The prize set up in honour of the late architect and visualiser Alan Davidson, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2012. He set up the Alan Davidson Foundation to help those living with the condition from which he died from in 2018, but also to support architecture initiatives. The Davidson Prize fulfils his wish to support an annual ideas competition centred on the design of the home.
This year’s theme Home/Work – A New Future invited proposals on how Covid-19 has changed how we work and live, rethinking the home as a place of work and the workplace for more flexible patterns of work. The 18 shortlisted projects were selected from 55 entries by judges Alison Brooks, Thomas Heatherwick, Michelle Ogundehlin, Sonia Solicari and Narinder Sagoo.
“The universality of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that the subject matter of the Prize: ‘Home/Work – A New Future’ was something we all experienced over the past year. As a result, submissions were, in a lot of cases, more autobiographical than what these designers and thinkers might have produced under ‘the old normal’,” says judge Alison Brooks. “The shortlisted entries cover a spectrum of solutions, from adapting the home, to rethinking how we inhabit our streets, to digital tools.”
Shortlisted projects range in scale from the domestic to urbanism. Among them are ideas that tackle issues like social isolation and wellbeing, propose hyper-local living, and question who should foot the bill of working from home.
A concept by Glasgow-based practice Graeme Nicholls Architects and London visualisation studio Secchi Smith titled The Live, the Work and the Wardrobe sees the communal hallway of an apartment building transformed by a built in wardrobe. Tables and seats fold out of the cabinetry to offer spaces to work or socialise, and pack away into the wardrobe when not in use.
Another shortlisted idea by London studio Elli Farrant Architects called the 20-Minute Commute proposes de-centralising the city by using multifunctional buildings to create self-contained neighbourhoods.
Three finalists will now be awarded £5,000 to develop their ideas and an overall winner of the 2021 Davidson Prize selected in June will be receive £10,000.
See the full shortlist:
The Module by Mole + Darc Studio
Com-View-Nism by New Normal
Tea Time by O’Donnell Brown, Dress for the Weather, Will Knight and WSP
The AntiPODy by Origin 3 Studio
The Work/Home Ecosystem by REMI·C·T Studio
Camera Lucida by Playhouse
Part N by Soffit Collective
A Stitch in Time by Team Wobble
Two-Door City by Workhome
A Framework for Local Growth by Ukuaji and Studio 8FOLD
Onni by Cousins & Cousins x Ekkist