Book documents steel architecture worldwide


Houses of Steel, the latest publication from Living Steel, captures the quality and inventiveness of entrants into the prestigious Living Steel International Architecture Competition that has run internationally over the past three years.


The competition aims to stimulate the use of steel in sustainable housing, through inspiring architects to address the urgent need for sustainable urban housing.


Documenting the only architecture competition of its kind, Houses of Steel is a comprehensive collection of the winners and finalists of all the global competitions: India and Poland in 2006, Brazil, China and United Kingdom in 2007, and Cherepovets, Russia, in 2008.


More than 2000 architecture practices worldwide entered the competitions, representing all continents.


A significant jury of senior figures in architecture was chaired by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Glenn Murcutt (2006, 2008) and founding partner of PCKO Architects Andrew Ogorzalek (2007).


Valuable insight

The publication details each of the finalists’ entries with quality images and drawings of the projects, which gives a valuable insight into the many ways that architects approach the same challenge.


The book is an exceptionally high quality record of the equally top-level creative work by some of the world’s most innovative architecture practices.


Each competition brief, while similar in the demand for innovation, sustainability and use of steel, was different in its specifics. 2006 called for a five-storey residential building in Rajarhat, India, where the extreme tropical climate called for innovative use of cooling techniques.


UK practice Piercy Conner won, with its design for “SymHouse”. The growing middle classes in Warsaw was the focus for the 2006 competition in Poland, where practices were invited to submit proposals to house young professional families, which Netherlands practice architectenbureau cepezed won with its “Kick Start” system.


Brazil was one of the focal countries for 2007, where optimisation of housing density was the issue. Andrade Morettin Arquitetos of Brazil won, with its site-specific entry “Essential Architecture” that used extensive cross-ventilation.


Competition provides wide ranging challenges

Also in 2007, the brief for China was to design high quality affordable housing in sub-tropical Wuhan, which Israeli practice Knafo Kilmor won with “Agro-Housing”, while in the UK, British architects Cartwright Pickard won the competition to design a flexible housing system in London for diverse demographic groups.


The most recent competition in 2008 was to design an energy-efficient, single-family home in Cherepovets, Russia, a rapidly expanding city subject to extreme climate conditions.


Australian practice Peter Stutchbury Architects won the competition with its sculptural form. RVTR of Canada and BVN Architecture of Australia also received honorable mentions for their entries.


The International Architecture Competition is set to continue in 2010.


Living Steel director Scott Chubbs says the quality of all the entrants into the competition has been unparalleled, and is a testament to the need for global housing and the architects’ innovative responses to this worldwide issue.


“Houses of Steel is the ultimate record of this creativity and ingenuity. We are proud that the global steel industry can offer a way to help address the global housing issue through the World Steel Association’s Living Steel programme and that, in turn, we can help provide opportunities for the architectural profession through our competitions,” Mr Chubbs says.


Living Steel, launched by the World Steel Association, is a five-year worldwide collaborative programme designed to stimulate innovative and responsible housing design and construction, and to help address the unprecedented pressure on infrastructure, communities and the quality of people’s lives, stemming from growing urban populations.


Houses of Steel is available internationally via

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