Enter the Global Challenge

Connect to partners and supporters

Get your community’s initiative off the ground!

The Global Challenge is open for submissions

The Global Challenge 2021 calls for bottom-up, community architectural initiatives that have radical potential to improve the lives of both rural and urban communities. Enter the Global Challenge, connect to partners and supporters to get your community's initiative off the ground! The submission will be open from June 6 until July 25.

For whom?

Do you, or your community, have the serious ambition to build a school, housing or community hub but lack the knowledge or resources to bring it to life? A--D’s Global Challenge 2021 is your chance to put your project in front of a global audience of engaged experts eager to help. Submit your challenge(s) to the Global Challenge 2021 TODAY!


Do you want to be part of a global community actively looking to positively impact people's lives through architecture? A--D invites professionals from all walks of life to contribute to projects. Use your expertise(s) to help innovate, learn and challenge yourself and others in a highly diverse, inclusive and inspiring environment.

Best practices
  • ModSkool, India | finalist of 2016 Global Challenge
    In one of Delhi’s slums, local community activists, leaders, architects have joined forces to build back a school that responds to future evacuations and climate conditions.
  • De Ceuvel, the Netherlands
    De Ceuvel is a clean tech playground located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Converted from an industrial wasteland, today it is home to a thriving community of entrepreneurs and artists.
  • Granby 4 Streets, UK
    After several decades of top-down planning to regenerate this run-down neighborhood in Liverpool, it was a bottom-up approach led by the local residents that made the difference.
  • The Chamanga Cultural Center, Ecuador
    After the earthquake in April 2016, local residents, civil society organizations and academia collaborated to rebuild this Afro-Ecuadorian cultural house in San Jose de Chamanga.
  • El Tr3bol, Bogotá, Colombia
    In an informal settlement in Bogotá, local community and experts have collaborated to revive a community gathering place, El Tr3bol, that has become a vibrant community hub.
What is the Global Challenge?
The Global Challenge is a competition that recognises the best community projects and helps accelerate their development. We select the most impactful initiatives, promote them amongst our global network of partners and connect them through meaningful collaborations - on our own terms, Do-It-Together (DIT) architecture.

The first Global Challenge was initiated by A--D in 2016. With 80+ projects from 37 countries submitted, we discovered a willingness from professionals to invest their time and energy to help realize impactful architecture for communities in need. These projects are proof of the power of Do-It-Together architecture. The 2016 pilot ultimately supported the realisation of ModSkool, which was recognised by the London Design Museum as the winner in the architecture category.

Why should we submit our community project to the Global Challenge?

The Global Challenge is a great opportunity if you are seeking partners or supporters to get your community's initiative off the ground. It is the one-and-only global program that supports the early phase of bottom-up, community architectural initiatives. Reasons to submit your project include: 

  • Exposure: if your project is eligible and published on the A--D website, it can increase its visibility and credibility among your supporters and potential partners.
  • Network: if your project is selected as a finalist, A--D will become your network partner. You can join our free accelerator that aims to connect our partners and our network resources to your project.
  • Funding & partnership: as a finalist, you will have the opportunity to receive €3,000.- funding or pro bono advice provided by our partners.
What type of projects can I submit?

We accept bottom-up, community driven architectural initiatives in the early phases of development. The project must involve the local community who, as a group, commit to improving their collective living, working or learning conditions. The community must be involved through the different phases of the design, development and building process.

Eligible projects must be collective spaces such as schools, libraries, meeting places, community centers, co-housing or factories - but are not limited to these.

What are the submission criteria?
  • Team capacity: there is a core team that demonstrates motivation, leadership, relevant experiences and qualifications to bring the initiative to life.
  • Community involvement: the core team consists of members of the community and representatives who demonstrate they receive community trust and are committed to the initiative.
  • Architectural added value: the design demonstrates the core team’s understanding and sensitivity to local culture and tradition; it contributes to the community's sense of place and belonging.
  • Urgency: the submission should address what’s already been achieved and identify the expertise and resources necessary to bring the initiative to life.
When are the important dates and deadlines?


Who is eligible to submit a project?

A project can be submitted by a community architect or representative who acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ for the community, who is committed to leading the development process under challenging circumstances. Please note that your project will be prioritised  if you can demonstrate exceptional leadership, project management skills, design experiences, or any relevant track record. By submitting a project, you will be the project owner who is responsible for the project page, campaign and communication with other stakeholders.

What are the assessment criteria?

Eligible projects will be pre-selected and published on our website based on the submission criteria (Team capacity, Community involvement, Architectural added value, Urgency). During the jury process, we will select a shortlist as well as finalists based on the following assessment criteria:

  • Impact: the project contributes to the long-term development of the community beyond the program period by building various capacities of the community. It presents strategies and tangible solutions that address at least two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Feasibility: the project has a viable development model for its specific context. The total budget should be specified, and initial funding (20%-30% of the project’s total budget) should be raised.
What else do I need to know before submitting a project?

You can download the Program Guidelines with all the additional information.

Please also check the best practices to learn more about the projects we love.

Meet the Ambassadors
Advance Sustainable Development Goals
The Global Challenge invites companies to be part of the global debate around sustainable cities and communities.
By sponsoring the Global Challenge you are contributing directly to projects aimed to advance the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This isn't just about the future of architecture.
The solutions we seek affect the future of humankind.