Much like the world “slow,” nowadays you can insert the term “100-mile” in front of pretty much anything, not just edibles, to give whatever it is instant sustainable cred — a green stamp of approval particularly popular in Canada that indicates local-ness or, to be more exact, local-ness under a 100-mile radius. Hell, there’s even a 100-mile toy company in Toronto.
Now, from the very city that birthed the 100-Mile Diet concept — or the locavore-minded best-seller and resulting reality show, anyway — comes the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia’s 100-Mile House Open Ideas Competition, a global design contest that challenges participants to conceive a four-person abode under 1,200-square feet using only materials and systems sourced within a 100-mile radius of Vancouver, B.C. It doesn’t matter if the materials involved are made, manufactured, or recycled, as long as they’ve been acquired within 100-miles they make the cut. Outlined in the competition brief, affordability and abiding by local zoning laws, while all good and certainly worthy of brownie points, are not the focus here. As pointed out by Ariel Schwartz over at Co.Exist, not focusing on affordability does make things a bit easier for participants as it can be more pricey to work with locally sourced materials than cheap stuff imported from afar.
More from the brief:
Historically, most houses were constructed as ’100 mile’ houses from caves, sod houses, log cabins and stone houses to the First Nations’ indigenous cedar houses, tepees and igloos. People worldwide used whatever available materials were at hand to build shelters for themselves and their families. But is this possible in a modern 21st Century city like Vancouver? This competition will challenge all participants to rethink the way we live and select materials, systems and technology that reflect this reality in the world of computers, the internet, Facebook, etc… Participants are encouraged to challenge the logic of the present, formulate new questions, and explore variations that will allow new potentials for living.
Challenging stuff indeed. And to slightly confuse things, there’s an actual town in British Columbia named 100 Mile House that calls itself “The Handcrafted Log Home Capitol of North America.” Named because of its distance from the starting point of the Old Cariboo Wagon Road, the community is not within 100 miles of Vancouver (more like 279 miles by car). This is rather unfortunate as participants will not be able to design their 100-mile house using materials, logs or otherwise, actually sourced from 100 Mile House. Oh well.
Interested participants can register to submit their 100-Mile dream home concepts up until April 19 and, again, it’s an international competition so they needn’t be homegrown talent living within 100 miles of Vancouver (although I imagine it would certainly help) to enter. First-prize winner receives $5,000.
Learn more over at the 100 Mile House Open Ideas Competition homepage. GOOD also recently published a brief profile of an existing 100-mile house (in B.C., natch) in conjunction with the launch of the competition. Says the home’s owner, writer and environmental activist Briony Penn: “The 100-mile house is just fun. It provides a fun way to define how you're going to build a house, because you go out and you talk to all your neighbors, and it builds community and puts money back in the hands of everybody in your community."
Interesting. If I were to build a home entirely from items sourced from my immediate community in Brooklyn, it would end up being constructed from Snapple bottles, maraschino cherries, driftwood, and IKEA meatballs. And it would be built by babies, feral cats, and bartenders.