Ancient Tree Civilization & Residence Future International Architectura Competition
“I have lived many years for ideals which I would never be able to explain to myself; but I do something entirely good; I live on trees.” —The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
Frost falls when bears climb trees, mountain grove is empty where deer drink water from a creek. —Hiking in Lushan Mountain by Mei Yaochen
Trees are doubtlessly deemed as a natural symbol, but we have always abstractly held a discussion on how architecture should treat the issues of the nature. If we directly interpret the abstract issues to concrete ones, the discussion would be how a building or a cluster of buildings should deal with the relation of trees (and relative things of the nature).
Trees are the embrace of the earth. If trees disappear, humans will disappear too. Forests have existed since the time when humans were born. Ancient trees or famous trees are all the precious capital of the nature which are witnesses to the evolution of the nature. We shall guard these ancient trees or famous trees throughout the world and create a coexistence future of sustainability both for humans and trees and forests. Ancient trees and humans will continue to breed in an endless succession.
It is like the film Up produced by Pixar that most people will resonate with some certain imagery in their childhood, and “live on trees” is a common imagery. However, “live on trees” does not mean dwelling in the trees, while it is an impulse or a will from the origin. In the process of modern society development themed with urbanization, architecture of modernization and post-modernization undoubtedly take up the largest percentage.
From ancient time till now, urban life hasn’t been the entire life of humans in society and with culture. Humans have always got a different cultural residence and psychological place on a certain land of isolation. These comfort and desire will finally be expressed concisely and concretely as a dreamlike hope – “tree residence”. What is this comfort like in the end? The discussion and probing continue endlessly, but the conclusion is always varied.
For this reason, we shall clearly point out how we should find the desired answer when having a conversation with trees. And perhaps, among the answers submitted by the entrants, some will have a natural spark, and one of them is possibly the best answer.
Ancient Tree Civilization and Residence Future International Design Competition is initiated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), organized by Kaisen Holding Group and executed by RIBA WFOE. With designverse and Young Bird Plan as strategic cooperative partners, this competition is released and open to all individuals and groups in global design fields.
— Site Description —
The site is located at Kaisen Thousand Year Ancient Trees Garden in Pingan Village, Baitang Town, Boluo County, Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, China. The total area is about 26.27ha. It is on the northwestern hillside of Guangdong Xiangtoushan National Nature Reserve and is embraced by numerous hills and mountains as well as ancient trees.
The project is located in the 1.5 hour economic circle of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, China. It is merely 3 kilometers away from the Pingan Highway Exit of G0422 Xinbo Highway. The transportation is convenient.
The project, with the focus on the Thousand Year Ancient Trees Garden, radiates to the surrounding land of approximately 1333.33ha including three villages – Gudong Village, Pingnan Village and Jiaomu Village. The accessibility of transportation to three villages along the national road S244 is good.
— Jury Panel —
Azlina BULMER：Director of InternationalRoyal Institute of British Architects
MENG Jianmin：Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering
Benedetta Tagliabue：Jury of Pritzker Prize / Co-founder of EMBT / 2013 RIBA Jenckes Award
Ryue Nishizawa：2010 Pritzker Prize winner/ Co- Founder of SANAA
Chien Chung PEI：Founding Partner of PEI Architects
Thomas Heatherwick：Founder of Heatherwick Studio
Roberto BANNURA：Partner of Steven Holl Architects
Steven SMIT：Director of MVRDV Asia
TANG Yibin：Design Director of Kaisen Holding Group
Jury’s Rights: Appraisal and Selection of TOP30 & TOP6 & the Champion
— Design Goals —
The Kaisen Thousand Year Ancient Trees Garden is embraced by numerous ancient trees including over two hundred precious famous trees of the saved Ficus religiosa and Lagerstroemia speciose and Bischofia javanica, with diameter at breast height of 1~2 meters and even more than 3 meters. “Home in ancient trees, protection for thousand years.” The Ancient Trees Garden is creating a natural gravitational field of physical things, information and energy, and aims at protecting ancient trees and famous trees for its longevity and cultural inheritance. It protects a living fossil of civilization, explores the coexistence between humans’ return and ecology, establishes the research on ancient trees’ culture and art, and puts the sustainable ancient trees industry into practice.
The entrants(individuals/groups) of this competition are expected to fully consider the relationship of the buildings within the site and numerous ancient trees as IP. The theme of this competition, i.e., protection, return, inheritance, shall be expressed obviously. The relation of ancient trees’ civilization, humans and trees as well as nature is the core exploration and pursuit of this design. Designers shall design on the basis of this theme.
Designers shall focus on the design principle, design method and technical route of ecological architecture, and fully consider the specific ecological and cultural environment of this Ancient Trees Garden. The general layout of buildings shall be based on the ultimate expression of the idea that man is an integral part of nature. The design shall strive for the harmonious coexistence of buildings, trees, mountains and water, promote humans’ return to forests, construct home for humans’ spirit and soul.
Construct new ecology of “humans and trees” that man is an integral part of nature—
Construct the most appropriate ecological system for the growth of ancient trees
Form a strong natural ecological field of energy
Create the ultimate ecological lifestyle in the China Great Bay Area
Establish the leading technological and ecological protection system and technological life system
1. The relation of ancient trees’ civilization, humans and trees as well as nature is the core exploration and pursuit of this design. Design is based on this theme, i.e., it meets the demand and provides a solution for ancient trees manor as an international manor of culture, education, charity, wellness at first level with special characters of design.
2. This project should reveal actively the atmosphere of an entire manor which immerses people in an aesthetic environment of nature and ancient trees as well as humanitarian excellence.
3. To deal with the relation of buildings and big trees’ landscape is especially important. To deal with the relation of a unit and its surroundings from angles of traffic organization, open space, the transition of indoors and outdoors, site condition, nature resources, etc. Buildings are designed to bring active impacts on environment.
4. Designers should reasonably focus on the combination principle of building space, traffic circulation of inside and outside, function organization, and fully consider the connection and integration of environment indoors and outdoors.
5. Meanwhile, design should meet the requirements of building functions and the technical requirements of materials, construction and structure, fire protection, physical environment, etc.; erect an overall idea of architectural design (unity of space environment, style shaping, technical construction, etc.).
6. An optimized scheme on site plan should be provided in the design of a unit according to the entrant’s design idea and the actual needs of usage.
7. Designers should pay attention to form treatment, style shaping, elevation design, material of outer skin and expression of details, and create a unique building that integrates into its environment.
8. Designers should combine the design with the natural environment of ancient trees, reasonably deal with circulation of humans, vehicle and goods, reasonably determine the main and subsidiary entrance/exit, staff entrance/exit, goods entrance/exit, garbage/sewage exit, parking, etc. to avoid the disturbance of humans and vehicle, humans and goods.
9. Designers should fully consider the harmonious dialogue between the overall scheme and other buildings of this project when dealing well with the relationship of ancient trees as IP/natural landscape/the buildings within the site.
10. To synchronize with the article 9 stated above, the interactive relation of the 1333.33ha land panning of wellness and the overall scheme should be fully considered. Through analysis of architectural design and operation model, designers should study the possibility and the relation of cause and effect regarding the mutual upgrading of the design result of this competition and the entire planning.
Project site and design involved function regions relation (For index, please see Information Kit)
Design of the entire manor environment and atmosphere, and architectural design of the following units,
1. YD-01 Ancient Trees Wellness Hotel;
2. YD-07 Hotel Villa Guesthouse;
3. YD-08 Hillside Villa;
4. YD-11 Mountain Top Big House B;
5. YD-13 Mountain Top Big House D;
(Select one of 4/5)
6. YD-15 Hillside Townhouse;
7. YD-16 Hotel Tree House Guesthouse
For the specific land code and the detailed function names of the land use indicators, please see Land Use Code and Index Chart.
Designers can determine the auxiliary functions and space of the buildings at their will.
— Design Requirements —
The scheme should appropriately deal with partition of functions, circulation organization, big tree landscape and space layout, pay attention to the combination of inside and outside environment, deal well with the transition of space indoors and outdoors as well as the relation of permeability, and consider energy saving and sustainable development. The quantity of floors are determined by designers, but it shall not be too tall. The architectural style reveals the local characters and the characteristics of the times. Design should comply with relative design rules in China. It should express the solemn atmosphere of the entire manor through the landscape and the cluster of buildings.
— Evaluation Criteria—
According to the competition concept and design goals, the basic evaluation principles are set as follows:
1. Principle of space function and combination: According to the design challenges stated above, design shall reveal the prototype of different functions and evolution logic, and fully express the forms and functions.
2. Fully consider nature and ancient trees as IP: According to the proposition concept and the design challenges stated above, fully consider various elements of the site culture and natural conditions including site/plantings/climate etc. in response to related design.
3. Principle of sustainable influence: According to the proposition concept stated above, this project is the initial phase project, and the future phase should be combined to consider the overall needs and achieve the goal of the initial phase driving the future phase.
4. Principle of cost control: Based on the principle of solid, pragmatic, beauty, the cost control is adopted as one of the evaluation criteria.
5. Principle of environmental protection and sustainability: After the consideration of all the principles stated above, the principle of environmental protection and sustainability will be deemed as one of the evaluation criteria.
Beside the principles stated the above, the scheme should appropriately deal with partition of functions, circulation organization, big tree landscape and space layout, pay attention to the combination of inside and outside environment, deal well with the transition of space indoors and outdoors as well as the relation of permeability, and consider energy saving and sustainable development. The quantity of floors are determined by designers, but it shall not be too tall. The architectural style reveals the local characters and the characteristics of the times. Design should comply with relative design rules in China. It should express the solemn atmosphere of the entire manor through the landscape and the cluster of buildings.
— Timeline —
2021/01/11 Call for entries
2021/04/11 Registration deadline
2021/04/11 Submission deadline
2021/04/20 Release of Top 100
2021/04/20 Release of Top 30
2021/04/30 Release of Top 6
2021/06/11 Release of Top 3 and the Champion
Protection of Ancient Trees, Forests and Civilization!
RIBA，Kaisen Holding Group，RIBA WFOE，Young Bird Plan
Link to Competition
Link to Registration form
First Prize (Champion) : 1 winner
1.5 million RMB (pre-tax) + RIBA Trophy + RIBA Certificate of Honor
Second Prize (Top 6) : 5 winners
200,000 RMB each (pre-tax) + RIBA Trophy + RIBA Certificate of Honor
Top 30 : 24 winners
RIBA Trophy + RIBA Certificate of Top 30 Honor + Work Publication
RIBA Certificate of Top 100 Honor + Work Publication
*Award money is sponsored by the organizer Kaisen Holding Group. Trophy and certificate of honor are provided by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Type of Competition
Open to the public/Minimum requirements (Open to anyone that complies with the requirements), Single stage (Winners selected immediately)
Who can Participate
1. All individuals and groups can participate this competition. If it is involved that the design is adopted for landing, the possible cooperation shall be based on the contact signed by the individual’s company, thus, the individual entrant shall coordinate with its company on the corresponding issues.
2. There is no limitation on quantity of members for each group, but the group leader shall be a professional architect whose company information must be filled out.
3. Each participant has to register on our website; for any question, please visit our website.
— Registration —
1. Please register by logging into our official website: www.designverse.com.cn
2. For the latest information about this competition, please follow the official WeChat account: designverse设计宇宙; the official Weibo account: @YoungBirdPlan
3. You can directly contact the competition team by adding YoungBirdPlan as one of your Wechat friends. We remain at your service here for any further questions you may have.
Dates and Time Frame
Registration Closes April 11, 2021
Deadline to Submit Project April 11, 2021
Winners announcement Date June 11, 2021
Location of Competition
Location of Project (if developed)
Banner, Poster, Brochure or Triptic of Competition