Competition to Make Council Homes User-Friendly

17 April 2009

Wellington City architects have the opportunity to enter a design competition to make the Council's housing units easier to live in.

The competition, launched at today's Accessible Wellington Forum on Housing and Accommodation at Te Papa, will run until 3 July.

Entrants are required to design an upgrade to a typical Council housing complex consisting of four bed-sit units, with a focus on making them more practical to live in for everyone, regardless of mobility or age. Several small complexes with similar plans are currently being upgraded as part of the Council's Housing Upgrade Project.

The Council's Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ngaire Best, says the competition will require entrants to think about design that is practical and looks good.

"The challenge for entrants is to come up with a user-friendly design that is creative and affordable. There is a need for fresh, imaginative building design as many people need to modify their homes to suit their changing needs. This could be due to a loss of mobility or illness but shows there is a need for flexible living spaces which allow people to live comfortably.

"Adapting existing buildings does pose significant issues and the Council encourages entries based on practical designs to kitchen, bathroom and storage layouts to meet tenants' needs over time."

All entries must be completed by a registered architect or under the direction of a registered architect, and should be prepared to the preliminary design stage, including the cost of the design. Entries will be judged on the use of Universal Design Principles, the Lifetime Design Foundation's Life Standards, and Environmentally Sustainable Design principles.

The winner will be asked to enter negotiations with the Council's Housing Upgrade Project to develop their proposal with a view to constructing the design.

A total prize pool of $4,000 is available. The prize for the selected finalist will be $2,000, with additional prizes of $1,000 awarded to finalists placed in the top three.

More information and competition guidelines can be found on the Disability Services - Overview web page.