Winner of international design competition brings children’s village to life in Kenya

A winner has been chosen from the 45 designs submitted for a unique international design competition to masterplan and design a new eco-village for orphaned and abandoned children in Kenya.

Launched in October, the One Heart Foundation international design competition offered architects the life-changing opportunity to design a children’s village in the Provence of Soy, Kenya for the foundation following the success of their first village in Turbo.

The winner of the competition is Edric Choo and a team from the young architectural practice O2DA based in Malaysia. Edric Choo says he entered the competition to show how architecture can be about more than just good design by positively contributing to society and helping to improve lives.

“The inspiration behind the design was creating a place where the children who will live there could feel at home. We took reference from native architecture and local materials and created a setting where they could find a sense of belonging and happiness,” said Choo.

In a truly global challenge, Choo’s design was chosen from 45 submissions by individuals and teams across 21 different countries including Australia, the USA, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Estonia, South Africa and Kenya.

An international panel of judges, which included the Australian High Commissioner to Kenya John Feakes, Breathe Architecture founder Jeremy McLeod, ClarkeHopkinsClarke partners Robert Goodliffe and Dean Landy as well as Kenyan educationalists, assessed the submissions before awarding the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Choo.

The winning submission is a beautifully conceived and executed response to the brief, successfully achieving the competition’s two key objectives: to masterplan a holistic children’s eco-village with facilities such as homes, schools, farms and playing fields, and to create a unique design solution for each of these facilities.

One Heart Foundation founder Dean Landy said “the competition was about bringing a new standard of design to the villages of Kenya, while providing an opportunity for our practice to work more collaboratively with students, graduates and other architects from around the world to help disadvantaged children and realise the impact good design can have on peoples’ lives.”

The winners will now work with Melbourne-based architectural practice ClarkeHopkinsClarke to bring this unique, self-sustainable village to life. The completed village will provide homes to 100 orphaned children, first-class education to more than 500 local children, skills training to the surrounding community, and more than 50 local jobs.

The Soy village will serve as a sister campus to the existing One Heart Village located nearby in Turbo which cares for 75 children and educates 200, and staff and resources will be shared across the sites.

“We congratulate Choo and his team on their ability to bring to life our vision of a children’s village which will create a nurturing, welcoming and inspiring environment for the many children that will live there, while also being economical, sustainable and buildable.”

Construction of the new village will commence in early 2018.

The One Heart Foundation is now working on various fundraising initiatives to fund the first stage of the development. Individuals and organisations are encouraged to contact the foundation if they’d like to contribute to the development.

More green updates