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Architecture At Zero

7 Annual Competitions Every Architecture Student Should Try at Least Once

09:30 - 7 August, 2017
7 Annual Competitions Every Architecture Student Should Try at Least Once, Fairy Tales 2017 Competition Winner: Last Day / Mykhailo Ponomarenko. Image Courtesy of Blank Space
Fairy Tales 2017 Competition Winner: Last Day / Mykhailo Ponomarenko. Image Courtesy of Blank Space

When you’re used to the grind of architecture school, breaks can hit you like rain on a warm day—cool at first, but terribly annoying soon enough. While the first few days breeze past as you catch-up on lost sleep and binge-watch Game of Thrones, you realize before long that you’re going insane with nothing to absorb all your new-found energy.

This is where architectural competitions come in handy. They provide a constructive outlet while being deeply engrossing, thus keeping you from hopelessly refreshing Youtube to see if Buzzfeed uploaded a new video. Also, the fact that you’re no longer constrained by the direction of your studio-leader or school program enables you to experiment creatively. With diverse international competitions running at any given time, you can take your pick, depending on your individual interests and the amount of time you want to devote. However, the sheer number of available competitions can be deeply confusing as well. Here we shortlist seven of the most prestigious annual architectural competitions open to students:

Architecture at Zero 2016

06:00 - 7 June, 2016
Architecture at Zero 2016

The Architecture at Zero 2016 competition challenge is to create a zero net energy (ZNE) student housing project on the San Francisco State University campus. The competition has two components. First, entrants will create an overall site plan to accommodate the 784 housing units, student services, dining center, childcare facility, and parking. Second, entrants will design one building, in detail, to indicate ZNE performance.

Architecture at Zero Competition Challenges Teams to Design Zero Net Site Energy Housing for UCSF

07:00 - 12 May, 2015
Architecture at Zero Competition Challenges Teams to Design Zero Net Site Energy Housing for UCSF, Courtesy of Architecture at Zero
Courtesy of Architecture at Zero

The 2015 Architecture at Zero Competition has launched, challenging students and designers to develop 'family-style residential units' for the Mission Bay Campus of the University of California San Francisco. Now in its fifth year, the competition calls for designs that produce "at least as much energy as [they] use over a year," excluding the embodied energy of building materials and transportation of people and materials to and from the site. Entrants must be able to demonstrate that their designs can be reasonably expected to meet a zero net energy goal over a prolonged period of time. The competition is open to student and professional individuals and teams, with up to $25,000 in prize money to be won. Interested parties have until August 28 to register and submissions are due September 25 at 1PM PST. Read more about the competition at Architecture at Zero's website and check out the winners from last year here.

Competition Challenges Architects and Students to Design Zero Net Energy Housing in California

01:00 - 11 September, 2014
Competition Challenges Architects and Students to Design Zero Net Energy Housing in California , Architecture at Zero Citation Award: NZ + Beyond Net Zero Energy / Drew Adams, Joseph Yau and Mark Alocilja. Image Courtesy of Architecture at Zero
Architecture at Zero Citation Award: NZ + Beyond Net Zero Energy / Drew Adams, Joseph Yau and Mark Alocilja. Image Courtesy of Architecture at Zero

Architecture at Zero, now in its fourth year, is challenging all students, architects and designers worldwide to envision two mixed-use, zero net energy (ZNE) housing proposals for adjacent parcel sites in Oakland, California. The competition is a response to the ZNE targets set out by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) which aims for all new residential construction in the state to be ZNE by 2020. Entrants are eligible for winning up to $25,000. Early bird registration ends September 12. All projects must be submitted by October 31 at 1PM PST. Learn more on the competition website and review last year's winners.