ACA's 4th International Design Competition

The Architecture of Boundaries: “The fascination of boundaries lies in their ambivalent role of dividing and connecting at the same time. They mark the transition between different modes of existence. They transmit and control exchange between territories. They are the playground for discovery and conquest." —Richter and Peitgen (1985)

Beyond the ‘Self’, we are inherently a part of ‘collectives’ such as a family, a community, a city, a village, a country, a culture, an ethos, and the universe. In the natural course of life we become aware about the geographical edges and social boundaries such as language, culture, religion and economy that segregate Us from Them. And yet we feel connected to these various 'collectives’ almost simultaneously.

To feel connected we learn about other cultures, art, languages, share ideas, do trade, or just come together and celebrate. The transitory events such as family rituals, work, education, festivals, recreation, public events, journeys, pilgrimages are the means through which we constantly traverse from one domain to the other. In today’s world the digital media has made this transition through the boundaries a lot quicker.

The connectedness takes place when the ’edges’ defining the territories allow for exchange. Prof. Richard Sennett, renowned Sociologist, teaching at the London School of Economics, has demonstrated through the natural phenomenon of “Edge Effect”, how the boundary conditions between diverse habitats are conducive for exchange and hence generate a greater biodiversity. He therefore asks whether the ‘natural systems’ of ‘edge effects’ could be simulated as ‘man-made systems’ for human habitat thereby proposing that the ’public realms’ to be pushed to the ‘edge’ where the human activity is heightened and rich.

Architecture has always facilitated this transition by providing spaces where the territorial or socio-cultural boundaries are negotiated – dissolved, consolidated or maintained. The Haskell Free Library that sits on the border between the United States and Canada speaks of a knowledge exchange between countries. The Hammam restoration project in Kabul, Afghanistan aims at reviving the traditional bathing house culture. It is an example that shows how Architecture can facilitate a boundary that breaks the barriers of social restriction. The Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran, Iran is a beautiful example showing how architecture can transform the idea of bridging a physical boundary beyond its functional connotation. The Great Wall of China built in 14th century to divide the kingdoms and protect them from invasion has over time transformed into a world heritage site visited by millions every year exemplifying how architecture adapts and blurs boundaries in time.

Christopher Alexander, in his book A Pattern Language emphasizes the importance of having boundaries in order to ensure a thriving mosaic of subcultures. He further suggests ‘Let this boundary be natural – wilderness, farmland, water-or man-made-railroads, major roads, parks, schools, some housing. Along the seam between two subcultures, build meeting places, shared function, touching each other’

This year, ACA’s 4th International Design Competition has set out to discover, the layers of the architecture of boundaries. The Competition eagerly awaits your unique narrative of these ‘spaces on edge’ that represent a core transformational condition, theme or an event set in your part of the world. For this you may need to take a deep dive into the inheritance of the ethos you belong to and simultaneously take a leap out of it to embrace the world beyond it. The English musician John Lennon immortalized an imagination of a world free of boundaries, barriers and borders at a time when it seemed like control over them were the only things that could prove supremacy. He said,

Competition Timeline

  • STAGE 1: WORLDWIDE LAUNCH - Online Registration of entries starts on the 8th of August, 2016.
  • STAGE 2: SUBMISSION WINDOW – In order to account for the variations in Academic Schedules globally, at this stage of the Competition a Submission Window shall open on the 12th of September, 2016 and close on the 8th of November, 2016.
  • Online Submission of entries shall be accepted during this window only. Student teams shall be allowed to update their submissions till the 8th of November, 2016.
  • STAGE 3: RESULT ANNOUNCEMENT - Results shall be declared on the 14th of November, 2016
  • STAGE 4: AWARD CEREMONY - Post Declaration of results the winning participants would be invited to attend our Annual Festival "UDAAN" on the 16th of December, 2016. They will be invited to present their work during the festival and shall thereafter be felicitated with the prize amount


  • SITE: Participants shall intervene on a site in the urban/rural and geographical context of their choice.
  • DESIGN INTERVENTION: The intervention admeasuring NOT more than 10,000 Sq. Meters will be proposed on the chosen site. No restriction on height is specified as long as the proposal responds to the context. The participants may choose to build upon an empty land or rebuild an existing old structure or even resort to an adaptive reuse of existing spaces and elements. Design Interventions and spaces could be BUILT ARCHITECTURE or LANDSCAPE INTERVENTIONS.

Judging Criteria

The jury will analyze entries on a number of factors including originality, innovation, form, sustainability and also on how your design has-

  • Addressed the key elements of the brief. 
  • Evolved in your idea of the ethos it belongs to. 
  • Integrated itself within its context.


The Competition is open to all Bonafide Students from All Years of their Undergraduate Architecture course belonging to the same School/ College/ Department in their University/ Institute recognized by their respective State/ Country Board of Education or Architecture Schools Associations. No Inter-Collegiate Participation shall be allowed. Participating Teams shall comprise of a maximum of 5 students and a minimum of 3 students. Participants should NOT reveal their Identity or College name by any means in their Presentations. Participants will be identified by their UNIQUE IDC Code).


  • 1. WRITE-UP: A 500 word write-up covering the following: Description of your understanding of ‘The Architecture of Boundaries’; Justification of Choice of Site for Intervention; The process & method followed in Process of Designing.
  • 2. REPRESENTATION OF IDEAS: Participants can choose the adequate drawing scale to communicate their design scheme effectively; They can provide any number of Architectural drawings sufficient to describe the scheme; Pictures of Scaled Models, Computer generated 3D-Views, Renders, etc.; Diagrams, hand-made sketches and other Representational material.


  • Submit (Upload) your entries using a maximum of 1 A1 sized sheet (Portrait/ Landscape is a choice you make) NOT exceeding a file size of 20 MB in PDF or JPEG format only, with the above submission specifications duly complied. A4 sized PDF consisting of the write-up NOT exceeding a file size of 2 MB.
  • The format for the write up as per the following: i. Font type: Arial; Font size: 11 for the matter and 14 for the Titles; a Bonafide Certificate from your College/Department/ University/ Institute certifying your admission NOT exceeding a file size of 1 MB each; All participant teams shall be given a Unique IDC code that you shall have to put in all your deliverables.
  • The language of communication in all your submission materials should be English only.


Winning entries at the IDC 2016-17 shall receive Certificates and a Prize amount as follows:

Global Category
1st Place – RS. 1,00,000/- (US $1500/-)
2nd Place – RS. 75,000/- (US $1125/-)
3rd Place – RS. 50,000/- (US $750/-)
Citations – Certificates shall be awarded to 5 Exemplary Entries.

National Category (Student Teams from India)
1st Place – RS. 50,000/-
2nd Place – RS. 30,000/-
Citations – Certificates shall be awarded to 3 Exemplary Entries.

Honorable Mentions to Mentors
Certificates shall be awarded to mentoring faculty of winning entries.

This competition was submitted by an ArchDaily user. If you'd like to submit a competition, call for submissions or other architectural 'opportunity' please use our "Submit a Competition" form. The views expressed in announcements submitted by ArchDaily users do not necessarily reflect the views of ArchDaily.

Cite: "ACA's 4th International Design Competition" 05 Sep 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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