for the fourth year running, architizer is excited to partner with sunbrella on the future of shade, an annual competition that explores creative solutions using fabric. whether you’re an architect or a designer, a professional or a student, you’re invited to enter for a chance to win one of three $10,000 grand prizes in the categories of humanitarian, wellness garden or building shade design. we look forward to seeing what you come up with!
Temporary shelter is a bigger issue in today’s world than ever before as we face extreme changing weather patterns, disasters and political instability. And there’s no group better suited to providing creative solutions to such social issues than the architecture and design community. Sunbrella® challenges you to apply its textile materials in new ways for habitable dwellings that assemble in a quick and efficient manner. Even a simple shade can go a long way toward empowering an individual — whether displaced by a natural or manmade disaster — with a sense of place and ownership of his or her immediate surroundings.
The Humanitarian category of the Future of Shade competition calls for a temporary fabric shelter that can be easily transported and rapidly deployed using only simple tools. Rather than plan for a predesignated site or region, participants should consider a wide range of conditions that could be encountered in warm-weather climates around the world, from varying degrees of sun to wind, dust and limited precipitation levels. But, just as important, entrants should contemplate the user, who is facing both the practical and emotional issues posed by the loss of a home and by a densely populated community of individuals.
The 2015 grand prizewinner The Fold by Amber LaFontaine and Sophia Yi
In last year’s competition, grand prizewinner The Fold, designed by students (at the time) Amber LaFontaine and Sophia Yi, proposed a modular emergency shelter system that can be defined by the refugees of varying family sizes. The concept envisioned fabric and corrugated plastic for the shelter’s structure, envelope and furnishings, and roofing in the Sunbrella Awning Canvas. The simple geometry of The Fold provides an ideal balance of ventilation, natural light and shade and allows it to be repeated and expanded as families grow.
“While many of the Humanitarian category projects think about the technology or the object itself or a deployable pod, they don’t get at the human aspect of disaster,” explained Kyle Barker of MASS Design Group, a juror in 2015. “What’s really nice about The Fold is that that is where it springs from. So, rather than being a technical solution, it’s something that allows families to stay intact.”
Humanitarian category honorable mention NouraSouria by Sanna Shah
Meanwhile, the category Honorable Mention NouraSouria, designed by Sanna Shah, took a radically different approach, seeking to remind Syrian refugees of their cultural heritage and express to children in particular that their architectural heritage has not been lost to rubble. Shah proposed a take on the traditional awning using Sunbrella fabric with laser-cut motifs that reference the Great Mosque of Aleppo. Metal mesh backing would provide more rigidity for the fabrics. Meanwhile, fabric color would be used as a wayfinding tool, differentiating the shelters from one another.
Since 1961, Sunbrella has produced textiles that offer a high degree of durability, fade resistance and ease of cleaning. But, even as it develops new high-performance materials for both indoor and outdoor applications, it is up to designers to put these products to use, and humanitarian design may well be one place where it is needed most.
The deadline to submit to any of the Sunbrella Future of Shade categories is March 20th. More information can be found on the contest’s competition page here on Architizer.