It was an interesting idea for a competition: pick three prototypical sites and invite the designers from around the world to compete, with a whacking big prize. The winner for Recife, Brazil was in fact Brazilian, Andrade Morettin Arquitetos Associados Ltda, who "addressed a global housing shortage in their design by getting to the essentials of comfortable living. "Essential Architecture" embraces basic minimalist construction with an economic use of materials for a light structure and design. This idea of essentials extends to the building's glass-free facade and carefully planned ventilation that eliminates the need for mechanical cooling systems."
Israeli firm Knafo Klimor Architects developed a vertical garden scheme for China. "The architects observe that massive urbanisation displaces communities, dissipating existing traditions and heritage, as well as placing a strain on energy resources and infrastructure. The Agro-housing concept presents a new urban and social vision that addresses this chaotic urbanisation problem by creating a new order in the city and, more Winning design: China specifically, in the housing environment. The idea behind Agro-housing is to create a space close to home where families can produce their own food supply according to their own abilities, tastes and choices to promote independent living, freedom and potentially provide additional income. In addition, these greenhouse spaces become a natural gathering place for the community to interact. Agro-housing is a place for living, but in essence, it is a model for a new urbanity, contributing to the preservation of traditions and community values and diminishing the trials of rural migration. Agro-Housing is composed of two parts: the apartment's tower and the vertical greenhouse. The greenhouse is a multi-floor structure for cultivation of crops such as vegetables, fruits, flowers and spices, equipped with a drip irrigation system that re-uses grey water. The greenhouse climate is controlled through natural ventilation and a heating system. A roof-top terrace garden offers open-air green space for recreation and informal gathering."
Cartwright Pickard Architects of the UK won the UK site with the most restrained idea for "a housing complex that uses a modular system to provide affordable living in an urban environment.
The dwelling employs two basic module sizes, both of which are assembled offsite and transported to the site. The larger of the two units forms the basis for the dwelling types. By adding a second smaller module, a variety of dwelling sizes can be achieved, either by horizontal or vertical expansion. Wall or floor panels can be omitted or made removable to allow expansion and creation of double height spaces. Intensification of stair cores can be achieved through installation of modules as the need arises. " ::Living Steel Competition