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Architects David Cole and Louise McKillop were visiting schools on the strife-stricken Ma Sot border between Thailand and Burma when they hit their first design challenge. How to create a school building for a community that doesn’t own land – a school that might need to be relocated just months or weeks later?
The young husband and wife, who had quit their London jobs for voluntary jobs abroad, decided a mobile building would probably be the best option. The difficult living conditions they encountered prompted them to invent a challenge for intrepid architects. They set up a competition for mobile school designs and received more than 200 entries from around the world. Each design paid an entry fee – making the competition self-sufficient.
Cole and McKillop have not looked back. Their UK-based NGO Building Trust International has since held three more design competitions across the developing world. Last month 600 teams from countries as diverse as Iran to Nigeria registered for a challenge to design sustainable low-cost housing for Cambodia’s poorest – the 10 best will be built to mark of Habitat Cambodia’s 10 year anniversary and will be on display at Meta House from Thursday.
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