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B.Arch Student Neno Videnovic Wins Paris Affordable Housing Competition

This month, fifth-year B.Arch student Neno Videnovic was announced as the first prize winner of the Bee Breeders Paris Affordable Housing Challenge competition, which took place this past December. Videnovic entered the competition as a component of John Enright’s vertical studio this semester, entitled “Competition x3,” during which participating students were asked to submit proposals to three different international design competitions.

This installment of the Affordable Housing competition was among a series of global housing availability challenges staged by the Bee Breeders organization each year, seeking design brief submissions that address housing scarcity in specific international cities. For its most recent iteration, Bee Breeders tasked participants with proposing sustainable design solutions to Paris’s lack of affordable housing in dense urban areas, which could accommodate the requirements different categories and groups of inhabitants, as well as address any associated logistical or practical challenges.

Videnovic’s proposal Monumental Housing was chosen as the most outstanding design submission for its novel adaptability to the existing urban landscape as well as its creative consideration of the pedestrian culture of Paris, and was selected from a shortlist of 9 finalists from 40 semifinalists by a core jury of disciplinary experts.

For his submission, Videnovic’s project looked at incorporating monument-like structures into the existing street plan of Paris, constructed above the ground among the most central sites of the city, as a sustainable strategy that reserves space for those in need of affordable housing.

“Paris is already very dense and the brief called for something which can be deployed throughout the city,” Videnovic shared about his process for developing his winning design brief. “There's a lot of diagonal streets that intersect with these roundabouts, and they're kind of scattered throughout the city.”

“I found that to be an interesting way to deploy a project,” he continued, “because it's inherent in the city, which already has a sense of place.”

Discussing how he conceived the unique solution for creating monuments on legs, Videnovic said, “I wanted to make sure that the people of Paris that already enjoy these spaces would be able to go there and walk their dogs, read books, etc.”

“It's about creating social housing in these places in the city where monuments have always been; more affordable housing,” he added.

When asked what originally drew him to enroll in Enright’s competition-based vertical studio Videnovic explained, “It appealed to me because I was going into Thesis the following semester and I thought it would help exercise my design muscles in preparation.”

“It was nice to engage with architecture outside of [SCI-Arc],” Videnovic said. “It's an international competition in which you're competing with other students, other professionals, and seeing what it's like out there in the real world.”

Bee Breeders awarded a total of $6,000 in prize money to competition winners, including Videnovic, who additionally will receive international art and design media coverage and be featured on the Bee Breeders website.