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The Davidson Prize launches 2024 brief for £25K design ideas competition

The Davidson Prize is calling for inventive solutions to address the housing shortage in the context of climate change.

The theme of this year’s £25,000 Davidson Prize is Rethinking Home – Adapt and Reuse. The brief is asking multidisciplinary collaborative teams to consider how exciting and different new homes can be created from recycling, retrofitting or ‘mining’ existing structures and/or waste building materials.

Established in 2020, The Davidson Prize is a design ideas competition that exists to promote compelling design and visual communication around the theme of home. The competition is open to creative teams that include an architect registered with ARB (UK) or RIAI (Ireland).

The urgent imperatives of climate change and housing shortage are demanding an ambitious rethink of what an ideal home might be. In 2023 the Centre for Cities calculated that in Britain alone the backlog of homes stands at 4.3 million – that’s equivalent to 14 medium-sized cities. But at the same time networks such as the UK Green Building Council are pointing out that approximately 80 per cent of the buildings that will be operating in 2050 have already been built.

It’s clear that to achieve net zero while bridging the gap between housing demand and supply, the adaptive reuse of existing structures will be an important part of the solution. But what will the adapted and recycled ideal homes of tomorrow look and feel like? And how will emerging bio-based materials affect the design and spaces of our living environments and neighbourhoods?

Creative teams are being asked to choose any existing non-residential structure/s in the UK or Ireland – from a disused farm building to a high street, an office block to an oil rig – to explore how it could be upcycled, retrofitted and/or mined to provide exemplary sustainable housing for a minimum of five homes.

With the housing shortage disproportionately affecting ‘generation rent’ – the eco-conscious Gen Z and Millennials priced out of the housing market – the 2024 Davidson Prize is asking teams to engage particularly with the housing ideals of people in their early 20s to early 40s.

The Alan Davidson Foundation is delighted to announce that architect and urban designer Amandeep Singh Kalra (Associate Director at Be First) will be chairing this year’s judging panel. Amandeep will be joined by architects Annalie Riches (Co-founder of Mikhail Riches) and Alexander Turner (Co-Founder of Studio MUTT), representing the winning team of the 2023 Davidson Prize. The jury is completed by engineer Duncan Campbell (Director at Atelier Ten), journalist Alice Finney (Design Director at Elle Decoration UK) and business management and marketing consultant Miles Mitchell (Commercial Lead for Total Synergy).

The 2024 Davidson Prize is sponsored by Total Synergy, a global leader in business management software and solutions for Architecture, Engineering and Construction design (AEC) businesses.

The full brief for the 2024 prize can be found on The Davidson Prize website.

Key competition dates

  • 01 February 2024 – Registration closes (18:00 GMT)
  • After initial registration, entrants have until Thursday 29 February 2024 (12:00 GMT) to submit their Stage 1 design ideas
  • The competition is organised in two stages. At Stage 1, entrants are asked to submit a billboard marketing poster communicating their design concept along with a 250-word statement and details of their team
  • At Stage 2, a shortlist of three finalist teams will each receive an honorarium of £5,000 to develop their design ideas and create a short film and present to the 2024 jury
  • The winner of the fourth annual prize for thought-provoking ideas around the design of the home will be announced in June 2024 and awarded £10,000

The 2024 Jury

The 2024 Jury (Clockwise): Duncan Campbell, Alice Finney (© Oliver Manzi), Miles Mitchell, Annalie Riches (© Mark Hadden), Amandeep Singh Kalra, Alexander Turner (© Adam Kenrick)

 Amandeep Singh Kalra (Chair)

Amandeep Singh Kalra is an architect and urban designer and Associate Director of Be First (LB Barking & Dagenham’s regeneration company), working at the intersection of public and private practice.

He is trustee at the charity London Neighbourhood Scholarship where he continues to champion equality by providing scholarships for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is a Design Council Expert, member of the Bromley, Harrow, Kingston (Vice-Chair), Croydon (Chair) and Hackney (Chair) Design Review Panels and is on the Open City Accelerate advisory board. He also sits on the Retrofit & Heritage NLA Expert panel.

Duncan Campbell

Duncan Campbell is a director at Atelier Ten, a global engineering firm that is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of MEP engineering, environmental and lighting design. As a creative building services designer with over 25 years’ experience in the construction industry, Duncan has worked on projects at a range of scales and across many sectors.

Duncan is a design-focussed engineer specialising in using an in-depth technical background to assist clients and architects in delivering their vision for a project. His strong communication skills and passion for good engineering enable him to lead his team effectively and ensure a thoughtful and considered approach to design.

Throughout his career he has worked on a range of adaptive reuse projects including the Royal Hospital, Chelsea with Wren and Soane and the redevelopment of 65 Gresham Street with Squire & Partners.

Alice Finney

Alice Finney specialises in writing about design, photography and art, with a particular focus on underrepresented creatives. She is currently the design editor at ELLE Decoration UK.

Alice began her career in public relations working for clients in the built environment industry before becoming a journalist. She spent three years living in Berlin writing freelance for international titles including British Journal of Photography, iGNANT, Mixmag, gal-dem and SLEEK and brands such as Meta and BMW before joining the world’s leading online magazine for architecture and design, Dezeen, as a design reporter. Previously, she was a judge for the MM Award, an international creative award.

Miles Mitchell

Miles Mitchell is Commercial Lead for Total Synergy, his role is to spearhead the business’ operations in the EMEA region. Miles has over six years of invaluable experience in helping architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) design clients to successfully execute projects and streamline their business operations. Miles is committed to providing unparalleled support to both new and existing clients by offering insights into best-of-breed technologies within the industry.

With a solid educational foundation in Business Management and Marketing, Miles has cultivated a genuine passion for understanding the intricate dynamics of business strategy, innovation, and technology. This curiosity translates into a commitment to delivering candid and articulate consultations, whether guiding clients through strategic purchases or navigating the complexities of internal change management.

Annalie Riches

Annalie Riches co-founded Mikhail Riches in 2015 to focus on providing housing and neighbourhoods that are inherently sustainable and joyful places to live.

Annalie contributes across all the scales of architectural practice; she is recognised for her masterplanning and strategic abilities, as well as her ‘hands on’ expertise in architectural design and detailing. Her projects include Velocity; the winning entry to the 2018 NIC Competition for providing 400,000 new homes between Oxford and Cambridge. She is also leading on Park Hill Phase 4, and the Bridgewater masterplan in the Olympic Park.

Alexander Turner

Alexander Turner is founding director of Liverpool-based art and architecture practice Studio MUTT. Established in 2017, the studio won the 2023 Davidson Prize with its proposal, Helping Hands. Other projects include: Hallyu! The Korean Wave, the first major exhibition celebrating Korean culture at the V&A; Stratford Workshops, a refurbishment of 19C printworks into creative light industrial workspaces, and Royal Albert Dock, the reworking of the Grade I listed warehouses to create new workspaces.

Alexander also co-runs Studio NOW, an undergraduate architecture unit at the University of Liverpool that challenges how we think, alter, and conceive buildings to create long life adaptable vessels for now and the future.

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