital’.

Third prize was awarded to Alison Nobbs for FAMILY house and fourth prize was taken home by Kieran McInerney for N.E.A.T STREET.

The prize pool included individual international travel grants worth up to $10,000 and the opportunity for entrants’ submissions to be considered for implementation through the ACT Community Services Directorate and Defence Housing Australia.

Ideas generated through the competition may now provide a tangible basis for the ACT Planning Authority to consider in the drafting of future planning regulations.

The jury, consisting of Alan Morschel, David Sutherland, Alix Kaucz, Kristi Jorgensen and Hoa Luu, shortlisted 11 projects from a total of 61 submissions, with finalists being exhibited as part of Design Canberra from 20 – 23 November.