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Architects and builders create cool "cubby houses" for a good cause

Leading Australian architects and builders are again tackling the Under Cover Cubby House Challenge, an annual competition demonstrating sustainable building design to create fun and unique play "cubbies", while raising money for Kids Under Cover who support homeless and at-risk children.

2011 Entry - 'The Milk Bar' by Good Constructions & Atkinson Pontifex, with Maddison Architects uses funky colourful recycled milk crates.

This year's event, including an auction and raffle is held at the Cubby House Village at the Melbourne International Flower Show from Wednesday 26 March to Sunday 30 March 2014 in Australia.

2014 Concept Entries

'King of the Castle' (left) by Carr Architecture & De Carolis is a reference to the dreams of young kids to be King's of their own castle on the playground! Featuring a fireman's pole and porthole windows, the form with its fluted top reflects the castle's tower embattlements.

Right, 'Cloud Climb' by Studio You Me & Tandem with Fridcorp & Luxe Property is a slick and 'modern' miniature home featuring a kitchen with island bench, blackboard walls, internal stair case to the first floor loft, operable roof and a suspended hammock floor.

'Caravan Me Happy' by Little Green Room is inspired by childhood summer holidays. Using only sustainable products the curving caravan form appeals to the 'inner child' of all ages. 'The Hatch' (right) by Porter Davis Homes resembles a forest hut. Externally, angled walls, weathertex cladding, plywood and a rust-iron finish to the entrance is combined with a play bench, comfy corner seating and a colourful ball pit internally make for a snuggly hideaway.

Left is 'The Grubby' by Cedar Woods Properties and dKO Architecture with Madison Projects, which is based on children's building blocks. The design encourages children to immerse themselves in a world that they will build themselves; with an assortment of features including an interactive pegboard wall, climbing net, dress-ups and chalkboards.

'Switch' by Sabi Designs with Harris HMC (right) is designed to allow children to "switch on" their imaginations. The cubbie's 'tools' to accommodate this include a garden, wall art and LEGO. The construction utilises sustainable materials and techniques, solar energy and pump based rainwater.

Previous Years Entries

The 2011 winner designed by Nixon Tulloch Fortey Architecture with builder BD Projects is the 'Open House'....(via)

"We saw the cubby a little like an empty cardboard box that can be turned into anything," says architect Brett Nixon. "Children have unclouded imaginations that create play and scenarios out of the most simple things." 

The house opens towards the ground and sky, and then closes up into a single form - a recognizable, ordinary form 'the crayon house you sketched on paper that once seemed so very big.'

From the 212 challenge, 'Cubby Life' designed by Six Degrees Architects and built by Ducon "is a sanctuary that kids can retreat to a place of their own, where the screen-mediated world is unplugged and where they can embrace their dreams and their friendships. Its innovative, sustainable design encourages kids to commune with nature, to interact with the space and to let their imaginations run free” says the team. The design featuring botanical walls, a planter fed by rainwater run-off, recycled timbers, plywood, pigeon holes and under-seat storage and a day-bed offering a soft surface on which to play, converse or nap.

Also from 2012 is 'The Bird's Nest', designed by Australian politician Ted Baillieu (previously an architect) and Australand. A cosy wee hideaway for "nesting" in.

Above are a selection of the 2013 entries - including ‘Mini Giant’ by Maddison Architects with Stonehaven Homes; ‘Your Name Here’ by Gunn Dyring Architects with David McDonald Builders; ‘The Zimmer’ by Porter Davis; and ‘Enchanted Cubby House’ by Positive Footprints.

It is great to see architects and builders getting together to create fun and playful spaces not only for the children but for the "inner child" in all. Not only is it a great cause, but advocates a way of designing for children that inspires the imagination.


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