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2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom
Register: Saturday, May 02, 2009
Submit: Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Enter the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge.

In the United States alone more than 6 million students spend much of their day in “portable” classrooms. Anyone who has spent time in one of these classrooms knows that we can do better.

In 2003, the Modular Building Institute estimated that more than 220,000 K-12 portable classrooms were in use by public school systems. Because school systems cannot readily access capital funding, temporary and makeshift classrooms have become an unintended fixture of many educational campuses.

In Florida alone, 75 percent of a school’s portables are now counted as permanent classroom space.

The Competition:

Each year Architecture for Humanity’s Open Architecture Challenge design competition brings public attention to inequities in the built environment affecting the health, prosperity and well being of under-served communities. In 2009 the Open Architecture Challenge will focus on the issue of portable classrooms.

The Open Architecture Challenge will tackle the health, environmental and performance concerns associated with today’s portable schools. New classroom design solutions will be implemented across the nation. Students and teachers understand best what makes a learning space work. The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge will invite them to partner with architects in their community to design better, greener classrooms for their schools.

Entrants will be required to develop a design for an existing student body and demonstrate student participation throughout the design process. The competition will be promoted throughout the global design community and timed to coincide with the academic calendar to encourage student involvement. A curriculum package will be developed in tandem with the competition. The curriculum will be distributed by mail and delivered digitally to schools across the country through partnerships with educational organizations. An inter-disciplinary team of architects, educators and others will jury the entries. The winning design will be built with funds raised as a result of the competition.

All of the designs entered into the competition will be displayed in classrooms across the country, and made available for download on the Open Architecture Network. By sharing the designs-including CAD files-freely, we aim to give school systems access to hundreds of sustainable alternatives to portable classrooms and to impact decision-making where it matters most-at the local level.


The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge aims to use architecture and design as a vehicle for strengthening communities by:

Offering innovative and viable alternatives to traditional portable classrooms, introducing K-12 students to architecture, spatial planning and 3D modeling, teaching students, faculty and parents about how buildings impact the environment, and advocating for greener, healthier, more conducive learning environments.

Teachers and Students know what makes a classroom work. Lets let them design the classroom of the future.

Competition Schedule:
1. Program Development and Needs Assessment (complete)
2. Identify Project Partners (on-going)
3. Finalize Competition Brief and Companion Curriculum January 15, 2009
4. Competition Launch January 20, 2009
5. Educational/Design Outreach January – April
6. Early Registration March 31, 2009
7. Submission Deadline May 15, 2009
8. Competition Jury June 1-7, 2009
9. Announcement of winners June 15, 2009


Cameron Sinclair
Thursday, January 08, 2009
The Challenge has expanded to all classrooms and globally.

Check http://www.openarchitecturechallenge.org for full details. Launching on January 28, 2009.

New Registration Deadline: May 1
New Submission Deadline: June 1

Cameron Sinclair
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Two quick additions. The registration deadline has been extended to May 4th (so AIA National Convention attendees have an opportunity to sign up) and awards/funds have been announced. New Videos added including k-12 webcasts with Sergio Palleroni, Jasmine Lari and more.

Design Prizes and Awards

Award: Winner for Best Classroom Design
Prize: Selected school is awarded $50,000 and design team $5,000

Award: Runner-ups for Best Classroom Design
Prize: Selected school is awarded $10,000 and design team $1,000
Note: Number of runners-up based on jury process

Design prize funding furnished by Orient Global

Technical Prizes and Awards

Award: Best design on the Open Architecture Network Freewheel Workspace
Prize: AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite 2009 (worth $6,720)

Award: Best Three Dimensional (3D) Sketch Model
Prize: Google SketchUp Pro 7. (worth $495)

Award: Best Three Dimensional (3D) Animation
Prize: AutoDesk 3DS Max 9 (worth $3,495)
embed your animation using youtube. Prize winner must send hi-res version to collect prize

Award: Best Photo-Realistic Rendering
Prize: Autodesk Maya Complete 10th Anniversary Edition (worth $2,590)

Award: Most Ecologically Designed Classroom
Prize: AutoCAD Revit 2009 with Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010 (worth $6,190)

Technical prizes furnished by AutoDesk and Google SketchUp

Total Prizes = over $100,000 in funding and software.

Please note that design winners may also be winners of technical awards.

Jury now includes:
Hilary Cottam, Participle and School Works (UK)
David de Rothschild, Adventure Ecology
Dave Eggers, writer, editor and publisher
Saul Griffith, Manaki Power, HowToons and Squid Labs
Michelle Kaufmann, Michelle Kaufmann Designs
Kigge Hvid, Danish Design Centre and Index Awards
Michelle Sakayan, Architect, Chicago
Pauline Souza, US Green Building Council + LEED for Schools
Ron Bogle, President American Architectural Foundation
Jennifer B. Afdahl Rice, Vice President, Business Development, NCB Capital Impact
Matt Petersen, President and CEO, Global Green USA
Ted Bardacke, Green Urbanism Senior Program Associate, Global Green USA
Maggie Kirkpatrick, Assistant Director for Partnerships, Building Tomorrow
Hannan Rolston, Becca Bass and Jonathan Migliori, Bezos Scholars, Bezos Family Foundation
Dr. Ken Yeang, T.R. Hamzah and Yeang

eirini tsitoura
Lamia, Greece
Saturday, April 18, 2009
i am a practicing young architect in Lamia , Greece and i also do a bit of teaching to some
schools around the town.

As i understood the competition is not only for schools in USA, but for any place around the world and so i am very interested in taking part.
So, i am sending this message in order to get more info about it, as the website : http://www.openarchitecturechallenge.org
is not active.

Architect Edinburgh
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I am an Architect and believe this is a really worthwhile competition, unlike the usual design ideas forums run by wealthy companies and individuals. My mom was a teacher and spent her career campaigning for better facilities for her students. Bravo.

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