Jury feedback summary
The chosen winner successfully integrated the project’s unique program and constraints into an affordable and elegant solution fitting to the site. As called for in the competition guidelines, this solution is extremely adaptable, and may be easily adjusted for variable sites, altitudes, and number of occupants. It employs a modular system that can be clipped together, comprised of a series of pre-fabricated module ‘types’ such as living, sleeping, service, etc. In contrast to many other modular proposals, this project creates a continuous space inside that allows for group gathering, rather than using the modular concept to connect a series of separate chambers, each designed for one or two individuals, as with a hotel. It additionally placed equal focus on the functional requirements as well as quality of experience within the scheme, as evidenced by the inclusion of the framed window module, which while not necessary to survive, would greatly contribute to the awe-inspiring experience of trekking in the Himalayas.
The unabashed use of color is also refreshing, and lends richness to the project since it both diagrams the corresponding program component inside while also establishing a colorful iconic presence in the otherwise rugged landscape. The judges responded equally well to its nature as a somewhat Swiss army knife project. Each small design move serves several ends, such as the bunk beds that fold down to become the back of a bench, or the pitched roof which assists with snow loads while providing a mezzanine sleeping area above. This project clearly states that a more utilitarian, performative architecture does not have to be mutually exclusive from strong poetic design.
The focus on details within the project is equally impressive, and illustrates a mindfulness of the project realities that was not visible in many other proposals. The clear diagrams showing the pentagonal wood frames, rotating footings, and clipping mechanism provide a convincing argument for the simplicity and economic viability of the scheme. Also very helpful are the diagrams clarifying the layered buildup of the facade as well as the collection and use of energy and water in the scheme, both of which contribute greatly to the project's climate performance.
Finally, although the quality of presentation was not of primary focus in this competition, the judges found this presentation to be extremely well-balanced. It successfully integrates the appropriate amount of information to present the project clearly, with simple diagrams and beautiful graphics to illustrate the ripe poetic potential for the place.