An inventive water-distilling device, a community-focused guest house and a hostel providing in-patient treatment to Indigenous Australians prove that design can be a powerful agent for social change. Here are the recipients of the 2018 AZ Awards of Merit in the Social Good category.
Project: BIO Water Distilling Device Designer: Ben Kaufmann of Carleton University, Canada
There are currently over 1,100 boil-water advisories across Canada, with First Nations communities the most affected. Ben Kaufmann realized the most efficient way to provide clean water to these remote areas, rather than flying or trucking in bottles, would be to distill it on-site. His BIO modular distiller was engineered for maximum efficiency, especially when running off its own power supply (a biomass stove that works off-grid), but it can also operate using a kitchen stove or other heat source. The sleek, portable distiller has a copper tubing condenser that channels purified water to standard water-cooler jugs, producing up to 15 litres of potable water daily.
Project: Miaoxia Community Guest House Location: Miaoxia, China Firm: Insitu Project, Hong Kong
Miaoxia, a rural village in Sichuan Province, exemplifies the casualties of China’s rapid urbanization: It’s impoverished and hollowed out, with an aging population and dwindling farming revenues. The Miaoxia Community Guest House, renovated and expanded to accommodate an additional 20 people in six rooms, was constructed with the participation of more than 70 local elders in an attempt to boost tourism. In the past, efforts to draw groups and generate new revenue for the village failed due to a lack of accommodations; operating as a co-op, the new guest house, built with a traditional nail-free technique of interlocking beams (which makes the wood-framed structure highly resistant to earthquakes), marks the first step toward making other initiatives possible.
Team: Peter Hasdell and Kuo Jze Yi with Clarence Ku and Tan Ming
Project: Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel Location: Fitzroy Crossing, Australia Firm: iredale pedersen hook, Australia
Disproportionately afflicted by end-stage renal disease, Indigenous Australians in the town of Fitzroy Crossing were once faced with a choice between seeking treatment in Perth – more than 2,500 kilometres away – or dying at home. The town’s new hostel provides in-patient treatment and hosts visitors, keeping families together. Though simply constructed, outlying guest buildings honour the locals’ way of life: They’re separated to enable the observation of people and animals moving across the landscape (a response to the tradition of “cultural surveillance”) while ample open-air spaces and landscaping support outdoor cooking and even edible plants from residents’ homelands.
Team: Finn Pedersen, Adrian Iredale, Martyn Hook, Rebecca Angus, Jordan Blagaich, Rebecca Hawkett, Jason Lenard, Craig Nener, Nikki Ross and Leo Showell with BCA Consultants, Ri-con Contractors, Terpkos Engineering and horticulturalist Tim Willing