Students design competition

Students design competition

The student competition serves as a vibrant complement to the 37th PLEA conference held in Wroclaw, forging a dynamic connection between theory and practice. At its core, this competition aligns with the overarching theme of the 37th PLEA conference, „(Re)thinking resilience,” by inviting innovative proposals that champion sustainable and resilient design principles.

Within this competition, participants have the flexibility to choose from three distinct scales of intervention. The first, a territorial scale, encompasses urban strategies of grand proportions. Next, participants can opt for a medium-scale approach, focusing on the design of a specific building or an enclosed public space. Lastly, for those who prefer the intricacies of detail-oriented design, there is the small-scale option, which involves crafting material solutions or specific objects with added value. These objects may range from technological appliances to functional details or even furniture. Participants will decide for themselves whether they will revitalize existing systems and structures or design new ones.

Throughout this competition, it is imperative that „(Re)thinking resilience” remains the guiding methodology for all proposed designs. This theme should permeate every aspect of the participants’ creative endeavours, ensuring that their solutions are firmly rooted in the principles of sustainability.

Whenever the competition rules mention:

a. The Award – prizes in each category: 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The jury reserves the right to award other prizes and distinctions or not to award any.

b. The Grand Prix – a cash prize of 500 euros for the best entry (among 1st prizes in every category). For a group of participants there is one Grand Prix.

c. The Competition – it refers to the PLEA 2024 Student Competition, organized by PLEA 2024 Organizational Committee, whose rules are regulated by this document. 

d. The Competition Participant – they refer to a student of any architecture, urban planning, structural or environmental engineering faculty from around the world. Participant must have full student rights, i.e. hold a valid student card. Participant can take part in the Competition individually or in groups. Each participant or group can submit one competition entry.

e. The Jury – they refer to the jury of the PLEA 2024 Student Competition, composed of experts in sustainable architecture and urban planning. The exact composition of the competition jury will be announced further in the future.

f. The Project – they refer to the project submitted to the PLEA 2024 Student Competition, following the theme of (Re)thinking resilience.

g. The Organizer – they refer to the Organizing Committee of the PLEA 2024 Conference, whose composition one can find on the conference website.

The Organizer does not require registration procedures. Every poster submitted in accordance to the rules established in this statute will be considered as properly registered.

The competition is open for students of any architecture, urban planning, structural or environmental engineering faculty from around the world. Participants must have full student rights, i.e. hold a valid student card for 2023/2024 academic year. Participants can take part in the Competition individually or in groups. If the project is submitted in a group, all members must be students at the moment of sumbission. Each participant (both individually or in group) can submit only one competition entry.

The competition tasks are all connected to the 37th PLEA conference theme (Re)thinking resilience and three descending scales of intervention: from a territorial scale of an urban strategy (Large scale) – task #1, through the scale of a defined volume of a building or an enclosed public space (Medium scale) – task #2, to the detail scale of a material solution or a particular object (Small scale) – task #3, such as a technological appliance, functional detail or a furniture with added value. 

Due to the international character of the conference and the competition itself there are no specified locations of the competition – those can be chosen by the competitors, so they most appropriately fit the design scope.

Participants are obliged to select at least one challenge that is the topic of the PLEA 2024 conference from the list below and create an design concept at the scale of their choice (1, 2 or 3). Participants are asked to indicate their choice of challenge as part of their presentations. Meeting more than one challenge within the developed concept affects the overall assessment of the work according to the weights (see point 9).

Key PLEA 2024 challenges:

    • sustainable architecture and urban design – together for climate resilience,
    • architecture for human resilience and well-being (including e.g., biophilic design, nature-based solutions, climate adaptation strategies for buildings and spaces),
    • analysis and methods for resilience and sustainability (e.g., new design and simulation tools, evaluation methods),
    • re-thinking resilience through renovations and adaptations of buildings and spaces (including cultural and natural heritage retrofitting, methods to improve performance of existing buildings and spaces),
    • building resilience with innovation and technology (e.g., innovative materials and sustainable technologies),
    • bio-based materials and nature-based solutions.

#1: Territorial scale – an urban strategy

Task #1 is to create a revitalization strategy for making a city or an existing neighborhood sustainable and more resilient to climate changes. The strategy can contain rules of behavior, functional reprogramming, technological changes, or sustainability-enhancing added plug-ins. It is important to work on revitalizing diverse resources: natural or urban, social, economic, energy or a local culture. 

The competitors can select any location around the world to propose urban planning strategies to create climate resilient urban areas. 

#2: Scale of definition – a building or an enclosed public space

Task #2 is using the scale of a more specific definition to create a project for making a building or public space sustainable and more resilient to climate changes. The presented project can contain rules of behaviour and management, functional reprogramming, technological changes, or sustainability-enhancing added plug-ins as well as extensive usage of urban biotope. 

The competitors can select any building or a defined, open-air public space (such as a housing estate square, neighborhood plaza, allotment gardens zone, a playground etc.) to propose climate resilience design strategies. There is no limitation about the square footage or current functions of the selected building or intervention area. What is important is to reconsider usage of typical functional areas or technologies and nature-based solutions and intertwine those or relink them in a sustainable and efficient way.

#3: Scale of a detail – a material, component or an appliance

Task #3 is utilizing the detail scale for envisioning a building material or its component, building appliances or furniture (indoor or outdoor) that are sustainable and contribute to making a building or an estate resilient to climate changes. 

The proposal can offer the solution for a particular issue observed in a specific building or location, or it can target a general problem relevant for various locations and building types.

6.1 Digital Submission 

The project submission is digital only. The complete submissions shall be submitted before midnight CET (UTC+2) on February 6, 2024 to the email: competition@plea2024.pl

6.2 Anonymity and Compulsory Content 

The project title and a chosen competition scale must be displayed on a poster. A specific, 6 digits anonymity code will be attributed to each project upon the upload by the competition secretary. The participants do not know this code, through which the jury members take note of the project. The teams’ identities are revealed after the assessment process is completed. 

Please note that no individual names or information helping to identify the participant should appear on the submission panels.

6.3 Language 

The poster and the text presenting the ideas should be written in English. The official language of the competition is English.

6.4 Submission requirements

Submissions include documents divided as follows:

  • The proposal should fit on format A1, horizontal.
  • The content of the poster depends on the participants. The method of graphic presentation is not imposed, although it is expected to be presented using drawings and descriptions in a clear way.
  • The poster should provide information which challenge (or challenges) is addressed by the project followed by a short description how the indicated issue was solved.
  • Completed entry form (author/authors’ data, university name, field of study and year, ). Supervision of an academic teacher is not required. The entry form can be found on the PLEA website.

Technical specifications: 

  • JPG format 300dpi 
  • horizontal A1 (L 841 mm x H 594 mm) 
  • a poster should be nick-named according to the scheme “nick-name_chosen scale_PLEA2024” 
  • the file is to be signed according to the scheme “nick-name_chosen scale_PLEA2024.jpg”
  • a file of maximum 15 MB size can be sent as an email attachment  
  • the team is free to decide on the composition of the posters, but the signature must be placed in the bottom strip, on the edge with a height of 1 cm
  • do not add any personal information on the posters.

7.1 Results 

All the results are available online from March 8, 2024, on the PLEA 2024 website. This list includes the names of students, as well as the city and the country.

7.2 Prizes 

The competition jury will determine the first, second and third place in each category in accordance with the competition tasks. The Grand Prix prize will be selected from among the first place winners. The Grand Prix winner receives a reward of 500 euro and would attend the conference and the official conference dinner. The jury reserves the right not to award the Grand Prix. The jury reserves the right not to award the first place in one or more categories. The jury can decide on awarding an additional honourable special prize/prizes. 

Please note that the Organizers do not cover the costs of travel and accommodation for the winning participant. The winning projects in (first place) in each category of the competition will be presented on PLEA2024 Conference website. The authors of the winning projects (first place in each category) will be invited to present their projects during the conference. At least one person from each winning team should register to the conference and the registration for one author of the winning project (first place in each category) will be free of charge. If the Grand Prix is awarded to the group entry, the group should designate only one representative to attend the prize ceremony.

8.1 Ownership 

All materials (images, texts…) submitted to the Organizers become their property, including all kinds of publication and reproduction rights. The intellectual property rights remain the exclusive property of their author.

8.2 Exhibition and Publication Rights 

Participants may not publish the documents submitted to the competition or disclose their names by using their project for any communication (social media, website) before the official announcement of the results. Any such publication may result in the disqualification.

The organisers reserve the right to publish all the projects submitted to them after the official announcement of results. Projects will be exhibited or published under the names of their authors.

The jury assesses the projects on the basis of values, which importance in the judging process is distributed with indicated weights. The design criteria are as follows:

  • CRITERION 1 (60%): The relevance of the solutions offered by the project to the Key PLEA 2024 challenges’ as listed below: 
      • sustainable architecture and urban design – together for climate resilience, 
      • architecture for human resilience and well-being (including e.g., biophilic design, nature-based solutions, climate adaptation strategies for buildings and spaces), 
      • analysis and methods for resilience and sustainability (e.g., new design and simulation tools, evaluation methods),
      • re-thinking resilience through renovations and adaptations of buildings and spaces (including cultural and natural heritage retrofitting, methods to improve performance of existing buildings and spaces),
      • building resilience with innovation and technology (e.g., innovative materials and sustainable technologies),
      • bio-based materials and nature-based solutions.

  • CRITERION 2 (40%): The quality of presentation / of the design/ of content:
      • 25%: the clarity of message,
      • 25%: appropriate use of graphic means.  

Finally, the jury will compile a report containing the reasons for its selection of the awarded designs in relation to the requirements of the competition. The report will be available on the website after the announcement of the results.

With any questions regarding submissions, competition brief or specific information on the competition rules please contact us via e-mail: competition@plea2024.pl, till the end of Nov 2023.

The Organizers will publish the whole Q&A section of the competition on the website till the 15th of  Dec 2023. 

The obligations relating to the processing of personal data, as required by Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016. (hereinafter: „GDPR”).

1. The administrator of the personal data is the PLEA 2024 Conference Foundation.

2. In view of the need to process the personal data of conference participants, they entrust the processing of basic personal data (such as name, contact details, position and degree data) of conference participants, for the purposes of conference implementation, publication, administrative and legal duties related to the preparation of the conference and ongoing contacts in the implementation of the conference, during and after the conference for the publication of post-conference materials.

3. The PLEA 2024 Conference Foundation processes personal data entrusted by conference participants and has the following obligations in relation to the entrustment of data processing:

a. process personal data only on the documented instructions of the other Party, in particular only to the extent that this is necessary for the fulfilment of the legitimate interest of the participant and for the fulfilment of administrative and legal obligations related to the conference;

b. ensure that persons authorised to process personal data undertake an obligation of secrecy or are subject to an appropriate statutory obligation of secrecy;

c. take all measures required under Article 32 of the GDPR;

d. comply with the conditions of use of the services of another processor as referred to in paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 28 GDPR;

e. taking into account the nature of the processing, shall, as far as possible, assist the conference participants by appropriate technical and organisational measures to comply with the obligation to respond to the data subject’s requests to exercise his or her rights;

f. taking into account the nature of the processing and the information available to it, assist the conference participants to comply with the obligations set out in Articles 32 to 36 of the GDPR;

g. upon termination of the entrustment of processing, depending on the decision of the conference participants, delete or return to them any personal data and delete any existing copies thereof, unless European Union or Member State law prescribes the retention of personal data;

h. make available to conference participants all information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the obligations of the controller and allow and contribute to audits, including inspections, by an authorised auditor.