'100 Mile House' Contest Calls for Truly Local Building

Log cabin

The log cabin is a traditional example of a 100 mile house, according to the AFBC. Photo: Heather Sunderland via Flickr

You’ve heard of living local, but the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia (AFBC) is taking the idea to a new, sustainable level with a community challenge.

The challenge; build a four person, 1,200 square foot home that exclusively uses materials that have been recycled or manufactured less than 100 miles from Vancouver.

The grand prize; $5,000. Another $5,000-worth of other prizes will be distributed among the runners up.

In February, AFBC Chair David M. Hewitt thought up the wild idea before a board meeting, which his colleagues accepted with open arms. The project has been lovingly dubbed ‘The 100 Mile House” and is open to “all creative thinkers” worldwide.

The idea is to cut down on the fuel and energy used to create and transport materials to the build site. By using recycled materials, the home builder is giving items that would previously hog up a landfill new life. The competition also extends to home furnishings. Innovative ideas to make ‘green look ‘sleek are encouraged.

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The mass production and transportation of raw materials has certainly made the modern home less green, but more cost effective. The AFBC acknowledges that, while affordability is important, it is not the focus of the competition.

“Being environmentally conscious is not always dictated by cost,” the foundation says on the 100 Mile website.

The 100 mile house certainly isn’t a new idea. In fact, idea of snagging materials from foreign lands is a 20th and 21st century concept, with the advent of mass production and shipping. Teepees, cedar houses, huts and log cabins were all built using indigenous materials to the respective culture’s land. Really, the 100 mile house challenge is simply a return to our roots, the AFBC contends.

Submissions for the competition will be accepted through April 26, 2012. Winners will be announced May 15.

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