• The annual Cubby House Challenge brings the best and brightest in architectural design to combat youth homelessness. (Featured: 'The Relic' by Porter Davis house designs) (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Five of Australia's best home design firms will go head to head to create the country's most innovative cubby house. The winner will be presented at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Festival next month.
Shami Sivasubramanian

23 Feb 2016 - 11:58 AM  UPDATED 23 Feb 2016 - 5:33 PM

Next month, five of Australia's best building and architecture firms will battle it out to create the country's best kids' cubby house.

Called the Cubby House Challenge, it's an initiative run by youth homelessness charity Kids Under Cover which will take place for the sixth year running as part of the Melbourne international Flower and Garden Show in March.

For Kids Under Cover, an organisation focused on battling youth homelessness, the competition resonates with their mission.

"These funds will be directly invested into preventing youth homelessness, through scholarships and mentoring, as well as the building of studios to accommodate at-risk young people," says Jo Swift, Chief Executive of Kids Under Cover

At its current stage, only designs and graphic renders of each firm's cubby have been submitted. The finished cubbies will be put up for auction, with the proceeds going to Kids Under Cover.

"The country's best auctioneers and real estate agents will be pitted against one another. And each agent will have to come up with a full marketing campaign for each cubby," says Tara Poole, Kids Under Cover's media liason.

Poole also said the competition's auction draws customers from various spheres of society - parents looking for cubbies for their children, organisers of public spaces who provide children equipment in parks, and even property developers.

"One man bought it so he could put it in his very expensive house to increase its value before it went to sale," Poole says.

One of this year's designers, Lachlan Michael from Archsign, who'll be creating 'Duplay', says he's found the experience so far "stressful, but highly enjoyable and rewarding".

Archsign specialises in multi-residential designs such as units and apartments, so when it came to creating a space fit for a kid, the design team used their experience by creating a duplex cubby.

"If there's anything better than one cubby, it's two cubbies," said Michael.

Duplay will have two little front doors that lead to one giant room than can be divided by a curtain, a design they felt would appeal to siblings who may want their own space.

"One side has a kitchenette and the other has a workbench with tools," says Michael.

Part of the design includes an exposed wall that showcases the piping and wiring used for plumbing and electrical work. 

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Festival will be held from March 16 to 20.

More on homeless issues
These brilliant individuals are tackling everyday issues faced by homeless folk
Like where to wash clothes, where to get a haircut and, of course, where to find safe shelter and food. These six initiatives connect homeless folk with the services they need.
Giving homeless women sanitary products along with dignity
Finding a safe place to sleep and food are some of the many challenges that homeless Australians contend with each day. For the women among them there’s another not often spoken of need – sanitary products.