TREEHOUSING DURBAN challenges participants to design a residential and/or mixed-use complex on a site in Durban, South Africa.

The creation of affordable housing is a critical issue in Durban and throughout the world. Entrants are asked to use wood products to design a high-rise solution that addresses the housing needs of the community and integrates with the surrounding urban context. Submissions can include additional program spaces that are relevant to the location (transit, plaza, retail, etc.). Solutions that are replicable and expandable beyond the particular context of the site are encouraged.

Wood materials offer unique construction solutions to address the issue of global urban housing needs. Entrants will be challenged to propose construction systems that draw on the performance characteristics of a variety of wood technologies. Design solutions must use wood as the primary structural system. Any sustainably-harvested wood material or product is possible, even those not yet invented.

An ability to connect the wood construction system and building techniques to the local forest industry within South Africa is preferred but not mandatory. Ideas that will help enhance South African forest management and forest products are encouraged.

We are happy to announce that the Jury of Andrew Waugh, Michael Green and Richard Stretton have chosen the winners of the 2015 Treehousing International Wood Design Competition.




Ayla Harvey – Durban, South Africa

“The jury appreciates this solution in the way in which it reinforces both the sense of community within the building and the opportunity for adaptive use over time. The solution is appropriate and in scale and in climatic response. The wood superstructure is playful and imaginative capturing the dynamic spirit of urban life.”


Glen Stellmacher, Coby Vardy, Sarah Wondrasek, William Watson, Cormac Deavy – Seattle, USA

“The Nkosi Market design represented the strongest point tower design of all the submissions. The tower and the open canopy ground plane marry a traditional timber language with a modern tower expression. The jury appreciated the appropriate ground plane response to the site and street edges and the use of locally sourced wood materials. The submission shows a good understanding of South African forestry and forest products.”




Tatiana Chatziioannou, Soufiane Chibani – Grenoble, France and Munich Germany

“This project was a strong favourite among the jury and recognized as a very competent and practical solution to the site and to the challenges of timber technology. The scale and stepping of the building forms with their landscaped roofs are appropriate to the livability of the site and neighbourhood. There is a coherent spatial hierarchy on the ground floor with a perimeter block development and controlled interior courtyard scaling up through the height of the building. This is considered to be an entirely buildable scheme and was a very strong submission.”




Adrianna Colon, Isaias Rubert – San Juan, Puerto Rico



Javier Mosquera Gonzalez – Madrid, Spain