Hattie Hartman introduces the second part of the shortlist, including those vying for the sustainability award
In this week’s issue, in which we present the remaining 12 projects in the 24-strong shortlist for the AJ Small Projects Awards, supported by Marley Eternit, including the three projects up for our Small Projects Sustainability Award.
This is my third year scouring the AJ Small Projects entries for the most inspiring exemplars of sustainable design. In selecting the shortlist, the emphasis is on the quality of the design and finish achieved on a tight budget. For the sustainability award, we were also looking for great design underpinned, but not undermined, by green thinking.
My predilection has always been that the Small Projects submissions should include a seed-bed of exemplar sustainable projects which would lead me to emerging practitioners at the forefront of green design. Until this year, such expectation had been met with disappointment. Two years ago, it was slim pickings, but there’s good news to report this year - sustainability shines through on numerous projects.
The three projects selected for this year’s sustainability award shortlist have one point in common: single-mindedness: Whimsy pervades Denizen Works’ ‘sledge’ sauna, from the placement of a mirror to the shape of a door handle. Designed so that it can be hauled out on the frozen lake in winter, the sauna incorporates many reclaimed materials and touches the earth lightly. Also shortlisted is NEX’s pavilion of translucent ‘capillaries’ at Kew Gardens, which transforms plants’ cellular structure into a poetic, contemporary interpretation of a garden folly.
And finally, Jonathan Tuckey’s lean approach to design stretches a modest budget to create a spacious, light-filled after-school club, replacing a Portakabin on a tight schoolyard site in Kilburn, north-west London.
It was difficult whittling down the list to those three. This year’s entries represent a quantum leap in affordable, sustainable design. Other contenders included an artist’s studio in Deptford, a bat house in Wales, a bird hide also in Wales and several clever retrofits, of which there were many. You can view the ‘best of the rest’ at AJFootprint.com and in great detail on AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk, where images and drawings of all 156 entries to Small Projects are available to view.
The jury will choose the overall winner of AJ Small Projects 2012, as well as the winner of the sustainability award, after the live crit with me and the judging panel: Moira Gemmill of the V&A, Keith Bradley of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Rider Levett Bucknall’s Mark Weaver, Paul Reed of Marley Eternit and AJ editor Christine Murray. An exhibition of the shortlist will take place at the NLA from 9 February to 10 March.
Hattie Hartman is the AJ’s sustainability editor
Sustainable Small Projects: The Best of the Rest
1. B&Q Terrace, Foster Lomas, Bolton, 2010
2. Casa Miedi Larch Hut, Arboreal Architecture, Umbria, 2011
3. Hoo House, Jerry Tate Architects, Suffolk, 2010
4. The Bat House, Walk Barn Farm, Charles Barclay Architects,
5. Magnificent Container, Hackney City Farm, Carl Turner Architects, London, 2011
For the next two weeks, you can order additional copies of the AJ Small Projects Awards issue with the project cover of your choice. Numbers are limited. Please contact Ashley Powell at 020 7728 4518 for details.