Architecture competition - Krakow Oxygen Home 2nd prize winners

Please take this opportunity to get introduced to the 2nd prize winners of Krakow Oxygen Home competition: Paul Jones and Chris Brown from United Kingdom!

Krakow Oxygen Home 2nd prize winners Paul Jones and Chris Brown

We are lecturers at Northumbria University in the North East of England.

Paul Jones is a Professor of Architecture, and has taught architecture for nearly 20 years. Paul’s primary interest is in design research, particularly through the creation of architectural projects that are sustainable, contribute to a sense of place and promote wellbeing. Paul has an impressive record in design competitions and sees this vehicle as an important method of inquiry and dissemination of ideas.

Chris Brown, as well as teaching, is also undertaking a PhD through design practice. His research interest considers reuse of architectural ruins and notions of intervention.

Paul and Chris currently teach together and run a live project office out of the university. The projects that we are working on include: the design of 10 bespoke eco-houses in the North East of England (the construction of which begins in Feb 2016); the refurbishment of 28 World War II bunkers, outside of Durham (again in the North East of England; construction is likely to be in Autumn of 2016); and a visitor and information centre in a historic landscape, for Gateshead Council, also in the Northeast of England.

Architecture is an all-encompassing discipline for us; it is more than a job- it is a way of life. At its best, architecture can be life changing. Unfortunately architects are not always recognised for their contribution to society. They are often leaders of change, transforming cities and landscapes for the better of humanity, if they are given the scope and support to do so; but their skills aren’t always utilised to their full advantage.

We participate in competitions primarily to test ideas, and challenge ourselves against others through the competition format. We also use them to help hone our drawing and communication skills; this is important when teaching our students. The Architecture Vision organisation sets provocative and engaging briefs that are interesting to undertake.

Having regularly undertaken competitions we would advise individuals, first and foremost, to do them because they are interested in the subject matter. Success is always rewarding (both in terms of finance and confidence) however, this should not be the sole reason for entering them. They should be seen as a vehicle to test ideas and to challenge the brief. There is a difference, however, if competitions are a way of acquiring work for a practice. There needs to be a business case for the numbers of hours that has to be committed to competitions; this method may not be a cost effective solution for architects in practice.


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