The Community Planning & Design Initiative Africa

Submission: July 31, 2015
Registration:  May 31, 2015
Language: English
Location Concept
Prizes1st Prize $5000, 2nd Prize $2000, 3rd Prize $1000 


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.

CPDI Africa engages participation from the design community within and outside Africa, for the accomplishment of its vision.

What Africa would you build?… If given the opportunity to redevelop Africa’s built environment in her own identity. As a participant in the CPDI Africa design-build competition, the role of the architect, engineer, artist or planner, is to First conduct research into the cultural history of African architecture. Understand the impact of lifestyle and how social philosophy and activities were (and still are practised) in space utilization and location within the home, family compound and community. Explore the aesthetics or architecture and the artistic languages of the various ethnicities. Understand the reasons why particular materials and building techniques were preferred and utilized across the Continent. Identify those traditional elements of design that still have value, and are relevant in todays architecture. Next, harmonize these traditional design elements with features from contemporary architectural practices, paying special attention to sustainability, availability and affordability of local materials. Through this design process, collaborating architects, artists and engineers will create stimulating Successful Design Prototypes, used to build culturally sound and sustainable neighbourhoods and cities!


Giving Africa a face in modern architecture, by fast-tracking the evolution of African architecture and stimulating the consciousness of research and learning institutions towards achieving this goal.

  • Sensitize the African community and urban development professionals on the need for the development of a new architecture for Africa that is culturally and environmentally sustainable.
  • Promote research within learning institutions for developing African architectural methods, that are relevant and applicable to the general population.
  • Encourage the full development and utilization of locally sourced organic building materials, by professionals as an alternative (for construction.) in solving building cost effectiveness and structural viability.
  • Influence the development of design and building codes that reflect and protect true and sustainable habitation patterns in contemporary African communities.
  • To take action as the future developers of Africa’s built environment, by building healthy sustainable neighborhoods which exemplify and promote the best practices of urban Africa.
  • To breathe new life into the original African traditional concept of community development, founded upon neighborhood participation through community sweat equity.
  • To foster collaborative ventures between development professionals in Africa and the Diaspora, for the development of our communities on and off the African continent.

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 must provide valid information of their college, university, school of architecture or polytechnic.
  • All CPDI Africa participants Must Register to participate on the CDPIAfrica.org website. Pre registration is available on the website, with official registration opening January 2015.
  • Submission of the CPDI application form, must be completed by the architect / Team lead. Current CV and Photos, of all team members should be submitted during the application process.
  • Complete Participation Waiver (on the Application), for your wining designs to be built and or published.
  • Participants will receive the CPDI Africa DESIGN BRIEF upon completion of the application process.

First Prize
$5, 000.00 cash prize.
Best Design Recognition, and prototype chosen for the design-build project.
Major feature in AMADi publication and documentary.

Second Prize
$2, 000.00 cash prize.
Major feature in AMADi publication and documentary.

Third Prize
$1, 000.00 cash prize.
Major feature in AMADi publication and documentary.

Runner Ups
22 runner up winners will receive:
Major feature in AMADi publication and documentary.
Receive recognition and present their submissions at the CPDI Africa Award Ceremony.

Additional Awards:
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 inAfrica!

Winning designers will receive prizes and special recognition during the CPDI AfricaAnnual 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.

January 1, 2015  Competition Launches
May 31, 2015 Registration Closes
July 31, 2015 Submission Closes
August – September 2015 Jury Selections
October 2015 – Winners announced
November 2015 – Award ceremony

Go to the competition