And the winners are . .

by Daimen Hardie on April 15, 2016

Isabel Gómez García and Javier Serrano Fajardo of Seville, Spain captured the Jury Award for Architectural Poetry for their powerfully simple 'A Hidden Stone in the Woods'.


Berlin – Damascus – Tokyo – New York: Community Forests International’s tiny shelter competition attracts over 60 submissions from around the world as architects strive to reduce the climate impact of the built environment.  Winning design to be constructed deep in the forests of rural New Brunswick.


Community Forests International’s (CFI) panel of judges faced a larger than anticipated challenge this past week when 62 entries from 24 different countries poured into the organization’s backwoods cabin of the future competition.

Max Rymsha of Lviv, Ukraine placed 2nd with ‘Sun Catcher’: a modern approach to a millennia-old building technology – thatch.


“Most compelling is the thoughtful and innovative use of thatch as a contemporary and very low carbon roofing and siding material. Very few of the submitted cabin designs combined functional, sustainable, and poetic attributes as successfully as this.”

- Craig Applegath (Architect, PPOAA, AAA, AIBC, NSAA, FRAIC, LEED® AP)


Striving to meet the challenging standards set out in the competition criteria, teams from Russia, the United States, Italy, Singapore, Spain and several other countries explored innovative approaches to the traditional backwoods cabin experience.

Tyler Reynolds & Adrienne Gerrits of Halifax, Nova Scotia made the shortlist with their hybrid ‘Acadian Fold’ – a combination of the portable wigwam and traditional Acadian gable dwelling.


“Local Acadian vernacular design is woven seamlessly into this versatile modern cabin that would be a joy to build and a greater delight to inhabit. Ideas of portability and loft sleeping are well integrated into a design that offers versatility and a low-carbon impact.”

- Nathan Fisher (Architect and Winner of CFI's 2014 'blur the lines' competition for his Nomadic Cabin)


The 2016 winning design, titled 'Be a part of nature' and developed by German architecture firm AW+, will be constructed at CFI’s fledgling Rural Innovation Campus in New Brunswick this summer.  The world-class retreat will serve as inspired accommodation for students and innovators in-residence.

'Be a part of nature' by German architecture firm AW+ took the top prize with it's deeply thoughtful design and use of extremely low carbon materials including straw insulation, earthen plaster, and torrified reclaimed wood siding.


“This design did not immediately catch my eye but on a deeper look it had everything we were looking for. Low embodied carbon materials including straw, clay, and local wood while achieving energy efficiency in the design with high R-value insulation and proper ventilation. The moss roof panels also fit perfectly in the design . . . Finally, the long-lasting nature of this design is essential to reducing our carbon footprint, with charred wood to preserve it and a pillar foundation to keep good airflow and reduce the building’s impact in the forest.”

- Estelle Drisdelle (Juror / CFI Co-Founder)


First Vice President of Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad, addressing students at Community Forests Intenational’s sister campus on Pemba Island, Tanzania.


The Rural Innovation Campus is paired with an equivalent facility based in Zanzibar, Tanzania that was constructed in 2013 as a hub for CFI’s East African projects.   Both centers strive to bring awareness, training, and applied solutions to global challenges - such as food, water, energy insecurity, economic exclusion, and climate change - while maintaining a uniquely rural focus.

Will you help us build the winning design? Check out our new video and campaign for the backwoods cabin of the future.




1st Prize

Be a part of nature


1st Runner-up

Sun Catcher
Max Rymsha
Lviv, Ukraine


Jury Award for Architectural Poetry

A Hidden Stone in the Woods
Isabel Gómez García & Javier Serrano Fajardo
Seville, Spain


Jury Award for Soul

“Everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul.”

 – Sambo Mockbee


Jason Orbe-Smith (Designer)
Los Angeles, USA

Guillaume Fabre (Low-Carbon Consultant)
Shanghai, China


People's Choice Award

Brunswick Hickory Cabin
M. Aravinth Kumar, S. Froz, P. Mahadevan, B. Convind Raj
Tamilnadu, India





Shelter two+(one)
Vladimir Sergeev

Be a part of nature

Alecsander Gonçalves & Deyvison Estevan Madeira
São Paulo, Brazil

Milind Goel
Tokyo, Japan

Analog Cabin
Troy Holloway
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Mino House
Katsuya Arai

Bower Retreat
Carmine D'Alessandro & Kate Brown
Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

The Pillar
Angele Clarke & Colin Simic

Sun Catcher
Max Rymsha
Lviv, Ukraine

Acadian Fold
Tyler Reynolds & Adrienne Gerrits
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


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