Tag Archives: community

Framework House hits the Press


Designed and constructed in partnership with local community groups, Habitat for Humanity Cambodia and COLE. Framework House delivers a safe & structured way of providing housing to low income & at risk communities. It gives Public and NGO housing providers a way of structuring community involvement without risking inflated project costs. The design allows for infill wall & floor materials that are site specific reducing the overall cost & carbon footprint. These infill areas allow for expansion and extension of the property over time by residents once skills have been shared through construction.

Our Framework House design recently made it into many online articles such as Designboom, Domus, Inhabitat and more…



If you would like to write an article about our Framework House project please get in touch.

And see some more photos of the final design:



Thanks for reading,


Bamboo Trees: Building with Bamboo in the Laos Jungle

For 3 weeks in April, I had the fantastic opportunity to assist in hosting Building Trust’s latest design + build workshop in the Laos jungle. With a team of international volunteers, Laos workers and Building Trust staff we completed the build of an innovative fundraising merchandise store for Free the Bears.


Following the construction of several built projects in South East Asia using natural materials and seeing the growing interest and response in sustainable design and natural materials such as bamboo. Building Trust organised a Design + Build workshop to be held at Kuang Si Falls on the outskirts of Luang Prabang with Free the Bears. Working alongside Atelier COLE, a new merchandise store was designed and built which educates both workshop participants and the high volume of annual tourist visitors to the Tat Kuang Si Park on building with bamboo.


Free the Bears work tirelessly to combat the illegal trade in live bears and provide a safe sanctuary for any rescued bears at Tat Kuang Si Rescue Centre. Most of the bears at the centre are Asiatic Black Bears (Moon Bears) that were illegally captured from the wild as young cubs. It is likely that they were destined for use in the traditional medicine trade. The merchandise store will enable Free the Bears to sell items such as T-shirts, in order to receive much needed donations to allow them to continue their ongoing efforts to protect bears in Laos and beyond.


The fluted fountain like canopies protect the deck area by catching rain water and passing it through the gravel filled, hollow, circular foundation footings. As with all Building Trust projects the Bamboo Trees project worked closely with the local community who in this case were Khmu. They assisted in sharing local skills such as bamboo, rattan weaving and palm thatching which were later used to develop the roof of the structure.


The bamboo is complimented by rope (around 10 kilometres) that spirals around the structure, weaving each piece together and creating strength from the whole. The resulting tensegrity structures lean against each other in a tripartite vault.



You can see more photos of the construction of Bamboo Trees Here and be sure to check out more about Free The Bears!

Thanks for reading!


PLAYscapes Design Competition Results Announced

In April, we launched the Building Trust international design competition PLAYscapes. I am very happy to share with you the results of the competition.

Which city is the most fun? London, NYC, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Moscow, Cape Town? To answer the question Building Trust international asked professional and student architects and designers from cities around the World to propose ideas which encouraged public interaction and turned redundant city spaces into fun creative places.

Winning Professional PLAYscape entry
Winning Professional PLAYscape entry

A multidisciplinary team from the City of Cape Town have been announced as the Professional winners in a design competition that hopes to turn neglected forgotten parts of cities into interactive playscapes. The competition had over 500 registered entrants and a jury including representatives from Building Trust International, Project for Public Spaces, BMW Guggenheim Lab, Landscape Architects Network, 3Space, Neon Stash, Land8 and academics & professionals from the fields of architecture and landscape design.

The design competition asked for a PLAYscape proposal that creates community involvement and turns a neglected space into a place for public interaction and creativity. We are proud to announce the winning design as Cape Town Gardens Skate Park. The project team comprises of Gerrit Strydom, Lwandile Gcume and Aline Cremon from the City of Cape Town, Errol van Amsterdam & Marvin Fester from C2C Consulting Engineers with Skatepark design by Clive Crofton of Spyda Ramps. The team developed the design through lengthy consultation with both local residents, skaters and the national body, The National Skate Collective.

The jury selected the design as the competition winner due to its intelligent re-use of space transforming an under used and blighted underpass into a community led skate park. The jury were also very impressed with the high level of involvement and consultation with local residents and the future users of the park. There were also 9 honourable mentions in the Professional category located in sites ranging from Melbourne to London.

Gerrit Strydom, Winning team entrant said, “For the project to be selected as the winning submission, not only serves to internationally recognise the merit of the project in itself, but stands testament to the importance and value of the broader dialogue about the abundant opportunities for activating difficult public spaces for the benefit of diverse set of users. By elevating the status and awareness of the project the award will stimulate the proliferation of similar initiatives across the metropolitan region and cities in South Africa. “

Winning Student Proposal
Winning Student Proposal

The winning entry from the Student category has been announced as ‘Bring a Pal and have fun’ by a team from Lusiada University of Lisbon, Faculty of Architecture and Arts. Student team member Ricardo Morais said, “Initially we decided to redevelop the space, building furniture equipment made with euro pallets, a material that is structurally sturdy, inexpensive and easy to find anywhere in the World.”

A wide range of submissions made use of sustainable materials and highlighted the need for everyone throughout the World to look at
the forgotten parts of their cities and think about adaptive reuse and redevelopment of existing sites. The short listed designs show a wide range of well thought out ideas for sites around the World where potentially problematic areas can become unique places that can be celebrated by all of us.

Urban Zipline - Honourable Mention in Professional Category
Urban Zipline – Honourable Mention in Professional Category

David Cole founding partner of Building Trust international said, “The competition was a huge success, the winning project had an incredible level of thought and community involvement. The potential for this project to become a flagship in regenerating other areas in both Cape Town and other cities is exciting and we look forward to helping realise the project over the coming months.”

Plant-a-ball-parks Honourable Mention in Professional category
Plant-a-ball-parks Honourable Mention in Professional category

The aim of the competition was to show how creatively we can make cities fun places with opportunities for interaction and play. The competition sought out fun and exciting new ways to get people to interact with the city on a different level. Regeneration of cities should not just be about increasing value and foot fall but should capture people’s imaginations making them want to get involved and experiment with new things.

You can see the winning and honourable mention proposal on the Building Trust website see HERE

You can also see the PLAYscape competition brief HERE

Many thanks for reading the announcement we cannot wait to work with the winning team in Cape Town to turn their PLAYscape design into a reality.



I am very pleased to share with you details of the latest Building Trust International design competition entitled ‘PLAYscapes.’ The competition seeks to find exciting design proposals to transform neglected parts of cities into interactive landscapes, encouraging public engagement, community involvement and sustainable adaptive reuse. The competition will challenge both professional and student architects, designers, engineers and artists to provide a design solution which advocates creativity and promotes outside activity, increasing socialisation.


I have been working this week to publicise the competition to the Architecture and Design media to further promote the project and encourage students of all fields to take part in the chance to make their city more fun.  The competition is an opportunity for people to share an abandoned or forgotten urban site in their city which they feel has the possibility to be developed into an exciting PLAYscape.

The competition brief can be downloaded from below:

Final date for registration – 1st July 2013
Closing date for all submissions – 29th July 2013

Announcement of winners to be posted on www.buildingtrustinternational.org – 30th September 2013
PLAYscapes brief
PLAYscapes brief
I would encourage everyone to read this fun and exciting brief and see if there is a site in your city which you could make more fun.
Building Trust International has a fantastic Facebook gallery promoting current PLAYscapes, check it out to get some inspiration for your proposal: PLAYscapes
A few inspirational projects:
Didier Faustino's billboard swing
Didier Faustino’s billboard swing
Crochet playground constructions of Toshiko Horiuchi in Japan
Crochet playground constructions of Toshiko Horiuchi in Japan

If there are any University lecturers who would like to set the PLAYscapes brief as part of your students academic curriculum please do get in touch!