Help us create resilient homes for people in some of the most vulnerable areas of the World



Natural disasters are on the rise. Since 1990, natural disasters have affected on average 217 million people every single year. Hundreds of floods, storms, heat waves and droughts have left about 606,000 people dead and 4.1 billion injured or homeless around the world since 1995. And it is often the poorest that suffer the most from these shocks.

As architects and engineers, we can design resilient and sustainable houses that both reduce the risk of damage and enable rapid reconstruction following a disaster.

The World Bank, Build Academy, Airbnb, and GFDRR inspired and mobilized architects and engineers around the world to develop designs for resilient, modular and affordable homes that cost under $10,000. 

Winning designs were published and exhibited at the World Bank in Washington DC, the UN in New York, the WEF in Davos and the GDRR conference in Geneva.

Winning designs eventually informed resilient housing or reconstruction work for World Bank-funded projects in places like the Caribbean, South and East Asia, etc.


  • Sign up anytime with no registration fee and form your team, or participate on your own, provided that you are an architect or civil engineer
  • Participate in the optional educational tutorials to enhance your knowledge of the context
  • If you need some help, you’ll have the option to receive regular feedback from Experts in the field and in group forums on Zoom
  • Submit your final proposal by November 30th, 2018, latest
  • A highly reputable Jury will select and announce the winners on December 14th, 2018










The competition calls for designing a modular house costing under $10,000 that should be easy to build.

The challenge has been designed for three scenarios. Design teams can submit designs for a single scenario or all three scenarios depending on their preference.


HAZARD Earthquakes and Tropical storms with wind speeds in excess of 250 km/hr. (cyclones/ hurricanes/ typhoons)
GEOGRAPHY Island countries (example: the Caribbean including Haiti)
CLIMATE Hot summers and mild winters
ADDED CHALLENGE Heavy cost of ferrying in construction material
CONSTRUCTION COST Material: $120/sqm

Labor: $50/sqm

Transport: $80/sqm

PLOT Assume a 20 m x 20 m plot size in a low-lying area


HAZARD Earthquakes up to 7.0 on Richter’s scale also resulting in landslides
GEOGRAPHY Mountain & inland areas (example: Nepal, northern India, Peru etc.)
CLIMATE Harsh winters and mild summers
ADDED CHALLENGE Terrain difficulty in transporting heavy construction material
CONSTRUCTION COST Material: $120/sqm

Labor: $50/sqm

Transport: $50/sqm

PLOT Assume a 20 m x 20 m plot size in a rocky terrain which is part sloping (gentle gradient)


HAZARD Tropical storms with wind speeds in excess of 250 km/hr (cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons) also resulting in localized flooding (low-lying areas)
GEOGRAPHY Coastal areas (example: Bangladesh, Philippines etc.)
CLIMATE Hot summers with areas of heavy rainfall
CONSTRUCTION COST Material: $120/sqm

Labor: $50/sqm

Transport: $30/sqm

PLOT Assume a 20 m x 20 m plot size in a low-lying area which is around 500 m from the coastline.


Design teams are encouraged to look beyond “fully pre-fabricated” housing designs in order to allow incorporating local building materials and techniques into their designs; designs could be fully, partially or not prefabricated with a clear aim towards ease of construction

  • Designs incorporate climatic conditions
  • Integration of storage tank for rainwater collection is preferred
  • Toilets should be environmentally friendly, attached or detached
  • Housing material should be fireproof/treatable to be fireproof
  • Project construction cost should be limited to $10,000


AREA: The houses should accommodate a family of 4-5 people in about 40-50m2.

KITCHEN: 8-12m2, storage and cooking space

BATHROOM & TOILET: 5-8m2  (combined or separate)

BEDROOM: 12-15m2; storage space 1-2m2

MAINROOM: 20m2, could be used as a bedroom at night


Participants are encouraged to respect the building codes of the countries they are designing for.


To view the FAQ for the Challenge please click HERE.


Challenge participants will apply their skills and knowledge to design of resilient architecture and how it can be implemented both in rural and urban settings. They will have the opportunity to improve their design and collaboration skills, working with a global community of professionals from all over the world, and receiving feedback from professors and experts. The work will be done by teams formed by independent practitioners who will work together on developing integral projects that include aspects of architectural design, structural engineering, building technology, social space, community development, economic feasibility, sustainability, and resilience.


At least one member of the team should have an architectural or/and civil engineering degree. For designers, previous architectural experience is highly recommended. Other members who participate can also include graduate students or last year students of architecture. The expectation is to have a multi-disciplinary team that can collaborate with companies and people from many different backgrounds: architecture, engineering, design, social workers, etc.


The challenge will feature collaborations and teamwork. We will also have a forum on Facebook, where participants will be able to exchange and discuss design ideas. During the challenge, the projects will be developed to the phase of schematic design.



  1. 2 Square boards sized 3x3ft (as a PDF) min. 300 dpi, using the layout described below; the board is visually divided into 8 equally sized sections (1.5×1.5 ft), each section having a designated topic.
  2. Design Portfolio: digitally cut the board into the 8 square parts and submit the parts as 8 separate PDFs (numbered accordingly).



  1. Design Documents (PDFs)
  2. Explanatory text: Overview of Design
    This text is supposed to give the jury a snapshot overview of your overall design approach. up to 1,000 words total. Please download the template here (to download it, click on ‘File’ > ‘Download as’ > ‘Microsoft Word Document’).
  3. Visualizations
    Please find below the list of required visualizations. You are of course more than welcome to add explanatory texts to each visualization.
  • 3-5 renderings of exterior (at the very least: frontal, side, bird’s view)
  • 2-3 renderings of Interior (optional)
  • Axonometric Diagram (foundation, horizontal/vertical structure, slabs, walls, roof; 1:50)
  • Building Plans (1:50)
  • 2 Sections (1:20)
  • 2 Facades/Elevations (1:50)
  • Site Plan (1:200) of the 20x20m site (optional)
  • Community aggregation view (optional)

4. Construction Phasing (optional)
If your design requires non-traditional construction techniques, please provide construction drawings (1:20), construction options and recommendations for construction phasing of individual home
5. Schedule of Rates (.XCL, XCLS): The schedule of rates is supposed to be a list of materials used and their respective cost.



All documents and panels are to be submitted in PDF.
The Schedule of Rates is to be submitted as Excel file (.xls, .xlsx)

Font used for panels should be Helvetica; 50 pt. for titles, 30pt. for subtitles, and 24 pt. for body, 20pt. for index. Font used for documents should be Arial 10pt. for body.

All text must be in English, using font Helvetica: 30 pt. for titles and 20 pt. for body.

All files will be submitted digitally in PDF format by November 30 at and by email to

To see the complete Submission Guide please click HERE.


If participants require additional support, the team of Build Academy and invited experts will provide the option of weekly guidance and feedback for their work through a video conference on Zoom.


1 Natural Disasters and Resilient Design
2 Spatial Design
3 Resilient Unit Design
4 Unit Aggregation Strategies
5 Resilient Urban Design
6 Final Q&A about Project Submission



  • Resilience (25%) 

  • Design (20%)

  • Cost Effectiveness (15%)

  • Construction (15%)

  • Sustainability (15%)

  • Presentation (10%)


The copyright of all design will remain with the authors. Build Academy and the WBG will have the rights to publish the results.



The jury will award 3 winning designs for each of the 3 scenarios, so there will be a total of 9 winners.


Hashim Sarkis, PhD

Sonal Sancheti

Sameh Wahba

Director, Social, Rural, Urban and

Resilience, World Bank Group

Pablo Allard

Dean of School of Art and Architecture
Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile




Elizabeth Hausler, PhD

Founder & CEO

Build Change

Mariko Sato



Eric Cesal

Special Projects Director

Curry Stone Foundation



3 + 9 =