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K-State Today

January 24, 2019

APDesign architecture student wins in international design competition

By Thom Jackson

Nicholas Horvath, a fifth-year graduate student in the architecture department at Kansas State University's College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, is winner of one of the six honorable mentions in the international Silent Meditation Forest Cabins Competition for his entry titled "Frame." Horvath also was the only recipient of an award from the United States out of more than 84 project entries.

The competition is an open international contest for a series of off-the-grid meditation cabins in rural Latvia. It is organized in collaboration with Ozolini, a Latvian tea company.

The competition sought eco-friendly and cost-effective proposals for an easily constructible and replicable 15-square-meter hut that could be sited in a series of forested locations across the Ozolini farm. The cabins are intended to provide users a calm space to meditate while surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Designers were asked to propose a series of cabins that have the capacity to: provide comfortable living accommodation to a single person for four to five days; be operational in all seasons; contain sufficient clear floor area for meditation; include small food and water storage; be mosquito proof; incorporate alternative lighting options; and include a heating system for winter months.

Asked about what architecture means to him and what is the role of an architect in society, Horvath responded, "Architecture to me can be defined as the development of a place within the greater story of its context. The role of the architect is to generate a design that will enhance the users’ experience, while at the same time adhering to and enhancing the story of the surrounding context. Architects have the ability to shape society, so they must do it with a sense of humility, responsibility and a passion for their communities."

"I am proud of Nick's initiative to tackle this competition outside of the normative significant demands of his curricular studies," said Tim de Noble, dean of the College of Architecture, Planning & Design. "Frame is a sublimely beautiful project, worthy of recognition. I hope it is built someday … in a locale that I can access!"

The winning proposals are now considered for construction and designs for the Silent Meditation Forest Cabins were to primarily focus on eco-friendly and cost-effective building techniques, to be models for one of Europe's greenest countries.

Designs were judged for their integration within the forest and sensitivity to the environment. A range of ideas was submitted for cabins that have the capacity to interact with the forest in a variety of ways.

This competition is part of a series organized by Bee Breeders focused on designs for compact living spaces integrated within nature.