Architecture of Necessity

The international competition Architecture of Necessity is a part of the project WOOD2022 that Virserum Konsthall arrange with the support from the Municipality of Hultsfred and the Regional Federation of Kalmar County. The international manifesto on the Architecture of Necessity was first launched in 2009. Earlier exhibitions in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 have together received 600 entries from more than 40 countries.

The international manifesto on the Architecture of necessity was first formulated in 2009 by Claes Caldenby, professor of architectural theory and history at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, Fredrik von Platen, former assistant director-general at Boverket and Henrik Teleman, at that time the head of Virserum Konsthall.

The Architecture of Necessity encourages dialogues about the basic values of architecture. A humble questioning of the living and consumption patterns that developed during the last century, which intersects many traditional political barriers.

You can read the whole manifesto here


This year, as in previous years, the triennial Architecture of Necessity has revolved around the themes that the manifesto from 2009 highlights. An architecture that is responsible, caring, sustainable, fair and open. For this year’s competition, the jury asked the contestants to pay particular attention to the rurbana in architecture and planning. Rurban, an amalgamation of the words rural and urban, highlights the areas where rural and urban areas meet, or overlap. The entries that the Jury 2022 has selected to represent the competition here in the exhibition highlight these aspects.


It has been important for the jury that the projects show an understanding of the contexts they were built in. An architecture that becomes part of its surroundings, shows local design language and adds a functionality that was previously missing, has been rewarded. The use of local and traditional materials favors sustainability, as they are often already adapted to local climatic stresses. Locally produced material also significantly reduces transport. This year’s jury has noticed and been impressed by a tendency among the entries to have their origins in activism. A quest for change with social ambitions.

Represented in the exhibition are contributions from:

70° N arkitektur 
Architect Maria Isabel Vásquez Durán 
Architektur 6h, Reginald Eckhoff 
Architects Davidsson Tarkela 
Arqto Casal 
Atelier Krecl
bioDigital Matter, Lund University  
Chaal Chaal Acency 
Comas Pont Arquitectes 
The Royal Danish Academy, Scchool of Architecture 
dwp | design worldwide partnership 
GIPP arkitektur
Hollmén, Reuter, Sandman
Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects
Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects
Kaunitz Yeung Architecture
Konstantin Ikonomidis
Luis Alberto Menendez 
Matyáš Barák 
Peeter Pere Arhitektid 
Ravnikar Potokar architecture office
RO&AD Architecten
Rockhill and Associates, Dan Rockhill
Siegel & Strain Architects and John Northmore Roberts & Associates 
SkyTimber, Tropical Renewable Architecture Design 
Studio Appelo
SPG Architects
Studio Suddo Neuve
TAG atelier d’architecture 
Universidad del Norte, Alexander Stward Niño Soto 
White Arkitekter AB, Anders Medin
Wolff Architects 
Xopa Architecture Bureau 

The jury in 2022 consisted of:

Claes Caldenby, professor emeritus in the theory and history of architecture, Chalmers University of Technology.
Nils Björling, architect SAR/MSA, PhD, university lecturer in civil engineering and planning, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology.
Marine Miroux, architect DPLG, currently works at ZRS Architekten Ingenieure.
Leon Radeljić, M.Sc. architecture, currently working at ZRS Architekten Ingenieure.
Ogmund Sørli, architect MNAL, Partner Pir II. Katy Chada, architect MNAL, Partner Pir II.

Read more about the jury here.

Jury motivation, winners: 

Gyaan Ashray, Ahmedabad, India Chaal Chaal Agency 

This extremely charming project shows what an activism-based student project can achieve in collaboration with marginalised groups, in this case women who have taken the initiative to gather in the evening on roof terraces to learn reading, writing and arithmetics. 

The ephemeral nature of the construction is in a way a promise of its long-term sustainability. With the cheapest possible reusable materials it creates both climate protection and a desired privacy for the women, which could guarantee its reproducibility.

Hostels for School girls, Tanzania Hollmén, Reuter, Sandman 

This project fulfils all requirements for an Architecture of Necessity. In a simple, yet beautiful architecture it reinvents the classical typology of the cloister, creating a protected space for young schoolgirls, empowering them and ensuring they get their education safely. 

The architects have long experience in handling local conditions, both culturally in the form of user participation and technically in the use of local materials. The project is one in a series, thus having the systemic approach that is essential for a truly sustainable architecture. 

Earth Building Collective, Mako, Senegal Studio Suddo Nueve 

Locally produced earth blocks have great advantages over energy consuming, centrally produced concrete. It is a traditional technique in regions with scarce access to wood and gives good climate control. It can also be developed for use in a more urban context. 

The great leap forward of this project is that it, based on meticulous research, establishes an open building system that is socially sustainable and can develop autonomously in the hands of local craftsmen that are educated and trusted to build according to their own preferences. 

Jury motivation, honorary mentions: 

Local Actvity Center Rybnik, Poland Marlena Wolnik MWArchiteci 

The need for a local meeting point and activity center for both adults and young people was met with a simple wooden structure, developed in collaboration with locals but supported economically by the city administration. Three such centers have been built so far. 

The twisted wooden construction has a clear identity that contrasts with its surroundings. Yet it was simple to build for local contractors, unexperienced in carpentry work. The terrace form has a usable inside as well as outside, for meetings of different scale, for protection and challenges. 

Versus Skatng Rink, Nantes, France TITAN 

In a sensitive classical urban context a modern function, a skating rink for roller derby, was introduced temporarily in a way that invited both activity and laid-back contemplation of city life. The white concrete mimics the classical buildings around the central square. 

The whole structure was made in prefabricated concrete blocks and demountable for rebuilding in another location. The classical moulding of the enclosure was at the same time a reusable multi-purpose seating area. Classical form showed its adaptability. 

Puntukurnu PAMS Healthcare Hub, Newman, Australia KAUNITZ YEUNG Architecture 

This is the first primary healthcare center built in this remote area, 1400km north of Perth. It is financed by a not-for-profit organisation and addresses the health problems of the aborigine population, caused by long-time discrimination and loss of local culture. 

The design is based on consulting the local community over years. The beautiful courtyard is a typology for desert climates. Rammed earth is used for the walls, a sustainable material that is for free. Screens with patterns designed by local artists filters the bright light and give identity. 


Architecture of Necessity Day 2022 

8/9 on site at Virserum’s Art Gallery and via link.

The Architecture of Necessity 2022 has requested projects that examine the potential and challenges of the interaction and conflicts between rural areas and cities. The ”urban” hybrid landscapes that appear create the opportunity for a new architectural thinking for sustainable development. Can we look beyond the division of city and countryside and instead focus on interactions and synergies? Can we create the conditions for greater spatial diversity that strengthens society’s ability to deal with change, especially change that we are not yet aware of?

The built environment we surround ourselves with is a fundamental tool for a fairer and more sustainable social development. Today’s planning and architecture, however, risks being compressed into a few target images for sustainable development. In order to open up a greater spectrum of possibilities, new collaborations are therefore required between public, private and non-profit actors as well as between different planning levels.

The morning’s lectures show, based on Swedish examples, alternatives for sustainable development in the suburban landscape/gap between city and country. With Magnus Fredricson – Strategist for sustainable community development, Skaraborg municipal association and Nils Björling – University lecturer, Architect, Architecture and civil engineering, Stadsbyggnad, research group Urban and regional transformations

The Architecture of Necessity strives to highlight the architectural works that meet the criteria of the manifesto Architecture of Necessity from 2009 and which are at the forefront of rethinking a future with an architecture that is responsible, caring, sustainable, fair and open. Participating during the afternoon were representatives of the winning entries. Kruti Shah from Chaal Chaal Agency, Jenni Reuter from Hollmén, Reuter, Sandman and Thierno Dabo, Micha Kretschmann and Christian Gäth from Studio Suddo Nueve on the afternoon of September 8.