Kiribati Floating Houses: an Architectural call to face the Climate Change Challenge

​YAC - Young Architects Competitions and Cantiere delle Marche launch “Kiribati Floating Houses”, a competition of ideas aiming to design floating structures to tackle the challenges of the rise in ocean levels and climate change. A cash prize of € 15,000 will be awarded to winners. In addition, some projects will be selected to be part of an exhibition at Santa Maria della Vita in Bologna and some other projects will be selected to be part of an exhibition about the ocean exploration held by National Geographic at Palazzo Blu in Pisa. selected by a well-renowned jury made of, among the others,​ Kengo Kuma, Moon Hoon, Rocco Yim, Cristiana Favretto (Studiomobile), Simon Frommenwiler (HHF Architects), Fabio Roversi Monaco (Genus Bononiae), Giuseppe Zampieri (David Chipperfield Architects).

“The islands are ants and industrialized nations are elephants”.

This is how Teburoro Tito described unequal country contributions to climate change. This is what Kiribati is: a handful of atolls lying on the huge womb of the Pacific Ocean. It is an ant that has been paying the cost of elephants for too long. Distant and unaware pachyderms have hurled against it the bulimia of a ferocious, corrupted and swollen sea due to the ice melting.

Kiribati’s elderly people look at this sea with bewilderment. They are hurt by the incomprehensible betrayal of what they used to consider a loyal friend, even more loyal than the Earth. Today they show threadbare photographs of their island when the ocean used to be faraway from the houses. Differently, now clouds gather at the horizon, lead grey clusters rise and rumble at sunset. This is when the water and salt monster seems to shake off the lethargy. This is when the ocean rises to claim the shores of the island.

Courtesy of YAC - Young Architects Competitions

Another coastal storm passes and leaves a trail of flooded plantations, destroyed houses and poisoned wells behind it. Kiribati is still Kiribati. However, it is a little more faded, a little thinner. Yet, resignation does not belong to these atolls. Surrender does not suit navigators’ descendants. In Kiribati there is one single word to define “people” and “nation”. Here, these two concepts blend together. There is no Kiribati without its population. There are no natives without their island.

Fleeing is not an option. Leaving is not the solution. This is why Floating Houses is needed.

Floating Houses is the competition aiming to give a future to the populations of Kiribati. Cantieri Delle Marche promoted such initiative to design a resilient Kiribati. Its purpose is to create a new dwelling model in order to globally tackle the challenges of the rise in ocean levels and climate change. The competition regards one of the last most fragile paradises of our planet. It will provide architects with an additional opportunity: redeeming the civilized world. Today, the dark eyes of the inhabitants of Kiribati look at the rest of the world with mistrust. However, the elephants that have instigated the sea can also stop it because hope has not abandoned Kiribati. Tides have not washed away the natives’ love of their island.



  • 1st Prize: 8.000 €
  • 2nd Prize: 4.000 €
  • 3rd Prize: 2.000 €
  • 2 Gold Mentions 500€ each
  • 10 Honorable Mentions
  • 30 Finalists


  • 28/10/2019 “early bird” registration – start
  • 24/11/2019 (h 11.59 pm GMT) “early bird” registration – end

  • 25/11/2019 “standard” registration – start
  • 22/12/2019 (h 11.59 pm GMT) “standard” registration – end

  • 23/12/2019 “late” registration – start
  • 19/01/2020 (h 11.59 pm GMT) “late” registration – end
  • 22/01/2020 (h 12.00 pm – Midday - GMT) material submission deadline

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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: "Kiribati Floating Houses: an Architectural call to face the Climate Change Challenge" 30 Oct 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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