Conversations about Climate Change Design Competition, Architecture Contest 2020

Climate Change Design Competition

5 June 2020

Climate Change Design Contest

“Conversations about Climate Change” Design Competition

Supported by the Department for International Development, the Timber Trade Federation has launched a “Conversations about Climate Change” design competition.

“Conversations about Climate Change” is a specially commissioned design competition, exhibition, and events series providing a platform for urgent climate debates.

Setting the challenge of creating ‘conversation’, the Timber Trade Federation is calling for innovative, playful, and thought-provoking designs from architects, designers and craftspeople using sustainably sourced tropical timber. Deadline for entries is 24th August.

Six winning designs will be chosen to be made and showcased at The Building Centre in London in association with the Timber Trade Federation. The exhibition will take place throughout November and feature tropical timbers from responsible sources to demonstrate the importance of this natural resource.

The Context

2020 had been designated a super year for climate conversations with COP26 scheduled to take place in November. Now postponed due to the global COVID 19 pandemic, the battle against climate change remains an urgent threat to humanity.

Timber is the only truly sustainable, natural, and beautiful construction material. Wood absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere, and it is estimated that one tonne of carbon dioxide is absorbed for every cubic metre of timber used in construction.

Sustainable forest management is an essential solution to the emission reduction needed for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. Timber is a low carbon material, with forests acting as the ‘lungs of the earth’ extracting CO2, regulating the earth’s temperature, and providing biodiverse ecosystems. However, tropical forests have often been undervalued and cleared for agricultural development, rather than sustainable timber production.

Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) is the UK & EU’s Action Plan to combat illegal logging, subsequent trade, and deforestation, by introducing forest monitoring, auditing, multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement with local communities. This landmark shift in governance and procurement means FLEGT licensed timber is a safe, legal, and responsible form of timber which will help keep forests standing.

The Challenge

“Conversations about Climate Change” encourages designers, architects, and craftspeople to consider their role as a specifier, stimulating conversation about material provenance and its place in the climate debate. The ‘conversation pieces’ could be furniture, sculpture, a model or functional design object – anything, as long as it stimulates a conversation about material provenance and its place in the climate debate, and draws inspiration from the palette of tropical hardwood species selected.

Six winners will be chosen by an expert judging panel to be fabricated for the show. All winners will be provided with sustainably sourced FLEGT tropical hardwood and a £1,000 maker’s bursary. The winning designs will be created using tropical hardwood species from the fifteen countries engaging with the FLEGT Action Plan, through the Timber Trade Federation’s members.

All entrants will have their designs exhibited in an online gallery and a shortlist will be displayed in the exhibition at the Building Centre in London in November, timed to mark the original date of COP26 and highlighting the vital role for tropical forests in the climate debate.

Full details on how to enter and available resources can be found at:

Climate Change Design Competition 2020 information / image received 050620

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