Stay tuned for the Global Challenge 2022!

Global Challenge Program Guidelines

The Global Challenge 2021 is calling for high impact community architectural initiatives that have radical potential to improve the lives of rural or urban communities. The submission will be open from June 6 until July 25, 2021.


Center for Culture and Ecology Quiané  ©Paulina Ojeda

What is the Global Challenge?

The Global Challenge is a competition that recognises the best community projects and helps accelerate their development. We select the most impactful initiatives, promote them amongst our global network of partners and connect them through meaningful collaborations.

Why should we submit our community project to the Global Challenge?

The Global Challenge is the one-and-only global program that supports the early phase of bottom-up, community architectural initiatives. It is an opportunity for:

  • Exposure: if your project is eligible and published on the A--D website, it can increase its visibility and credibility among your supporters and potential partners.
  • Network: if your project is selected as a finalist, A--D will become your network partner. You can join our free accelerator that aims to connect our partners and our network resources to your project.
  • Funding & partnership: as a finalist, you will have the opportunity to receive €3,000.- funding or pro bono advice provided by our partners.

What type of projects can I submit? 

Eligible projects must be collective spaces: community learning, living, working spaces, such as schools, libraries, meeting places, community centers, community-led housing or community place-making - but are not limited to these.

Please also check the best practices to learn more about the winner of our Global Challenge 2016 and other projects we love.

What are the submission criteria?

  • Team capacity: there is a core team that demonstrates motivation, leadership, relevant experiences and qualifications to bring the initiative to life.
  • Community involvement: the core team consists of members of the community and representatives who demonstrate they receive community trust and are committed to the initiative.
  • Architectural added value: the design demonstrates the core team’s understanding and sensitivity to local culture and tradition; it contributes to the community's sense of place and belonging.
  • Urgency: the submission should address what’s already been achieved and identify the expertise and resources necessary to bring the initiative to life.

Who is eligible to submit a project?

A project can be submitted by a person - community architect or representative - who acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ for the community, who is committed to leading the development process. Please note that your project will be prioritised if you can demonstrate exceptional leadership, project management skills, design experiences, or any relevant track record.

When are the important dates and deadlines? 


What are the assessment criteria? 

Eligible projects will be pre-selected and published on our website based on the submission criteria. Our jury panel will select the finalists based on the following assessment criteria:

  • Impact: the project contributes to the long-term development of the community beyond the program period by building various capacities of the community. It address at least two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Feasibility: the project has a viable development model for its specific context. The total budget should be specified, and initial funding (20%-30% of the project’s total budget) should be raised.

Is there a budget or scale limit?

There is no limit, but feasibility is important. Please see the feasibility section above for more information.

Who will judge my submission and what is the process?

The goal of the Global Challenge is to connect winning teams to our partners who offer funding, expertise and resources. Our jury board is made of experts nominated by our partners and our board members:

  • Anna Heringer/ Studio Anna Heringer
  • David Barragan/ Al Borde
  • Cameron Sinclair/ Half Kingdom Design
  • Ole Bouman/ Design Society
  • Swati Janu/ Social Design Collaboratives
  • Johann Baar/ The Hilti Foundation
  • David Basulto/ Archdaily 
  • Kira Intrator/ Aga Khan Development Network
  • David Cole/ Building trust international
  • Pelayo Achondo/ TECHO
  • More to be announced


What should I expect if my team is selected as a finalist? 

As a finalist, your challenge is our challenge. Finalists will be invited to our accelerator program for a period of 6 months aiming to match potential partners, collaborators and resources to your team’s critical needs - so that your team will be ready to go on to the next level of development!

We are constantly engaging partners, prior to and during the Global Challenge program, to expand our network resources and establish a funding pool. Finalists will have the possibility to receive €3,000.- funding and involve our partners in the community’s ambition.

What is Architecture-in-Development (A--D)?

Click here to read more about A--D


Checklist for a successful project submission

  • Carefully read this Program Guidelines to make sure your submission is eligible and able to meet the deadline. Bare in mind that it'll take at least 48 hrs to review your submission before it can be admitted and published. 
  • Organise your story, gather good drawings, photographs and video materials. For the best result, use images no smaller than 2000 x 1600 pixels with a maximum size of 3MB. 
  • provide the following key information:
    • A header image or video (already uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo)
    • Pitch story (max. 450 characters)
    • Project introduction & one main image
    • Impact & one main image
    • Core team & one main image
    • Project budget indication
    • Specify the additional funding, expertise and resources necessary to bring your initiative to life
    • Note that each section can be illustrated by an image of video; there is also an image gallery to add more images and drawings (use images where you have permission)
  • Now register an account
  • Once you complete the account registration, you can access the submission form and get started.
  • If your submission is eligible, it will be published on the A--D website. Otherwise you might receive our feedback to improve your project submission, with the possibility of it being published after revision.
  • When your project is published online, it can no longer be edited. You may, however, provide updates to the project, and are kindly advised to do so on a regular basis to keep your audience updated.
  • After the jury process is completed, we will announce finalists. Finalists will be required to sign a partnership agreement with us, and we will work to connect your project to your vital resources. After 6 months, we will wrap up the accelerator with a public presentation. A--D will then withdraw as an active partner.