Winner announced for Kenyan ecovillage design competition

Australian charity One Heart Foundation has announced the winner of its international competition to masterplan and design an ecovillage for orphaned and abandoned children in Kenya. Edric Choo and his team from Malaysian architectural firm O2 Design Atelier (O2DA) won the competition from a pool of 45 entries spanning 21 countries, including Australia, the USA, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Estonia, South Africa and Kenya. The winning team will work with Melbourne-based architectural firm Clare Hopkins Clarke to deliver the project.

The winning design responds to the competition’s two key objectives: to masterplan a holistic children’s ecovillage with facilities such as homes, schools, farms and playing fields, and to create a unique design solution for each of these facilities.  The design also includes a courtyard, a multi-purpose hall and storytelling pit.

Edric Choo said he entered the competition to show how architecture can be about more than good design by positively contributing to society and helping to improve lives. “The inspiration behind the design was to create a place where the children who will live there could feel at home,” Choo said. He continued: “We took reference from the native architecture and local materials and created a setting where [the children] could find a sense of belonging and happiness.”

The village, located in Soy provence, will provide homes for 100 orphaned children and education facilities for more than 500 children. It will serve as a sister campus to the existing One Heart Village located nearby in Turbo, which has care facilities for 75 chuldren and education facilities for 200 children. The winning design was selected by an international panel including the Australian High Commissioner to Kenya, John Feakes, Breathe Architecture founding director Jeremy McLeod, ClarkeHopkinsClarke partners Robert Goodliffe and Dean Landy and Kenyan educationalists.

The One Heart Foundation Construction is currently working on fundraising initiatives to fund the first stage of the development. Construction of the new village will start in early 2018.