Winners of the Design Educates Awards 2022


Each year, the Design Educates Awards highlight international design projects that address context-specific concerns and educate users about sustainability. The awards were created by the Laka Foundation and were inspired by the research of Dr. Peter Kuczia, Educating Buildings (Bildende Bauten).

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The awards transcend aesthetic value and seek to reward projects that educate by inspiring change. These changes may be subtle, but projects play an important role in embracing social, environmental and economic sustainability. In doing so, the winning projects have significant impacts on users and the community as a whole.

Related: 2021 eVolo Skyscraper Competition Winners Focus on Sustainable Urban Design

The Design Educates Awards cover four design categories, namely architectural, product, universal and responsive design. Other awards include the Emerging Designer Award for a student design project, as well as the Solarlux Choice Award, selected by Solarlux representatives. Project criteria range from feasibility to potential for pedagogical influence.

This year there were 400 entries from 30 countries, with 43 winners and honorable mentions. The 2022 jury included 15 international experts in various design disciplines, including Professor Toyo Itō, Jette Cathrin Hopp, Professor Mark L. Gardner, Professor Masayo Ave, Senior Professor Ranjana Dani, Aidin Ardjomandi and Dr. Peter Kuczia, among others.

Here is a list of the Design Educates Awards 2022 winners by category.

Architectural design

Wooden arched bridge floating over a stream.  A small boat with lots of people can be seen about to pass under the bridge

Winner 2022: Wooden Bridge at Gulao Waterfront by LUO Studio

The project is located in the city of Gulao, China, a small farming and fishing village. Since many are abandoning the city in search of an urban lifestyle, the bridge strikes a balance between the rural and the urban by constructing a modern structure that uses traditional construction techniques.

Terracotta brick building in front of a tropical forest.  The bricks of the facade of the building create a perforated pattern.  The building is surrounded by a short bamboo fence

Gold Award: Terra Cotta Studio by Tropical Space

The Terra Cotta Studio in Vietnam is a space where potters can work and be inspired to create. The patterned brick facade creates various plays of light and shadow inside. Perforations in the building envelope also allow for interactions between artists and nature, while providing shelter from the elements.

Prefab buildings made from recycled materials with patterned facades and barrel-vaulted ceilings and flat roofs

Silver Prize: Wiki World Natural Camp by Wiki World

Located on the outskirts of Wuhan, Wiki World has set up an educational campsite. The site consists of prefabricated wooden huts, public classrooms and space to build architecture using natural materials. Thus, the space becomes a place dedicated to education and promotes interaction between rural communities and students in a collaborative construction.

A triptych of images of buildings in the woods

Bronze Award: House of Dreams by Insitu Project

The House of Dreams transforms an abandoned cave in China into a rural development training center. The project aims to recover the surrounding caves, to revive the traditions and know-how of the community and to materialize the collective memories.

Product design

A red-lit tent-like shelter.  The night sky is illuminated by green aurora borealis

2022 Winner: Deployable Emergency Shelter by Henry Glogau Studio

Since sub-zero environments often present hostile conditions, the project proposes a tent-like shelter that exploits these environmental factors. The Deployable Emergency Shelter is a lightweight structure with an aerodynamic shape that disperses strong winds. Inspired by snow caves and igloos, snow collects in the tent’s mylar pockets and creates a form of insulation, keeping indoor temperatures up to 37 degrees Celsius warmer than outdoor conditions.

LOOOP reusable menstrual pads can be opened on the left, with someone holding the lid of one of the kits on the right side

Gold Award: Looop by Cheuk Laam Wong and Central Saint Martins

Often overlooked, menstrual poverty is a major concern for women in refugee camps. To combat this, Looop is a reusable sanitary napkin cleaning kit that uses less than 500 milliliters of water. The kit uses recycled steel cans and polypropylene washing parts. Reusable pads are made from bamboo fabrics and laminated polyurethane (PUL).

See-Tang biopackaging on the left side next to a red curry on a white plate on the right side of the image

Silver Prize: SeeTang Collection by Jana-Aimée Wiesenberger

SeeTang is a zero-waste bioplastic made from seaweed, dyed with natural dyes including onion skin, hibiscus, coffee and saffron. Used for various types of food packaging, the inner packaging material is edible, while the outer packaging is either reusable or compostable.

Bronze Award: Canairi by Canairi

Canairi is a CO2 monitor used to measure air quality in indoor spaces. When the air quality drops, the monitor prompts the user to ventilate the space and restore proper air quality. This reduces the risk of illnesses induced by poor air quality, including headaches and sleep disturbances.

Responsive design

Boy holding a cup at a solar desalination skylight

2022 Winner: Solar Desalination Skylight by Henry Glogau Studio

The solar desalination skylight is a multifunctional element that harnesses sunlight and seawater, while flooding the interiors with natural light. It produces drinking water and a brine solution, used to manufacture salt batteries. Salt batteries can power LED lights at night and can be charged using solar energy from a mini photovoltaic panel.

People sitting under three portable solar water distillers

Gold Award: Portable Solar Still by Henry Glogau Studio

The portable solar distiller uses sunlight to distill between 12 and 18 liters of polluted seawater in 12 hours. The system uses readily available materials such as plastic sheeting and bamboo/wood and can also be used as a rainwater catchment system.

Concrete coastal elements in rows immersed in sea water

Silver Award: Coastalock by ECOncrete Tech Ltd

About 70% of all marine infrastructure uses concrete, which is highly toxic to sea creatures. Coastalock uses a proprietary sound concrete mix to create interlocking units that form wave breakers and simultaneously support marine ecosystems. Units have customizable orientations to meet the ecosystem needs of local sea creatures.

Bronze Prize: 1300 Recycling Pavilion by Hyunjejoo_Baukunst

The project features 1300 semi-transparent baskets that form the structure of the pavilion. Using standard off-the-shelf baskets, the pavilion encourages awareness of how we use everyday objects and how architecture can adapt to environmental needs by reusing non-traditional materials.

Universal design

People walking around and inside BetaPort wooden structures

2022 Winner: BetaPort – On-Demand Circular Building Technology by Urban Beta UG

BetaPort is a system that uses modular building blocks, which can react to design requirements such as user capacity and function. The BetaPort configurator is the digital tool that efficiently plans the construction of each space according to its needs. In addition, all building materials are renewable or recycled to create sustainable buildings and carbon sinks.

Man wearing bright orange Inxect suit

Silver Award: The Inxect Suit by Pavels Liepins-Hedström

The Inxect Suit is a portable plastic waste management and protein harvesting system. Mealworms live in a habitat inside the suit that uses the heat and humidity of the suit wearer to maintain an ideal colony environment. These worms eat plastic waste, which is not toxic to them, and expand the colony. Thus, the growing colony provides the costume wearer with valuable protein to consume.

Installation piece made up of thousands of white linear components in front of a black background

Bronze Prize: Voxel Cloud by Julian Edelmann

The Voxel Cloud explores complex geometries generated by algorithms to try to blend nature and technology. The machines used datascapes to create a complex scaffold-like structure. Currently, the installation is located in a park in Austria where it will blend into the environment over time.

Additional Rewards

Red and light slide in a large white and red interior cafeteria space.  Lots of children gathered near the bottom of the slide with a few children and a teacher sitting nearby

Solarlux choice: GO! Campus Zottegem by Rosan Bosch Studio

The green light! Campus Zottegem is a public school in Belgium, designed to maximize student learning through play. The school has diverse learning landscapes that encourage exploration and curiosity.

+ Design Educates Awards

Images courtesy of Jin Weiqi, Hiroyuki Oki, Insitu Project, Wu Ting, Henry Glogau Studio, Larry Turner, SeeTang Collection, ECOncrete Tech Ltd, Urban Beta, Studio Naaro, Pavels Liepins-Hedström and Kim Wendt


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