The Global Challenge is an annual competition organized by A--D that recognizes the most sustainable architectural projects around the world, and helps accelerate their development.
In June 2021, we launched our 2nd Global Challenge. The quality of 2021 entries perfectly illustrated the radical potential of the architectural practice that we call Do-It-Together. From a total of 202 applications, we selected six finalists together with our jury members. The finalist teams later joined a 6-month accelerator program aiming to boost the capacities of these teams, connecting them to the expertise and resources that they needed the most.
To close out the 6-month accelerator program for our 2021 finalists, we asked the project leaders and board of experts where the Global Challenge (GC) had helped them the most. They identified ‘Finance, Network, Project Development, and Recognition’ as GC’s biggest contributions to their projects’ success. As we gear up for #GC2022 we’re keeping these critical success factors strongly in mind.
All the teams greatly valued the ability to connect to peers and learn from similar initiatives from other regions. Not only the finalists but many A--D’s ambassadors recognized that the network is an important element that added value to their daily practice. Especially for an early-phase initiative such as Rebuilding the Haadibadi Community library (India): through A--D’s network the team connected to a wide range of multidisciplinary partners from an engineering studio to a business advisor who would have otherwise been inaccessible for such a self-build community project.
Rebuilding the Haadibadi Community library (India) has engaged many collaborators and partners through the A--D Global Challenge
Another successful match is Jaraguá 160 (Brazil), where we connected the team to the Home Modification for Urban Slums in Hong Kong project. Now they continue collaborating and developing optimized plans for and with the future tenants of Jaraguá 160.
After running an open call through A--D’s global network, A School Built By the People, For The People (India) found a Water Harvesting Specialist who shared the much needed knowledge with the community team.
In the final presentation, we were delighted to see that these two initiatives A School Built By the People, For The People (India) and Cocina CoLaboratorio (Mexico) successfully met their funding target.
These two projects are also front runners in terms of realising their architectural ambitions. During the six-month accelerator, A School Built By the People, For The People laid the foundation and incrementally built the main structure of the school. After achieving their funding target, Cocina CoLaboratorio went on to run a successful crowdfunding campaign in June, reaching its milestone to start construction.
In December 2021, Jaraguá 160 celebrated the moving in of their first social tenant, and in summer 2022 Taller Tropical Moravia 2.0 (Colombia) refurbished a neighbourhood public space, engaging local craftsmen, gardeners, neighbours and beyond. Now the team is raising the necessary funding to kick start the construction phase.
For grassroots-community initiatives, the legitimacy that the Global Challenge offered was of great value. The project leaders of Jaraguá 160, A School Built By the People, For The People and Rebuilding the Haadibadi Community library all addressed the importance of having a global stage to present on, increasing their credibility among potential collaborators. Being recognized by the Global Challenge and its partners also helped instil a sense of pride and confidence to the teams and the communities they serve.
For the project leaders, getting their projects financed is the ultimate goal as well as the greatest challenge.
The Global Challenge award prize helped Cocina CoLaboratorio prepare the co-design workshops and create long-term project planning. Another prize recipient Taller Tropical Moravia 2.0 formalised its initiative as a legally recognised non-profit organisation and successfully purchased a building lot. The team has an ongoing fundraising campaign which is worthy of much more attention and support.
The project leader of Ger District Viewing Deck (Mongolia) has expressed the difficulty in gaining access to funding during the pandemic, addressing the necessity of A--D’s role in generating more corporate sponsorships, by scouting quality projects that meet both their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) targets and United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals.
Finance has always been the greatest challenge and a constant source of frustration for self-build community projects. How can we re-allocate globally available resources to these community teams working on the frontlines of social and environmental emergencies?
To a different Global Challenge
Reflecting on the added values and the challenges, this year we are designing a different Global Challenge with the goal to unleash the energy, skills and capacities of the young talent in our global network. For this year’s edition, we are mobilizing representatives who form local hubs, working together with our local ambassadors to help - alongside finalists - all eligible entries connect to their potential partners and engage their vital expertise and resources.
By increasing the leadership and capacities of our network, we aim to create a test ground for more connections between not only professionals in our network but large and medium sized corporate partners. With so many companies with CSR ambitions, how can we unlock the globally available resources to finance these architectural ambitions that have the greatest potential to improve the lives of many?
We hope to discover possible answers through Global Challenge 2022.