“NEXT BIG ONE” – the 2014 disaster resiliency project organized by Architecture for Humanity Vancouver – raises awareness on the high-magnitude earthquake and tsunami event – The “Next Big One” – that plagues cities around the world.  The challenge of the single-stage open-ideas competition was to propose an innovative design solution that can mitigate natural disasters while simultaneously providing community permanence.



Friday, October 31st, 2014

NEXT BIG ONE judges, Susan Gushe and Doug Smith, will be speaking to Gloria Macarenko about the competition on CBC Radio’s “On the Coast” this afternoon at 3:40PM. Tune in here: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/

Thursday, November 27th, 2014
Listen to recording of the interview here:


Friday, October 31st, 2014

Architecture for Humanity Vancouver’s “NEXT BIG ONE – An International Open Ideas Competition” raises awareness on the high-magnitude earthquake and tsunami events that plague cities around the world. The competition received entries from every continent (except for Antarctica).

Designers were faced with a challenge to propose an innovative design solution that can mitigate natural disasters while simultaneously providing community permanence. Our judges, Stephen Cassell, Susan Gushe, Eileen Keenan, David Scott and Doug Smith, convened on October 25th to evaluate the entries. In the end, a Design Professional team was awarded the Design Professionals Award of CAD$3000, and a Student team was awarded the Bing Thom Emerging Designers Award of CAD$1500. Three Honorable Mentions from each category were recognized also for the merit of their intervention and for their contribution to the discussion on designing for disasters.


The Bing Thom Emerging Designers Award

Yoshihiro Kaneko
Tokyo, Japan
This solution exposes and reinforces the history and culture of its site, integrating well into its existing urban fabric. The judges appreciate the simplicity of this passive, low-tech and robust solution. Shown deployed in different configurations, this solution chooses to embrace the effects of the disaster in a way that softens the disaster impact rather than confronting it head-on.

Emerging Designers Honorable Mention

Felix Cheong
Toronto, Canada
The judges appreciated the seductive and beautiful presentation of this entry. The modular solution responds to multiple issues: wave energy, water desalination, landslide prevention. However, its beauty at the micro scale undermines the beauty of the natural landscape at the macro scale. The entry would benefit from further development on how the intervention can be deployed in the natural environment in a more respectful manner.

Emerging Designers Honorable Mention

AQUA-ESTATE (626536)
Jakub Senkowski, Agata Palach, Monika Chrapczynska, Teodor Michalski Katarzyna Klimasz
Krakow, Poland
The judges felt that this entry was innovative in its form and technicality, and that this speculative technology can contribute to a greater social benefit. The judges also appreciated its use of biomimicry in its self-assembly response to the Next Big One, as demonstrated in its very successful and well-conveyed video presentation. While the judges commended the entry for its originality, they felt it lacked practicality as individual dwellings, but could envisage its application in an alternate, communal use.

Emerging Designers Honorable Mention

LOST LAGOON (626539)
Marina Polets, Irola Andoni, Karolina Wieja, Dariusz Dziwak Adam Mierzwa, Jan Borowicz, Karen Foo, Wiktoria Wesolowska
Krakow, Poland
An innovative design in its utilization of biomimicry, the judges appreciated this entry for its functionality before, during and after the Next Big One. The judges also saw potential in its realistic application in preparation for sea level rise. However, considering the overall comprehensive picture, this entry remains theoretical


Design Professional Award

ECO-FORT (626128)
Grant C. LaBossiere, Joseph G. Orobia
Winnipeg, Canada
This entry addresses resiliency at the macro scale using passive means to remediate habitats and mitigate disasters. This entry demonstrated that the repairing of the existing ecological system, regenerating the waterfront, would benefit the city at multiple scales of economies. Rather than relying on new technology, the success of this entry lies in its use of the infrastructure of nature, which has proven to be resilient. Furthermore, the judges felt that this proposal was comprehensive and articulate, and that the design was clear, simple and intuitive.

Design Professional Honorable Mention

Alejandro Iglesias, Enrique Martin
Madrid, Spain
The judges admired and enjoyed the whimsical nature of this idea, which was graphically represented in a complementary manner that reinforced this sensibility. The playfulness and legibility of the idea provided a futuristic vision that was delightful.

Design Professional Honorable Mention

Andrea Pauletich, Stephano Cova, Caterina Spangher
Trieste, Italy
This entry proposes a practical and intuitive solution that has the potential for implementation in cities around the world. Its focus on the potential for large civic facilities to serve dual purpose in the event of a natural disaster has been recently tested in the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The judges felt that this proposal could be strengthened if the nature of the post-disaster infrastructure which allowed for the adaptive re-use of the arena was further developed either as part of a new design or as a retrofit strategy.

Design Professional Honorable Mention

Daniela Sánchez Sáez, Albert Castejón
Barcelona, Spain
This complex and layered solution addresses the difficult concept of managed relocated and retreat at a large urban scale. The judges appreciated the depth of the proposal and its firm commitment to dealing with the actual parameters of this particular setting. A hopeful and evolutionary design, the judges also particularly enjoyed the poeticism of the envisaged experiences of the environment before and after the Next Big One.