Design It: Shelter Competition, remembering the Frank Lloyd Wright spirit

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This year we not only celebrate the 142nd birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright, but also the 50 years of the Guggenheim, one of his master pieces (completed the year he passed away). These dates are not only commemorated with Lego Kits and exhibitions, but also with a very interesting competition held by the and Google .

The interesting part of the Design It: Shelter Competition is that it invites people from around the world to do pretty much what Wright made his apprentices at Taliesin: If you wanted to study to be an architect with Wright, you had to design and build a shelter in the desert outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Then you had to live and study in it, as it have been for the past 7 decades (you can see more of this at the Learn by Doing exhibition).

So, the competition invites people to design a small structure where someone might sleep and work. Your shelter should be created for a specific site anywhere in the world and geo-located in Google Earth. It also should conform to size constraints and must not include running water, gas or electricity. Then it must be submitted to Google 3D Warehouse, as described on the video (more details on how to enter here).

You can submit your shelter until August 23. After that, Taliesin students will pick 10 shelters for the People´s Choice Prize, and a jury will pick a shelter for the Juried Prize. You can read more about the prize and the jury here.

I like that this competition is not aimed to architects only, but to anyone who has a good idea for a shelter. As Frank Lloyd Wright, you don´t need formal architectural training, just a good idea and a pen. Or in this case, a 3d modeling tool easy and powerful as a pen.

Bonus: Architecture for Humanity decided to “hack” the competition, by adding a social component to it: The Purpose Prize. Instead of designing your shelter anywhere, do it for a specific community that can use your design to improve their living standard. So after submitting your entry to Google 3D Warehouse, submit it to the Open Architecture Network following these guidelines and you will be running for the Purpose Prize (US$500 + 10th Anniversary AFH Moleskine Folio). But the most important, you will be helping a community with your design skills, even if you don´t get awarded.

Cite: Basulto, David. "Design It: Shelter Competition, remembering the Frank Lloyd Wright spirit" 08 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • bennyj

    Why can’t I see the picture?

  • fl!p

    its a video..

  • nick

    It’s something about Frank Lloyd Wright .

  • ChrisS WebeR

    Very tempting contest…

  • Elizabeth

    Brilliant idea, love everything about this – both the competition and the Architecture for Humanity hack. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  • Robert

    Long live Cameron Sinclair and AFH!

    Great idea for a competition. Anything inspired by FLW has to be a good idea!