Challenge Winners Announced

Challenge Winners Announced

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Aug 01, 2012
  • comments

Winners have been announced for the Open Architecture Challenge: [UN]RESTRICTED ACCESS hosted by Architecture for Humanity. The Founders' Award goes to Paicho Huts, a Ugandan proposal to transform a former IDP camp to benefit rural countrymen. The Winner of the challenge, OCO - Ocean & Coastline Observatory, is a Portuguese proposal to reassign the Trafaria defense batteries outside Lisbon.

Full Results

Challenge Winner - Ocean & Coastline Observatory, near Lisbon, Portugal

Founders' Award - Paicho Huts, near Gulu, Uganda

Finalists arranged by jury-determined categories:

Environmental Impact
First Place: Humboldthain Food Cooperative, Berlin, Germany
Second Place: Ecological Processing Zone (EPZ), Oakland, United States
Third Place: REGENERATE FT. CARROLL: a gateway ecological park, Baltimore, United States

Political Response
Second Place: Kikotemal' Rik K'aslem Memorial, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Third Place: Healing a Nation: Healing the Wounded, Tripoli, Libya

Economic Development
First Place: Magazine Hill: a weathered continuum, Pretoria, South Africa
Second Place: [ARCH]itecture for Comm[UNITY], Anniston, Alabama, United States
Third Place: The Store - Pillbox Conversion, Napier, New Zealand

Small-scale Intervention
First Place: PLUG-In HEBRON - People Liberated Urban Gaps In Hebron, Old City Hebron, Israeli Occupied Palestinian West Bank
Second Place: B-Tower (TM), various sites, Netherlands
Third Place: Paicho Huts, outside Gulu, Uganda (recipient: Founders' Award)

Download Full Press Kit here (320 Mb)

By the Numbers

510 teams registered for the challenge
74 countries responsed to the Challenge
174 entries qualified for Round 1 jury
24 semifinalists qualified for Round 2 jury
13 finalists received awards and a feature at the 2012 Venice Biennale
10 countries on 6 continents contain award-winning design proposals

These proposals highlight the results of a Challenge that had engaged 510 teams from 71 countries in re-imagining former military spaces. The nature of the resulting standings reflect the extreme difficulty with which the interdisciplinary jury of 33 professionals evaluated the entries.

From five judging criteria - community impact, contextual appropriateness, ecological footprint, economic viability, and design quality – four further projects showing incredible strength were named equal First Place winners, behind the First Place and Founder’s Award, and seven additional teams identified as Runners-Up. Back-to-back rounds of judging narrowed nearly 200 qualifying proposals to 24 semifinalists, and then the winners.

“The turnout and production for this Challenge were incredible,” remarks T. Luke Young, who coordinated the competition at Architecture for Humanity. “This is the most geographically diverse response we’ve had to an Open Architecture Challenge, a fact made more interesting considering the complexity of the project.” Young recognized the effort made by the jury to provide each entrant with a thorough evaluation.

View all Entries

Top Entries, Mapped

View [UN]RESTRICTED ACCESS project sites in a larger map

Winner Founders' Award Top Finalists Finalists Semifinalists


The Winning Proposal is “OCO – Ocean & Coastline Observatory,” submitted by a Portuguese team proposing the repurposing of Trafaria, a series of batteries across the Tagus estuary from Lisbon.

“The Portuguese role in the world is still very attached to the ocean,” the designers remark. “More than an economic [asset], the ocean is an element that defines us, that gives us identity,” all the while becoming a simultaneously rich and wasted resource.

“Trafaria’s 5th Battery is part of a large network of buildings built for the military protection of the coastline....It would be most sensible for a civic program to take its place,” while allowing the site to answer a familiar calling. The team reinterprets the old defense structures: “set on top of a hill, turned to the sea for coastline preservation, now in a civic, ecological and sustainable way....”

Judging having concluded, OCO is open for public consumption. And the team is able to reveal themselves.

“We’re a Lisbon Architectural Collective that gets together time to time to debate and work over a variety of subjects, including Architecture!” João Segurado explains. "We found [the Challenge] a very well-timed social provocation.” A sequence of experiences guided the project, from economics of the Portuguese coast to the discovery of “morphologic and geographic heritage” with environmental group SOS about the time the batteries came to the team’s attention.

Recently, the Collective discovered a Facebook group of veterans in recuperating the Trafaria Batteries, rounding out the team’s serendipitous journey. “In the end we just had to connect the dots!”

12490 [OCO - Ocean & Coastline Observatory]
Trafaria, Lisbon, Portugal
Design team: João Segurado, João Magala, Manuel Espada, Mauro Geronimo, José Pereira, Luis Sezões, Filipe Freitas, Portugal

Founders Award

Ugandan architect Andrew Amara receives the Founders Award for “Paicho Huts,” a proposal to re-open an army outpost as a combination clinic, community center, market and memorial gallery. The Founders Award is awarded to the entry that best exemplifies the aims of Architecture for Humanity. Amara is seeking ways to restore peace in rural Uganda following decades of conflict. While the town of Gulu is now bustling, Amara notes, “the suburbs on the outskirts however are picking up slowly with people returning back to their homes to rebuild livelihoods that were shattered by the war.”

“During the hostilities between the Uganda People's Defense Force and the Lord's Resistance Army there were many IDP camps throughout the district, where at one time, an estimated two million people lived. One of these camps was in Paicho. An army outpost was therefore stationed in Paicho to monitor and safeguard the camp.

“However after April 2009, all IDP camps were closed and the people were allowed to return to their villages. In July 2009, an estimated 1,452,000 (80.7%) IDPs out of a total of 1,840,000 had voluntarily left the various camps to return home, leaving only 388,000, who are in the process of vacating or permanently settling where they are.”

Amara sees in Paicho an opportunity “to catalyze the resettlement and rebuilding process of the community” for the remaining residents of Paicho. Amara assesses every service needed by this population, and lays out a powerful vernacular road map to achieve it.

13296 Paicho Huts
IDP Camp Paicho, Gulu, Uganda
Design team: Andrew Amara, Uganda


Other finalists (First Places an Runners Up) targeted hot topic issues regarding environmental impact, political reaction, small-scale intervention, and economic development, for sites as varied as Old City Hebron, (Palestinian Territory), defunct World War II infrastructure in the Netherlands, seaside bunkers in New Zealand, “Peacewalls” in Northern Ireland, and Muammar Gaddafi’s former palace grounds in Tripoli, Libya.

Finalists - Environmental impact

13789 Humboldthain
Food Cooperative

Humboldthain Flak Tower, Berlin, Germany
Design team: Emi Bryan, Germany
["First Place"]
13765 Ecological Processing Zone (EPZ)
Port of Oakand, Oakland, California, United States
Design team: Nick Robinson, Brent Bucknum, Daniel Collazos, Marisha Farnsworth, Jeremy Fisher Kadi Franson, Robert Glass, Emma Oppen, Gina Williams, United States
13812 REGENERATE FORT CARROLL: A Gateway Ecological ParkFt. Carroll, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Design team: Colin Patrick Curley, Sara Allen Harper, United States

Finalists - Political response

Cupar Way, Belfast, United Kingdom
Design team: Mick Scott, United Kingdom
["First Place"]
12684 Kikotemal' Rik K'aslem Memorial
Former Office of the 6th body of the National Police, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Design team: Andrea Valladares, Onice de Maria Arango Flores, Julio Solórzano Foppa, Guatemala
12773 Healing a Nation: Healing the Wounded
Bab al-Azizia Military Compound, Tripoli, Libya
Design team: Rana Elmghirobi, Libya

Finalists - Economic development

13063 Magazine Hill:
A weathered continuum

Magazine Hill, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Design team: Cliff Gouws, Leanne Kruger, Jacques Laubscher, Rudolf van Rensburg, South Africa
["First Place"]
12958 [ARCH]itecture for Comm[UNITY]
Ft. McClellan, Anniston, Alabama, United States
Design team: Jennifer Stewart, United States
12262 The Store - Pillbox Conversion
Napier, New Zealand
Design team: Andrew Florkowski, New Zealand

Finalists - Small-scale intervention

13412 PLUG-In HEBRON -
People Liberated Urban Gaps In Hebron

Old City of Hebron, Israeli Occupied Palestinian West Bank
Design team: The Building Sumud Project (Elisa Ferrato, John Lewicki, Mick Scott), United Kingdom
["First Place"]
13022 B-tower (TM)
Various Cold War Air Watchtowers, Netherlands
Design team: Gerrit Schilder, Jr., Hill Scholte, Netherlands
13296 Paicho Huts
IDP Camp Paicho, Gulu, Uganda
Design team: Andrew Amara, Uganda

The Challenge: What's Next

Support for [UN]RESTRICTED ACCESS comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, Autodesk (who has donated over $12,000 worth of software toward winning prizes), and HP Italy, supporting the competition’s presence at the 2012 Venice Biennale. Finalist awards include Revit AutoCAD 2012 Suite, Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro, signed copies of the recent compilation Design Like You Give a Damn [2], cash, and a showcase in a touring exhibition whose first stop is the Biennale. Launching August 27 in the Palazzo Bembo, [UN]RESTRICTED ACCESS takes up the palace’s theme, “Traces of Centuries & Future Steps.” Interested in hosting the exhibition? Contact Us.

Overall, there is a high correlation between chosen project sites and their proximity to the entrant teams’ back yards. Teams outlined scenarios for public community outreach which, in some cases, have already instigated larger municipal discussions of feasibility.

We'll continue to feature progress made on all of these projects as we hear news from them. You can keep us in-the-know about your Challenge project by sending us updates, or creating a Worldchanging project page for your proposal. (Now that you know how...)

- For instance we've been given the privilege to hold a discussion panel at the Association of Defense Communities Annual Conference next week in Monterey, California, to chair the panel Re-Envisioning the Post-Military Landscape. Two Californian semifinalist teams, EPZ and (Un)Earthing Tustin, are able to join us, present their work and discuss with developers, contractors and other prospective stakeholders in attendance. We will DEFINITELY be reporting back! (Registration, by the way, is still open.)

Keep in touch.

On Twitter: @afh_challenge
On Facebook: [UN]RESTRICTED Facebook

Huge Thanks

Thank you to everyone who participated in and supported the Challenge. for making this Challenge. It's been, for us at Architecture for Humanity, a delight and an honor to have had a guiding role in such a rich and critical discussion.

Our Sponsors

Our Jury

The design competition was judged by an international, inter-disciplinary panel of experts in various fields within the network of stakeholders in base closure, site demilitarization and realignment:

Philippa Abbott, Codesign Studio/A+D Projects; Patricia Arquette, ecosanitation NGO head (and actress); Ishmael Beah, author, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier; Ute Bauer, Director, iFAG, the Interdisciplinary Research Association for Architecture and History in Vienna, Austria, and specialized in built relicts from Second World War in Austria; Pedro Buraglia, urban designer, former president of Urban Planning Department, Universidad Nacional de Colombia; Jon Calame, founding partner of Minerva Partners; C Greig Crysler, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Architecture at University of California Berkeley; Kevin Conger, founding partner, President and CEO of Conger Moss Guillard Landscape Architecture; Peter J Croll, Director, Bonn International Center for Conversion, John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies and 2012 Open Society Fellow looking at the transformations that have taken place in Eastern Europe since 1989; David Fletcher, Urban Designer and Landscape Architect, professor at CCA, founding principal of Fletcher Studio and writer; Dr. Bronwyn Hanna, Heritage Officer, Office of Environment and Heritage, New South Wales (Australia) Department of Premier & Cabinet; Aaron Harcek, Senior Designer - Perkins + Will Architects; Paul Jenkins, Professor at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh; Ralph Johnson, Design Principal at Perkins + Will Architects; Bruce D Judd, FAIA, Principal, Bruce Judd Consulting Group; David Listokin, Professor at the Center for Urban Policy Research of Rutgers University; Sherwood McGinnis, Professor of International Relations, US Army War College; Habi Girgis, Egypt-based Graphic Designer; Tom Kundig, FAIA is a principal/owner of the Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig Architects; Zsofia Marton, MSc in Civil Engineering specialized in community design and sustainable architecture, and certified in the Social Economic Environmental Design® process; Andres Meira, Architect, working with the Clinton Foundation, Deutsche Bank Foundation and others to deliver award-winning educational projects in the UK, Africa and Haiti; Carlos David Montoya, Urban Project Architect; Elizabeth Ogbu, Global Fellow at, and Lecturer at California College for the Arts; Renzo Piano Building Workshop; Alex Schafran, Doctoral candidate in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and visiting researcher at the Institute Français de Géopolitique, Paris 8; Bahram Shirdel, Iranian Architect / former AA design head; Cameron Sinclair, Cofounder, Architecture for Humanity; Nick Sowers, Designer & Founder: Soundscrapers; Kay Strasser, architectural designer researching on mid-term transitional responses after natural disasters; Mohammad Tauheed, Architect; Michael Tomlan, Historic preservation educator at Cornell University; Seth Wachtell, Assistant Professor at University of San Francisco

Volunteers & Support

This Challenge COULD NOT have been pulled off without these critical characters. We hope you're as happy with the turnout as we are!

Courtney Beyer, Romain Bigare, Nick Brown, Chris Bystedt, Stephanie Easton, Jason Ennis, Habi Girgis, Aaron Hauswirth, Gabriel Kaprielian, Carolina Libardi, Delphine Luboz, Zsofia Marton, Bisi Obateru, Jeronimo Roldan, Hector Roy, Miriam Fernandez Ruiz, Nick Sowers, Megan Stevens, Kay Strasser, Zac Taylor, Stefani Tufarelli, Fabiola Vargas, and Maria Williford