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LFA and WCCA reveal winning team for ‘Eco Home Pavilion’ in City of London


Image: Design Concept for ‘Straw in the Wind’

Thomas Randall-Page and Lucas Facer have been selected to design ‘Straw in the Wind’, a temporary pavilion located in and funded by the City of London (CILS funds) and commissioned by Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA) for London Festival of Architecture (LFA). They will be supported by Barbara Jones, New Architecture Writers, Phineas Harper and Buro Happold in their design and corresponding programme which will be delivered in summer 2024.

With this competition WCCA and LFA aim to highlight the urgency of the global climate crisis, draw attention to the acute national energy crisis and look at the ways the built environment can address these issues. It explores how homes can be better designed or altered to be heated and powered across London and the UK.

‘Straw in the Wind’ was selected against 6 shortlisted designs and a total of 80 entrants. The innovative installation will be made using two key natural materials – straw and timber – and is carbon neutral.

Through their design, the winning team looks to ‘elevate straw’ and promote it as a ‘modern construction material’ which can be ‘prefabricated’ and ‘efficient’. The judges commended the team’s approach to the ‘eco home’ concept and saw its potential in shaping the future of building processes.

Lead designers Thomas Randall-Page and Lucas Facer said:

“In the traditional story of the Three Little Pigs, straw is shown as a weak building material easily blown down by the Big Bad Wolf. Our pavilion will prove that straw is, in fact, a super material – not just strong but low carbon, insulating and beautiful.”

Lead curator of the pavilion’s public programme Phin Harper said: “The construction of new houses is an enormous source of greenhouse gas emissions, yet tens of thousands of new homes are needed to keep up with demand. The straw pavilion and its public programme will ask big questions about what the homes of the future will be made from and for.”

Thomas Aquilina, Co-Director of New Architecture Writers said: “As writers of diasporic backgrounds, home is a resonant theme for New Architecture Writers. This pavilion – our ‘summer residence’ – will raise and challenge questions of belonging and of migration right in the centre of the city.”

Image: Design Concept for ‘Straw in the Wind’

‘Straw in the Wind’ will act as a temporary events venue, staging a programme of theatrical debates, educational workshops and public performances. This will include a summer residency in partnership with New Architecture Writers and a curatorial programme created by Phineas Harper.

Through this packed programme, which will take place in and around the Pavilion, the team wish to interrogate questions of domesticity, family life, diasporic identity, the housing crisis and ecological construction all framed by the overarching theme of home.

Originally planned for 2023, due to ongoing fundraising, the Eco Home Pavilion is intended to be installed for three months in Summer 2024. This coincides with LFA’s 20th anniversary in June 2024, the Pavilion will provide one of the focal points for the Festival activity and debate.

The round 2  judging panel consisted of:

  • Anna Beckett (Associate Director, Symmetrys)
  • Chris Dyson (Master, WCCA; Principal Architect of Chris Dyson Architects)
  • Martin Gettings (Head of Sustainability, Brookfield Europe)
  • Gonzalo Herrero Delicado (Director, EcoCity Summit)
  • Nigel Ostime (WCCA; Delivery Director Hawkins\Brown)
  • Rosa Rogina (Director, London Festival of Architecture) – Chair

Chris Dyson, Master of the WCCA, Founder of Chris Dyson Architects and member of the Judging Panel, said:

“The Thomas Randall Page and Lucas Facer team impressed the jury by the depth of thought, quality and practicality of their proposal. Building in timber and straw is both economic and allows for prefabrication for ease of erection, and is becoming more widely practiced in central Europe. The judges felt this could be a provocation for the house building industry in the UK.’’

Rosa Rogina, Director of London Festival of Architecture, said:

“We are very excited to be working with Thomas, Lucas and the team who together hold incredible expertise in design, building, curation and writing and on delivering this important project addressing the urgent need to radically change industry practices of construction and building. I look forward to seeing how the team uses the fragility of a material such as straw as its main force, and though its clever design and programming opens up discussions around alternative methods of constructing our homes and cities.”

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