U.Va. ecoMOD Project Is Finalist in 2009 World Habitat Awards Program

October 10, 2008 — The University of Virginia's ecoMOD Project is one of 12 finalists selected for a World Habitat Award.

Given annually by the Building and Social Housing Foundation, two World Habitat Awards go to projects from the global North as well as the South that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems. Only four U.S. projects have been winners of the prestigious international competition since the awards began in 1986. The announcement of the two winners is expected in early 2009.

ecoMOD is a design/research/evaluate project directed by John Quale, assistant professor of architecture. P. Paxton Marshall, professor of engineering, is the engineering director.

"The recognition of ecoMOD as a finalist in the World Habitat Awards Program is terrific news and demonstrates the value of design in addressing some of the urgent matters of our time," Karen Van Lengen, dean of the School of Architecture.

She added,"I am proud of the work of John Quale, Paxton Marshall and their students in creating such a successful and well-conceived program."

The primary goal of ecoMOD is to "create a series of ecological, modular and affordable house prototypes." To date, ecoMOD has built three modular homes with plans for a fourth underway.

"This recognition is meaningful for the ecoMOD project because the emphasis of the World Habitat Award program is on visionary yet realistic affordable housing strategies that have an emphasis on sustainability," Quale said. "It's nice to be included in a small, select group of initiatives from around the world. It's a real testament of the efforts of the students, faculty, outside professionals and community members that have had a hand in our applied research project."

Marshall was also pleased by the international accolade.

"We are delighted that our students are getting recognition for their commitment to developing sustainable and affordable housing options," he said. "Their efforts have demonstrated the capability of cutting home energy use in half without sacrificing livability or affordability.”

An award of £10,000 — more than $17,000 — is presented to each winner at the annual United Nations global celebration of World Habitat Day, held the first Monday of October.