Hemlös – Homeless Competition

Submission: August 17, 2015
Registration:  August 17, 2015
Language: English, Swedish
Location:  Stockholm, Sweden
Prizes: N/A
Type: Open


Architects without borders in Sweden (ASF-SE) hereby invite to an open competition on homelessness, in collaboration with Stockholms stadsmission, the City of Stockholm and the Swedish Association of Architects. The purpose of the competition is to raise the discussion from merely debating the causes of the housing shortage to encouraging the development of methods, strategies and hands-on project ideas to improve the situation for people living in homelessness. The competition is open to all professional architects and designers as well as everyone else who has interesting thoughts and ideas on the subject. It offers a platform where competitors can take part in the debate on a very urgent issue and at the same time get their ideas reviewed by a competent jury and presented for actual stake holders and decision makers.


Architects without borders strive, by means of this competition, to create the base for a wide discussion on homelessness and conditions for actual solutions and projects that can contribute to a better situation for vulnerable groups in Stockholm. The aim is to bring out ideas on how the homelessness situation can be improved through various ways of creating conditions for new dwellings and housing forms.

Practically all investigations point out that having an apartment of your own is a precondition for a better life, but the housing shortage in Stockholm is urgent and the market is strongly dominated by financial interests.
ASF-SE see a big interest in social issues among architects, but the engagement is hard to channel the way the construction business is made up today. Hence we want to open up for new thoughts and ideas.

The City of Stockholm contribute to the competition through the City Planning Office and thereby wants to open the possibility for real housing projects for homeless people. Stockholms stadsmission want to take a more active part of the planning- and building process by initiating housing projects for homeless people themselves. The main ambition is to implement dwellings in ‘Housing first’-projects; i.e. dwellings that can be integrated with regular housing units in buildings and urban areas with mixed functions.

Stadsmissionen also would like to offer 200-250 additional housing units for acutely homeless, reducing the acute homelessness in Stockholm by half. And furthermore there is also a need for more places in extra housing for emergency situations such as extreme weather conditions, etc.

Competition task

Since homelessness is a complex issue, solutions might be found in widely different fields and include actors from completely different sectors of society. We have therefore chosen not to limit the task, but put the question in an as open way as possible to leave room for unexpected answers and innovative solutions.

Proposals can for example deal with:

  • –  finding locations that can be turned into relevant sites for construction.
  • –  developing new ways of construction that open up sites that previously hasn’t been possible for dwellings.
  • –  proposing hands-on building projects that integrate the homelessness situation in its organization and design.
  • –  finding existing buildings that can be retro-fitted into either emergency housing or more long term solutions.
  • –  developing prototypes of new housing forms that are more allowing than today’s alternatives or in other ways can integrate formerly homeless people.
  • –  design solutions that make life on the street more livable.
  • –  concepts for alternative housing providing agencies.
  • –  proposals for changed legislations that facilitate category housing.
  • –  or something entirely different that addresses the problem formulation and could contribute to improve the homelessness situation in Stockholm.Many solutions could render obvious synergy effects for the city which is an important quality – especially when it comes to generating a positive opinion and facilitate future development of the projects.

Competition form

The competition is an open ideas competition. It is arranged as a pro bono architect competition which means that no revenue is paid to either organizers, jury or competitors. The prize is not money but consists of publicity and an exhibition of all participating proposals. The competition gives opportunity to take part in the discussion on a very urgent subject and offers a platform for ideas to be exposed and perhaps taken up by people in decision making positions. A start-up seminar will be held at the start of the competition period with lectures and discussions around the subjects of the competition. This occasion will offer an opportunity to discuss problems and opportunities concerning the competition task. A summary of this discussion will be posted on the competition
web site.


The competition is open to everyone, regardless of profession, education or nationality. The proposals are handed in anonymously but the organizers welcome the creation of cross-disciplinary teams – architects, designers, politicians, social workers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, students and – not least – homeless people.

Competition Documents

The basis for the competition is this competition brief. Additional background information besides this competition program can be found at the competition web site: www.arkitekterutangranser.se/hemlos


Competition proposals shall be delivered as a pdf-file of maximum three pages. Format A3, landscape.

The proposal shall be anonymous. All pages shall be marked in the lower right corner by a motto that shall be made up of a word followed by three digits. The first page shall contain a short summary of the proposal’s concept and main ideas as well as descriptive illustrations. Other than that the pages can be arranged freely.

If the proposal contains concrete building projects the posters shall include an site plan/ orientation map and necessary text, illustrations and drawings so that it can be evaluated properly.

Attention! The digital file may have a size of maximum 15MB. All digitally delivered material must be cleared of traceable information on author, etc to guarantee anonymity.

Delivery of proposals

The competition period ends 2015-08-17. On this day, or earlier, all proposals must be delivered digitally on the competitioin website (www.arkitekterutangranser.se/hemlos). Proposals that are delivered later will not be taken up for evaluation.

All competitor must also send in a sealed envelope by post, marked “Hemlös – namnsedel” + the proposals motto. The motto shall be made up by a word followed by three digits. The envelope shall contain name of competitor, co-workers and address and must reach the competition officer by 2015-08-19.

The envelope shall be sent to the following address: Pro Bono/ ASF Sverige
c/o FFAR
Ringvägen 141

116 61 Stockholm
The organizers will publish a list with mottos of all delivered proposals on the competition website 2015-08-21.


The result of the competition will be made public in October 2015. In connection to this a prize ceremony and closing seminar will be held with a panel comprised of invited actors from different sectors – stake holders, decision makers, homeless people, architects and NGOs that are active in the field.

Since it is a pro bono competition, no prize money will be paid, but ASF-SE and the Swedish Association of Architects will work for that the award-winning proposals are being published and given proper attention. The competition proposals will be exhibited to the public for example as a part of Färgfabriken’s large exhibition during autumn 2015
– Experiment Stockholm.

Evaluation criteria

The proposals will be evaluated in relation to the following criteria, without particular order, and in relation to the demands and wished stated in this brief.

 Relevance for the homelessness situation  Innovation
 Possibilities for development
 Possibilities for realization

Qualities for the urban context 

Architectural design


The Swedish Association of Architects and the organizer has the right to publish the competition result on their respective web sites, in the magazine Arkitekten and Arkitektur, Situation Stockholm, Metro and other press. All publication of competition proposals after the competition is finished shall be made with naming the author.

The competition proposals will be exhibited to the public, for example as a part of Färgfabriken’s large exhibition during autumn 2015 – Experiment Stockholm.
The jury’s report will be published when the result is made official.

Commission after the competition

No guarantees of commissions after the competition is made, but hopefully interesting and relevant proposals can be developed further with the aim of realization. Both the City of Stockholm and Stockholms stadsmission are interested in finding projects that can become real projects. If so, it shall be the the winning proposals’ authors that are commissioned to develop their ideas.

If the organizer find reasons to deviate from the jury’s recommendations they can do so first after consultation with the Swedish Association of Architects.


Competition brief

Go to the competition