Housing Design Challenge 2018

A city for women is a city for all

The team at the Room beat out more than 400 entries from around the world to be named one of four runners up in Building Trust International’s Housing Design Challenge 2018. Organised in coordination with UNDP and the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ), the competition involved designing modern, affordable homes in urban areas where housing infrastructure has struggled to adapt to rapid economic growth and the resulting numbers of low-income workers flooding to the city to find employment. There has been a particular expansion of the garment sector, where workers are predominantly women.

Our proposal for model social housing in Cambodia is an expression of the company's design approach, which aims to provide a benchmark development to ensure quality of life and security for future residents. Approximately 80 percent of the residents will be female workers, so their needs make up the heart of the proposal: a City for Women. We analysed the typical daily life routine of a female factory worker and designed the city to improve it, including basic housing conditions, future family growth and especially social interactions. The project is filled with public spaces, crucial to a healthy and sustainable urban environment.

Our City for Women is designed to meet the density requirements and budget constraints of the design brief while considering construction materials, adequate accessibility and local climatic conditions. We proposed more than 3,000 affordable apartments, with flexible space usage adjusted to local building traditions and conditions.

A City for Women is a city for all.


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