Architecture at Zero 2021-22

Submission: January 11, 2022
Registration: January 11, 2022
Language: English
Location: Central Valley, CA
Prizes: $25,000 cash
Type: Open


Architecture at Zero is a design competition for decarbonization, equity and resilience, open to students and professionals worldwide. It serves to engage the fields of architecture, design, engineering and planning in the pursuit of sustainable design. The 2021-22 competition challenges entrants to develop affordable housing for farm worker families in Visalia, California, one of the world’s most productive farming regions.

There are four parts to this competition:

I      entrants will create an overall site plan to accommodate the program outlined below. Entrants are encouraged to highlight any energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage, and carbon reduction strategies or systems shown.

II     entrants will design the building in detail, demonstrating how the design will result in lower carbon emissions and embodied carbon, and addressing the requirements of the California Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. In order to indicate how the building design will result in lower carbon emissions, entrants will provide required documentation and may also include supplementary documentation.

III     entrants are asked to describe how this project will build resilience. Entrants will be asked to complete a table outlining the inclusion of climate adaptation strategies and indicate on the site plan or section aspects of design strategies that support resiliency.

IV    entrants are asked to consider how their design addresses equity for the project’s residents.  Entrants will be asked to write a short essay and indicate on the site plan or section aspects of design strategies that support equity.

Awards and Judging

Up to $25,000 in total prize money will be awarded to student and professional winners.

Entries are judged on the presentation board and the material highlighting the resilience and equity aspects of the competition.  A Technical Review Panel will convene to consider the decarbonization strategies of each entry. This Technical Evaluation is then provided to the Jury.  The Technical Evaluation is not the sole criterion on which entries will be judged but acts as a complement to the overall project design evaluation.

Entries are weighed individually, not in competition with others. Jury decisions will be based solely on the materials submitted. Criteria include quality of design, resolution of the program or idea, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique.


This competition is open to students, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers and designers anywhere in the world.

>>> Go to the competition’s website <<<