Kenyan architecture firm BellTower has won the Lexus Design Award 2020. The firm’s winning entry, Open Source Communities, proposed using open-source smart planning tools to design affordable communities that have sustainable access to clean water. The entry’s model photographs and renderings show a small white structure elevated slightly above the ground crowned by a slanted ring-like roof, similar to a hat or hoop circling a post.
The Lexus Design Award is a promotional program for the international car company. It pairs finalists with mentors who help entrants refine their designs so that one can be picked as the winner, and finalists are given about $25,000 to build a prototype of their designs. Lexus started the competition in 2013 to “to nurture up-and-coming designers and help them realize their vision around the future of design,” according to the company’s website.
This year’s competition received 2,042 total submissions from 79 countries. The entries were judged according to “the three key principles of the Lexus brand: Anticipate, Innovate and Captivate in the quest for a Better Tomorrow,” according to a press release from Lexus. This year’s judges were Paola Antonelli, Jeanne Gang, John Maeda, and Simon Humphries. The mentors were Joe Doucet, Bethan Gray, Philippe Malouin, and Shohei Shigematsu.