2023 Davidson Prize: Somewhere to Call Home
The Davidson Prize is an annual design ideas competition recognizing the transformative architecture of the home. The prize exists to celebrate innovative design ideas, encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration, and promote compelling visual communication.
The 2023 theme is Somewhere to Call Home, which asks teams to design new solutions for homelessness.
THE 2023 BRIEF
Somewhere to call home is a fundamental human need.
An obvious solution to homelessness is more homes. But until those homes are built, more and more people are in urgent need of a place of shelter.
In the UK and Eire in 2022, increasing numbers of people are homeless or perilously close to it. In England in 2022, Shelter reported an 11% increase between January and March, with 74,230 people becoming homeless or at imminent risk – including 25,610 families with children.
Since the abolition of workhouses in Britain in 1948 and Ireland in 1925, interim solutions for homelessness have varied widely from large-scale dormitories accommodating 1,000 people or more to bed and breakfast accommodation or expensive short-term rentals from buy-to-let landlords. Today, while some schemes such as Holmes Road by Peter Barber Architects for the London Borough of Camden provide a place of dignified refuge for people with extra care needs, elsewhere hostel provision can be less than hospitable.
Other contemporary ‘solutions’ may uproot people from existing support networks including schools, families, and communities. On top of this, homeless accommodation often comes with a stigma attached and may fail to provide safety or privacy while being isolated from opportunities for work, meaningful occupation, or social engagement.
As discussed by philosophers over the centuries, dwelling is fundamental to human existence – and few interim solutions meet the essence of ‘home’ encapsulated by American poet Robert Frost in the line ‘Something you somehow haven’t to deserve’.
How can people struggling with housing security ever feel truly at home?
The 2023 Davidson Prize asks you to imagine an amnesty on land ownership and a ban on empty buildings. Choose a brownfield or greenfield site or an unused building in any location in the UK or Eire and design a home community where people who have experienced the trauma of homelessness and housing insecurity are given time to settle, recover and find their bearings.
Your submission should identify one or more target demographic/s and respond to the specific needs of the group/s about support as well as space for living. Examples include teenagers leaving the care system, people leaving the armed forces, ex-prisoners, families fleeing domestic abuse, asylum seekers, and people requiring extra support for mental health and dependency issues or because of past trauma, as well as increasing numbers of people made homeless by rising rents and the cost-of-living crisis.
Your proposed home community will need to accommodate around 50 people in a variety of household sizes to suit the chosen demographic/s. Ranging from single-person to group and family living. Plus shared space that addresses the specific needs of the target demographic/s.
Key considerations include design that:
- Engenders a sense of home
- Ensures privacy, security, and safety
- Promotes a sense of a community and shared purpose – such as a social service or revenue-generating activity
- Engages with wider communities
- Promotes health and wellbeing
- Is inclusive and sustainable
- Communicate how the proposed design idea offers a solution to challenges faced by specific user group/s
- Show the benefits of multi-disciplinary collaboration
- Demonstrate effective communication of design ideas to lay audiences.
Download the brief here.
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