Submission: January 15, 2016
Registration: January 15, 2016
Language: English
Location: Concept
Prizes: 1st Prize: € 5,000, 2nd Prize: € 3,000, 3rd Prize: € 1,000
Type: Open


The European Federation for Living (EFL) is hosting a design competition for architecture and design students requesting stimulating, innovative ideas in the field of new-build accessible housing for the elderly as by 2060, over half of the European population will be past retirement age. In response to this fundamental change in demography, we want to investigate ideas about how best we can house our ageing society so that people can con- tinue being a resource for society well into the later years of their lives.

This will likely require a majority of housing to be made adaptably accessible so that it can accommodate our changing needs as we age, rather than people being rehoused into “elder friendly” accommodation. Entrants are encouraged to think broadly about the needs of the ageing population and the issues of accessibility and to build multidisciplinary teams by involving (for example) gerontology, engineering, or social science students. A total of EUR 10,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winning entries.


This competition is organised by the European Federation for Living (EFL), an association composed of housing organisations, companies in the chain of housing development and academic institutes with an interest in housing. The competition is an international design competi- tion intended for students. It is a concept competition where entrants are invited to submit overall concepts for accessible housing for the elderly at any scale and at a reasonable cost. The purpose is to find innovative and unexplored accessible housing solutions. The competi- tion brief is to outline the changing needs of European housing in re- sponse to demographic shift towards an increasingly ageing society. We ask that students then design accessible residential buildings with a focus on the individual dwellings or groups of buildings, assuming a blank canvas. What is important in this brief is to identify the needs as outlined and to create a bold vision for the future. The aim is for entrants to consider the problem field of accessible housing in the future and to identify themes to explore in more detail in their design.


The competition is open to all registered degree, master or diploma students of university-level institutions from countries with an EFL partner member. Entries may be submitted by individuals or teams. Entrants are encouraged to form multi-disciplinary teams. It is ac- ceptable for competition entries to be supervised in teaching con- texts at the student’s or students’ place of study.


EFL will award prizes amounting to EUR 10,000. These will be as follow:
• 1st prize €5000
• 2nd prize €3000

• 3rd prize €1000

• prizes of €500

EFL may, at its discretion, decide to distribute the prize money differ- ently, by unanimous decision. EFL will apply for tax exemption for the cash prize. The prize recipient(s) must themselves manage any impact that the prize money may have on their study grants or taxation. The prize will go only to individual student(s).


The competition period begins on October 2015. The competition deadline is 15 January 2016. The results of the competition will be published on March 2016.


What? An EFL funded, accessible housing building with a focus on individual dwellings.
How? Reasonably priced, accessible, adaptable, innovative and comfortable.
Why? The population is ageing; there will be a great need for accessible housing. The competition brief is to outline the chang- ing needs of European housing in response to demographic shift towards an increasingly ageing.

The aim is for entrants to consider the problem field of acces- sible housing in the future and to identify themes to explore in more detail in their design. The description text of the entry must demonstrate what the entrant’s vision is of accessible housing in the future and its principal themes. The themes to be highlighted and explored may have to do with health, community, new forms of work, new housing service concepts, construction, technol- ogy, etc. There are no limitations to this. However, there are three primary themes we would like to see addressed: accessibility, health, and affordability.

Residential buildings of the future should be accessible. How will the concepts of accessibility manifest themselves in architec- ture? Submissions should at least be obstacle-free, with unhin- dered access both indoors and outdoors. Some of the additional themes we would like to see explored are:

  • Flexibility and adaptation to residents’ needs at various stages of their lives

  • Adjustable spatial solutions
  • Integrated ICT technologies
  • Modular components which allows for transferability to exist-ing housing stocks
  • Inclusive (or universal) design.


Competition entries must include the following:

  • Site plan 1:200
  • Garden plan 1:200 (this can be presented in site plan)
  • Floor plans 1:100 or 1:50, at the entrant’s discretion
  • Environment plan 1:500 or 1:1000, at the entrant’s discretion
  • Description of the overall concept, presentation at the entrant’sdiscretion
  • Elevations and sufficient cross-sections 1:100 or 1:50, at the en-trant’s discretion
  • At least one indoor perspective drawing and one outdoor per-spective drawing from a location chosen by the entrant
  • A description text no more than two A4 sheets long, covering atleast the following points:

o Entrant’s vision of what the challenges in accessible housing will be in the future
o How the competition entry addresses these challenges

o The principal architectural features of the entry
o Floor area and distribution of apartments

• Any other material considered necessary (for example drawings of furniture or equipment, graphics, text, pictures)


All materials submitted must be of publication quality and should be submitted electronically in PDF format (at 150 dpi) and a maxi- mum size of 10MB. Submissions are limited to three panels or less (A0), with supplemental descriptive texts submitted in a separate document, if necessary.


The competition is anonymous. The competition secretary will anonymise all submission once received. Participants should use pseudonyms on all competition materials.


The competition deadline is 15 January 2016. Competition en- tries must be submitted electronically to svanbalen@ef-l.eu and info@efl.eu no later than 16.00h CET on the deadline date given above. Entries received after the deadline will be disqualified.

Go to the competition’s website