Design Initiative Africa 2017

Submission: June 31, 2017
Registration: January 01, 2017
Language: English
Location: Africa
Prizes: $10,000 is cash prizes
Type: Open


The Community Planning & Design Initiative Africa (CPDI Africa) is a culture-inspired, research-based, design-build competition, created to inspire the development of successful neighborhoods and communities on the continent, with modern African architecture that is both culturally and environmentally sustainable. Believing that the redevelopment of Africa’s built environment should be as it has always been, built as a collaborative effort between the community members and designated master builders, CPDI Africa engages participation from the design community in Africa and the Diaspora at large, for the accomplishment of its vision.

For many years, Southern Sahara has conducted research to identify specific traditional design elements that are still relevant today, and are critical to the development of a modern architectural language for Africa. Once referenced in contemporary practice, these design elements become the foundation for creating successful architecture for the people of Africa, as they respond to the lifestyle, culture, aesthetics, materials, climate and geography of the diverse ethnic groups of Africa.

The research findings became known as the Southern Sahara Signature Elements of Design, a discernible kit of parts for residential architecture, that when critically reflected in a design concept, achieved a successful prototype of contemporary African architecture. An architecture that is comfortable and culturally suited for the home owner.

Defined in three categories: Culture-Lifestyle (floor plan functionality), Aesthetics (finishing and furnishing), Sustainability (materials, climate, cost). These Southern Sahara Signature Elements of Design became the foundation for the CPDI Africa Design Brief.


To design perfect residential prototypes, of contemporary African architecture, that reflects the culture, aesthetics and sustainability for community design and development in today’s Africa.


  • The CPDI Africa competition is open to practitioners and students of architecture and all related professions of the built environment: arts &design, engineering and urban planning
  • Participants may enter the competition as an individual, or as members of a team. Members of a team may comprise of professionals or students from the allied professions.
  • If participating as a member of a team, the architect will serve as Team Lead. Teams are limited to a maximum of 3 members.
  • Practicing architects or architecture students will be required to provide valid information of their college, university, school of architecture or polytechnic.
  • ALL individuals and Team members participating in CPDI Africa Must Register to participate on the CDPIAfrica.org website. Early Bird Registration / Discounted Registration Fee is available on the website, as of May 31st 2016!
  • Participation Waivers will be Required (during the Submission Phase), for your wining designs to be built and or published.
  • Participants will receive the CPDI Africa 2017 DESIGN BRIEF upon completion of the application process in January 2017.
  • The 2017 CPDI Africa competition launches January 1st 2017.


  1. CPDI Africa will accept Creative Projects from applicants who wish to submit works other than the Residential Prototype detailed in the Design Brief. These submissions are open only to Special Awards and Recognition, and will notreceive the Cash Prize awards. Potential Creative Projects submissions are defined as follows.
  2. A short Documentary Film on African architecture that shows the connection between traditional architecture and modern design.To include interviews, reference buildings, other supporting material, 15 minutes in length.
  3. Research Narrative, 1000 word research paper on traditional African architectural design elements, and how they can be translated into Modern architecture for building in Africa or the Diaspora.
  4. Artist’s Rendering of modern African buildings, depicting a natural evolution from traditional form into contemporary form. Acrylic, watercolor or oil on canvas, 2” x 4” in size, no cars, animals or objects other than the building and landscaping. Subject matter is inclusive of residential and non-residential architecture.
  5. Architectural Photography, capturing Unique Buildings that obviously celebrate an African identity, and tell a visual narrative of African aesthetics and cultural heritage. A collection of 5 different buildings will be required.
  6. Research Paper on Material & Technique from an engineering perspective, showing advantages of using modernized local building material to resolve challenges faced in contemporary construction in Africa. 1000 word narrative, with accompanied images, cited sources and diagrams.
  7. Inspirational Collages showing evolution of African architecture from traditional buildings to existing or proposed modern versions. Graphic design imaging of    patterns and motifs would be highlighted in the five (5) submitted inspirational collages.


The Community Planning & Design Initiative Africa – Win Prizes: cash, awards, internships. Win prizes! Winning designers will receive prizes and special recognition during the CPDI Africa Annual Awards Ceremony, hosted and attended by our Partner Organizations, Sponsors, the Press, special guests and supporting public! All designers will participate in feature ‘Art of African Architecture’ exhibitions and documentary films.


  • Special feature in AMADi – the annual publication on contemporary residential design for building in Africa.
  • Recognition and presentation of your submissions at the CPDI Africa Award Ceremony.
  • Opportunity to earn paid internships with Southern Sahara and affiliate Organizations.
  • Opportunity to advertise your designs and architectural services on the International CPDI Africa platform.
  • Invitation to participate in CPDI Africa design-build projects,in Africa & the Diaspora.
  • Invitation to feature your works in the annual‘Art of Modern African Architecture’ Traveling Exhibitions
  • Special appearances in the CPDI Africa educational and documentary films on architecture, community
    planning and urban development for Africa.
  • Opportunity to attend local and international seminars and workshops hosted by Southern Sahara and CPDI Africa


All winning designers will be considered for the opportunity to earn paid internships with Southern Sahara and affiliate Organizational Partners. This distinguished opportunity is in addition to participation in the CPDI Africa building projects, workshops, documentary films, and annual AMADi publications on contemporary architectural design for building in Africa!

Go to the competition’s website