2013 MicroArchitecture subconsent

Sustainable Habitat Challenge 2013 – Call for Entries

Richard Horden "Beach Point" 1997
Richard Horden “Beach Point” 1997

Design a subconsent Surf Lifesaving Tower.
Two or more A3 sheets due 30 Aug 2013 12:00 noon.
How are we going to live well, with purpose, with more community, and with less reliance on resources like materials and energy?
The SHAC Challenge is a way to learn about the building code, experiment with buildings, and to develop prototypes for our new built environment. We designers, engineers, architects, builders, and others will be creating our new built environment for the rest of our lives.
This challenge has entrants considering a a key future design need: structures that sit off of the ground, on potentially adjustable supports.  How is the structure anchored to the ground?  Are the anchors durable? When will the structure overturn?
* Provide a playful competition to help designers, builders and the public better understand the art and science of building.
* Promote design and build as a collaborative, evolutionary process
* Promote the re-use of building materials
* Promote living well, with purpose, and with less reliance on money and resources
* Promote creative responses that do not require a large budget
Design Requirements
* The building must not require building consent, as per the DBH discussion document.  Example exemptions (daawalls fences), (gadecks), (i10m2 buildings), (jveranda/patio/porch/awnings), (jb – pergola), (je – shade sail), (jf – carport), and (k – low cost / consequence).  Exemptions can be combined.
* The building will provide for use as a surf life saving tower. It may also provide other use(s) now or in the future.
* The building may make use of recycled building materials.
* The building may make use of solar energy: eg, passive solar, solar electric, or solar thermal technology.
Entry Requirements and Checklist
* Register for your number here
* Please email your submission to
* Due Date – 30 Aug 2013 12:00 noon [NZ time]
* 150 word description of the project in the body of the email [same as described below]
* ProjectName-SubmissionNumber-A3.pdf
* ProjectName-SubmissionNumber-image.png   [or .jpg or .gif]
* ProjectName-SubmissionNumber-any other file   [could be sketchup, pdf of photos, etc]
* The PDF A3 presentation sheets are what explain the project. This may include sketches, plans, elevations, sections, and/or photos of the materials or techniques to be used.
* Entries not to include your names or logos, only your assigned submission number.
* In 150 words or less explain the following:
a) The project and its purpose, it’s present and potential future uses.
b) Possible methods of construction
c) List the exemptions used from Schedule 1 of the building Act.
d) How the project will be supplied with any electrical power, and water, if needed.
* You may choose to include a sketchup file. Or photos of projects underway are acceptable.
* Please submit all files electronically to
* Maximum size about 20MB per email.
* Submitted designs should be copyrighted under a Creative Commons license of your choice, suggested: “CC-Attribution” or “CC-Attribution-NonCommercial”
* Judging will take place in September-November.
* Best entries will be honoured with awards and prizes
* Submitted designs should be copyrighted by the author(s) under a Creative Commons license of your choice, suggested: “CC-Attribution” or “CC-Attribution-NonCommercial”* Questions can be sent to, and answers will be sent to all registered teams.
* SHAC reserves the right to not accept any entries.
* Best entries will be honoured with awards and prizes.
* All entries may be published by SHAC on our web site or other medium.
* Thank you for your submission!
The Chair - Wilson and Hill Architects
The Chair – Wilson and Hill Architects

More on Surf Life Saving Towers from Surf Life Saving New Zealand >>> (PDF)
Help us advertise – please put up a poster for us:  A3-PDF, A4-PDF
2012 Entries >>>

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

XRoad [2013-52]

A lifeguard tower that is simple, functional and mobile. In its mobile state it functions as a boat trailer, which can easily be erected into a structurally safe lifeguard tower with good view. This gives the design a greater value both for business and private use. It is fully mobile and therefore can be transported during the off season to undergo maintenance and repairs.
The structure evolves around a hollow rectangular shaped aluminium structure used for aircraft construction. It will have tires and regulation standard lights for its mobile, boat trailer, state. Foldable seats will act as a cushion when traveling with a boat. Two people can erect the structure, and access is with small but adequate step/grip handles which will be on both sides of the structure as fixtures to the main structure. Sun shelter will be achieved with collapsible sunroof, which is easy in transportation. Since the structure is made of hollow aluminium material, it is possible to store both water and fuel in it for on beach supply.
XRoad-2013-52-A3_pdf_Page_1-small XRoad-2013-52-A3_pdf_Page_2-small XRoad-2013-52-A3 sm

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

ThreeSixty [2013-29]

This curvaceous, sub consent surf lifesaving tower is designed through several iterations to maximise its 360o views. This design is able to cater for all surf lifesaving requirements including an inside area, desk space, storage, multiple viewing levels and easy access. Its future uses could include being used as a platform to provide seating areas and shelter for people.
This surf lifesaving tower could be constructed using recycled materials such as pre-cut culverts and wooden panels. The base cylinder goes 1.5 metres into the sand providing support to hold up the whole tower. Flexible strips of material are used on the back of the doorway so it can be easily folded and opened. The thicker concrete cylinders are hollowed out so they are less expensive and can be used as storage areas.
ThreeSixty-2013-29-A3_pdf_Page_2-small ThreeSixty-2013-29-image-small ThreeSixty-2013-29-A3 PDF

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

Tripod [2013-26]

This easy to build surf tower, constructed with timber will provide for an elevated platform for lifeguards to keep an eye on the beach. Its angular form is based on the repitition of triangles which create a sense of movement and energy. It is a simple structure that fillfils its purpose effectively.
TheTripod-2013-26 PDF

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

The Pod [2013-19]

The Pod is an environmental solution for a life guard tower.
It features

  • a timber frame to elevate it
  • an aluminum frame
  • layered recycled paper cladding
  • waterproofing heat shrink membrane.

This would be a low cost structure and engage the community by involving them in the completion of the layered paper cladding. Its elliptical shape is reminiscent of an eye, watching out over the beach during the day and closing up at night time. Its large seating area comfortably allows for at least 3 lifeguards, and the storage of equipment inside which is locked up at night. Entry and exit is by a removable ladder, taken to and from The Pod daily. The ladder would feature railings so a guard can slide down and exit The Pod quickly in an emergency. Its futuristic design could completely alter the image of surf life saving in New Zealand.
ThePod-2013-19-A3 PDF

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

Pallet Tower [2013-34]

ThePalletTower-2013-34-image 1-small
By using the modules of a standard NZ pallet (1200mmX1000mmX140mm) you could simply join the modules with bolts, screws, plates, angled brackets, T brackets, nails, and strip braces. Structural uplift is minimized by placing sand bags on the sub-platform compartment. Lateral instability would be resolved by the use of strip braces across selected module-combinations. The cantilevered storage area is secured as the module combination adheres to the 2/3 structural principle, plus the assistance of angled brackets. Essentially, the structure is strong due to the combination of turns and low centre of gravity. It is easily buildable due to the simple (and re-usable) joinery and its simple modular methodology.ThePalletTower-2013-34-A3_pdf_Page_1-small ThePalletTower-2013-34-A3_pdf_Page_2-small ThePalletTower-2013-34-A3 PDF

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

Suspense [2013-23]

Elevation, Accessibility, Awareness.
Accessibility to ensure lifeguards get on and off the lifeguard tower as fast as possible in an emergency situation. The design allows for quick elevation to heights where you can view far into the distance. The platform allows the lifeguard to keep watch over the beach it is also at a height of which you can jump off safely.
The structure is also very abstract in the way its designed, this achieves awareness not only for the lifeguards in the tower but to beach goers and surfers alike, recognition of the lifeguard tower is very important as a means of locating a lost child or keeping an idea where you are in the water.
The tower is to be made of recycled materials such as, recycled floorboards for the timber, recycled piped for supporting structure. And recycled sails or old vinyl signage for the shading system.
Suspense-2013-23 PDF

2013_Challenge_Entries MicroArchitecture SLS2013

Surf life saving tower and bouldering cave [2013-33]

Surf life saving tower and Recreational bouldering cave-2013-33-image-small
The aim of this project was to embody the essence of what it takes to be a life guard. Observation, Strength, and Endurance. To utilize the often wasted and forgotten space under the observation tower we have incorporated a recreational bouldering facility into our design. This also provides a suitable shaded area for emergencies and an excellent strength training facility for the life guards. The best thing a lifeguard can do is talk to the public on safety and keep them informed on beach conditions. Whilst this space encourages recreational use and the interaction between life guards and the public, we have separated it from the most important service of the life guard tower which is observation. The angle and projection of the walls on the tower and open roof immediately force the lifeguards to look out over the beach and onto the ocean. We have also made careful considerations for services and lockable storage facilities.
Surf life saving tower and Recreational bouldering cave-2013-33-A3 PDF

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

Subconsent Surf Life Saving Tower [2013-42]

Our design was inspired by the yellow pages tree house. It has the ability to support its own structure with its domed shape. The lifeguard tower will be constructed from Douglas fir wood because of its durability. strength. and flexibility.
The interior floors will be plywood. Laminated glass will be used for the main windows for its high strength along with wooden joinery for weather tight capacity.
The functionality of our structure focuses on communication and observation by having two separate heights it helps the lifeguards. giving them a wider view when searching for any signs of danger.
There is a short distance between the two towers to ensure quick communication..
SHAC-2013-42-A3_pdf_Page_1-small SHAC-2013-42-A3_pdf_Page_2-small
SHAC-2013-42-A3 PDF

2013_Challenge_Entries SLS2013

Saver Trailer [2013-11]

The Saver Trailer, an innovative mobile lifesaving tower, which focuses on mobility – along and between beaches. The viewing platform, two and a half metres high, is erected, becoming an enclosed or open platform.
A simple pull/push movement of the middle aluminium pole erects and supports the tower which collapses down for transporting/storing. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) clear blinds protect from the rain and wind without compromising observation, while sunny days the attached shaded material protects the guards from sunrays, these can also be rolled up, to any height, to allow air flow.
One side of the trailer folds out to create two solid rope ladders and a canvas slide for a quick descent and access to the tower, while the back folds down to create access to the storage within the trailer that holds chilly binned water and a possible changing room for the lifeguard’s.
SaverTrailer-2013-11-A3_pdf_Page_1-small SaverTrailer-2013-11-A3_pdf_Page_2-small SaverTrailer-2013-11-A3 PDF