The second edition of the Laka Competition: “Architecture that reacts” came to a close and we can hardly wait to reveal this year’s main prizes and honorable mentions, which came as a result of an animated exchange of views of the Judging Panel, consisting of leaders in architecture and design, renowned experts, educators, researchers and practitioners who determine the directions of development of modern architecture.

Laka Competition is an international architectural competition which seeks innovative ideas that go far beyond typical building solutions, are socially engaged, capable of reacting to unpredictable conditions (environmental, natural, social) and provide safety for its inhabitants. The main evaluation criteria in the competition have been to indicate an architectural, social or environmental issue to solve, analyze it accurately and choose an architectural solution that “reacts” and resolves the indicated issue.

The registration to the competition was open until November 1, 2016. We have received 127 projects from 255 participants based in 40 countries. It is worth noticing how important in successful design for global change is synergetic approach – our interdisciplinary teams consisted of students, architects, professors of architecture, designers, artists, automotive engineers, mechanical engineers, civil engineers, computational designers, environmental designers, interior architects, visual designers, industrial and manufacturing engineers. Solving the issues of overpopulation of the world’s biggest cities, lack of socially friendly public spaces, post-war societies or problems of invasive water, were only a few to mention from the most prevalent, impressive topics in this year’s edition. The selection process of the best designs was not an easy task. Throughout the month of November the international panel of Judges (Tobias Wallisser – LAVA Laboratory For Visionary Architecture, Julien De Smedt – JDS Architects, Peter Kuczia, Ana Maria Gutierrez – Fundación Organizmo, Arturo Vittori – Architecture and Vision, Nathalie de Vries – MVRDV, Qun Dang – MAD Architects) have worked on selecting the winners and laureates of honorable mentions.

Hereby we are happy to announce the laureates of the 2016 edition of the Laka Competition: “Architecture that reacts”:

1ST PRIZE: project no. 0104 “Snapping Facade” by Jin Young Song (Architect and Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo, State University of New York), Jongmin Shim (Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York), USA
The Snapping Facade touches a widespread contemporary problem of heat gain/loss, adequate sunlight provision as well as an insufficiency of aesthetically pleasing solutions to it. As the designers summarize it, “Snapping Facade explores a sustainable building envelope design strategy that utilizes elastic instability to create dynamic motion at the building envelope.” The artifact is not only very clever in its simplicity, reactive to the current need, but also visually appealing and being a small scale design it is able to influence the large scale in a low-cost manner. The Judges were unanimously impressed with the project.

2ND PRIZE: project no. 0112 “SUBURBAN SWELL” by Ryan Clement, Eric Dell’Orco, USA
“Suburban Swell reacts to fears of density by using the lifestyle of the suburbs as a framework for a new vertical morphology of density that embraces light, community, land ownership, individuality, and the American dream. Suburban Swell is based on the form of the cul-de-sac, an urban form that is ubiquitous in American suburbs.” – the authors describe the project. “YES! Let’s densify and not in a bad way but in a great way, let’s combine the density of Manhattan with the comfortable life of the American Suburb!” architect Nathalie de Vries (MVRDV) stresses the brilliance of the idea.

3RD PRIZE: project no. 0101 “URBAN OASIS” Markus Jeschaunig (Artist, Architect / Agency in the Biosphere), AUSTRIA
The URBAN OASIS is a climate-change oriented installation, “Oasis No. 8”, taking place from September 2015 till the end of 2016. The aim of this initiative is to raise awareness by bringing real plants, that is a banana palm, to a place where they could not exist naturally. The designers claim that “Synergetic urbanism is an answer on the challenges of climate change.” and we do agree! Architect Qun Dang (MAD Architects), Laka’s Judge, mentioned that a big value of this design is having nature influence the existing environment in different corners of the city.

We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the designers awarded the 10 honorable mentions, that is:
0075 “Socially Active Ecosystems” by ASA Studio – Active Social Architecture: Alice Tasca (Partner Architect), Francesco Stassi (Partner Architect), Zeno Riondato (Partner Architect), Jaime Velasco Perez (Architect), Christian Karagire (Architect),

0055 “Hexapods: a new vernacular architecture” by Maricruz Miranda-López (Architect & Interior Designer), Sofía Amodio-Bernal (Architect, Senior Designer), Bridget Munro (Architect, Architectural Designer),

0107 “Green Umbrella” by Dr. Hee Sun (Sunny) Choi (Urban Designer), Jorge Sainz de Aja Curbelo (Architect, Urban design researcher), Tony Chiu Cheuk Lun (Design Assistant), Eason Yeung Kit (Design Assistant),

0150 “Pop Up Places of Worship” by Lucas Boyd, Chad Greenlee,

0142 “Drift City: Architecture’s Reaction to Sea Level Rise” by mcdowellespinosa: Seth McDowell (Architect, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia), Rychiee Espinosa (Architect), Brad Brogdon (Architect),

0058 “[FLINCH]: the first line in catastrophic hurricanes” by Adrienne Strohm,

0057 “WATER PER MOVE” by Asmaa Almunayes (Bachelor in Civil Engineering, Master Student in Architecture school),

0115 “The Vertical Tree Burial” by Huihui Luo, Runjia Tian, Sibo Qin, Yuhan Wu, Ziyi Xu (Architecture Students),

0035 “PHENIX MEETS CHIMERA” by Humberto Miguel Aguiar Pereira (Architect), Luis Duarte Ferro (Architect),

0116 “Urban Acupuncture” by Tyler Laird, Harrison Smith (Architecture Students, University of Colorado Boulder).

We are glad to notice a growing interest in design for social change in academic institutions. In the 2016 edition students of 24 universities from all around the world, including the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University at Buffalo, University of Colorado Boulder, College of Architecture (Illinois Institute of Technology), Yale School of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Aalto University (Helsinki), Newcastle University, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology and many others, were busy with the Laka Competition!

The future of your design. Laka Accelerator and more…

We have got exciting news for this year’s participants! While you were busy preparing the designs, the Laka Team has been thinking how to make them happen in the near future. As a result of the process, in 2017 we are launching the Laka Accelerator, which will allow selected designs – not only the awarded ones – to receive substantial support for implementation thanks to an exceptional group of Experts, who agreed to share their knowledge and experience. We believe that together we can influence problem areas and actually change the world. We will also be glad to stay in touch with all participants for more implementation and/or promotion options in the future. Kasia Burzynska, Laka’s Editor in-chief, reveals that selected Participants will be asked to give us short interviews for promotion in press and on the Laka Blog. “2017 will bring even more surprises – our team is working on a book of interviews with Experts, Laka Perspectives, which will provide an endless source of inspiration for everyone who wants to get involved in social change!” – she says.

We would like to thank our Partners and the Media for supporting the initiative. In 2017, next to the Laka Competition and Laka Accelerator, a new section of Laka Education will be launched! Rafał Przybyła, Programs Director of Laka, underlines that due to a very large number of reactive project submissions, in the beginning of 2017 Laka is launching a new platform, Laka Education, which will be the place for independently developed themed educational programs. “The main goal of Laka Education will be to understand individual aspects of responsiveness and newest directions of development of architecture and technologies in the context of their social and environmental potential.” – he adds. The program will be executed with selected Laka Experts, academic institutions and all Participants of the Laka Competition, who would like to investigate the potential of  “Architecture that Reacts” with us as a part of the Laka Education. Stay tuned for more information in the near future!


Thank you!

As the competition holders we would like to thank all the participants of this year’s edition. Each and every project told a story we were fascinated to discover. We are sure looking for solutions to the set problems was a developing experience in various ways for all the participants, just as analyzing them has deeply moved and influenced us personally. It is highly impressive, how designers all around the globe are able to observe, understand and work with sensitive areas and questions. “We received a great number of innovative projects, some of which were to be evaluated in strictly theoretical terms, others were very practical and technically ready for implementation!” says Damian Przybyła, the Founding Director of the Laka Competition “The submitted designs incorporate solutions of different scale and level of complexity, however explicit majority of them look for an answer to the question about the current role of architecture and its ability to impact the social and natural environment in a positive way.”

Our outlook on the future is bright, as we see how precisely set the goals are in the submitted projects. It shows a high level of social consciousness, as well as prove a large potential of architecture and new technologies in solving certain challenges.

Laka is a non-profit organization and world-wide network focused on social impact via design and architecture. Through a comprehensive strategy and with a support of our Partners, we develop projects and programs that underline the crucial role of architecture and technology in the process of social change ( | We would like to encourage you to get involved in the Laka. We are currently looking for potential Partners and Sponsors in order to make the project implementation possible in a larger scale, and our programs increasingly more accessible. If you would like to join our amazing group of Partners, do not hesitate to contact us!

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