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The VELUX Company has played an influential role in providing realistic solutions to meeting space demands in housing. We are now inviting readers of The Architects' Journal to submit drawings making creative use of light, air and space.

There will be a total prize fund of £15,000 for the most imaginative ideas, the best of which will go forward to an open exhibition at the Building Centre in London.

The competition, open to all qualified architects and students in the UK and Ireland, will run from 16 March to 11 June 1998. This is an ideas competition, and will be based on the design of a flexible family home making the optimum use of space.

The theory that space and light have positive psychological, health and energysaving benefits is well documented. Studies in the US have shown that exposure to full-spectrum light results in less truancy, better dental health, increased concentration levels, as well as encouraging more positive moods. Extending these benefits to the home can have other advantages for the family and encourage the highest design quality. Reducing energy use is another driving force behind residential design, and surveys consistently confirm residents' demands for more living space.

The continuing growth of the population places new challenges on our housing stock - more homes are needed and with a greater diversity of usage. As demographics and social behaviour change, questions are raised about how to design our homes to sustain the 'occasional' family which continuously changes in size and age profile, and how to find the balance between projected demand for housing and satisfying the environmental lobby.

'Lifetime' housing - the concept of a cradle-to-grave house equipped for various adaptations throughout its life - will require designers to look not only at the immediate use of property at the design stage but also at future uses. VELUX believes that lifetime housing is an attractive proposition to the consumer, developers and the environmental lobby alike.

VVELUX/AJ competition CRITERIA Submissions will be judged on the following areas: a flexible approach to construction taking into account the lifetime use of the building aesthetic appearance and the most imaginative use of space optimise the use of light and encourage energy savings sustainability and cost effectiveness reduction of environmental impact.

PRIZES Winner: £7500 Runner-up £4500 Third £3000

JUDGES Chairman: Paul Finch, editor, The Architects' Journal David Rock, president of the RIBA Duncan Stewart, architect, lecturer and television presenter Richard Parnaby, president of the Royal Society Of Architects in Wales Jonathan Falkingham, owner of Urban Splash David Briggs, general manager of the VELUX Company Ltd

HOW TO ENTER Entrants are required to submit two A1 coloured drawings showing how an averaged-sized property could look if built to the competition criteria. Entrants are also requested to submit a written summary of no more than 500 words describing the architectural approach, finishes, and a budget estimate. There is no current intention to build the final winning entry.

Full details are available in a special competition pack produced by the VELUX Company. To reserve your copy contact the VELUX 'Lifetime' Housing Design Competition by completing the coupon below, or contact us on 01592 77 22 11 for further details.

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