NEAT houses for Canberra

On Saturday night, four progressive ideas for alternative housing options in Canberra were selected as winners of the New Experimental Architectural Typologies (NEAT) competition by the Australian Institute of Architects’ ACT chapter. The competition invited entrants to come up with viable concepts for innovative and compact dwellings that would be suitable for Canberra in the 21st century, as well as challenge its current planning rules.

Congratulations to Melinda Dodson and her team for their terrific submission, Hi House, which took out first prize. The scheme offers vertically organised flexible housing that can be adapted over time with elevated external spaces.

To our great delight (and loud whoo hoos!), second prize went to Jigsaw team member, Rob Henry, for his excellent personal entry: subMERGED.

The Jigsaw architects (including Rob) collaborated, and brainstormed with the broader Jigsaw team, to develop and submit two joint entries: ‘Creative Block’ and ‘in8 Form’.

The process itself was really exciting. See some of the architects – Jeremy, Rob and Andrew – in action in our new library and innovation space, in the image below. Behind the camera is another integral design team member, Sarah, and out of shot is architecture student and Jigsaw piece, Joel).

We used the Jigsaw team to represent a diverse cross section of the Canberra community. Staff were asked to write their own brief for a compact house: thinking hard about what they really need and want to suit their current lifestyle… and the future lifestyle they imagine as their lives and family composition change. We also focused heavily on developing a strong sense of community while still allowing for privacy and flexbility.

You can read more about the competition and winners here and view all the entries via the AIA’s web site.