The Quad: A Design Competition to Create a Social Space

Submission: May 20, 2016
Registration: May 20, 2016
Language: English
Location: Boston, USA
Prizes: 1st Prize: $5,000
Type: Open


“Quad”, short for “Quadrangle”, is one term for the public square at the center of a college campus.  It’s a space to take naps in the grass on a sunny day, throw a Frisbee with friends, or where inspirational lectures are given on a warm spring afternoon. The experience of the quad is one of vibrancy, playfulness, and connectivity. In our increasingly dense urban habitats, city dwellers seek to discover similar environments in the places they live, work, and play.

The Quad Competition is an international call for a social space installation. The competition is hosted by WHAT’S IN, a multi-disciplinary research initiative that advocates for urban density and housing affordability through design and policy. Since 2012, WHAT’S IN has built traveling exhibits annually to host research content. Past exhibits were all self-supporting structures designed for ease of travel and deployment, and built with inexpensive materials. Proposals should aim to create an installation with similar approaches.

The winning installation will be premiered at Architecture Boston Expo (ABX) in November of 2016, a 3-day event held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), attended by thousands in the building industry in the US Northeast.  The installation will then travel other locations in the city as a mobile exhibit.


This competition is open internationally to design professionals, installation artists, and students. Submitters may be teams or individuals. No professional qualification is required; however, submitters must demonstrate experience producing large-format installations. Only one entry per person/team is permitted.


PHASE 1   DUE DATE: May 20TH, 2016

The first phase seeks proposal entries that not only satisfy all programmatic needs and demonstrate experience and capabilities in fabrication, but also create a lively social space. Six finalists will be awarded a $300 USD stipend to develop a full-scale physical mockup of their proposals.  For detailed requirements, please refer to the Phase 1 and Registration pages.

PHASE 2   DUE DATE: August 17TH, 2016

Up to six finalists from phase 1 will be required to develop their design and produce a full mockup of a portion of the full design as the submission content for phase 2. In the second phase, one final winner will be selected with a $5,000 USD award towards the final execution.


  • April 8th                  Registration Opens
  • May 4th            Deadline for Questions. Questions will be answered and as they are recieved until this date.
  • May 20th                 1st Phase Submission Deadline
  • June 16th                 1st Phase Finalists Announcement
  • August 17th             2nd Phase Submission Deadline
  • September 7th        Final Winner Selected
  • Nov 15th -17th         Installation at ABX 2016


The final installation MUST:

  •  Be a self-supporting structure, not hanged or rigged on surrounding structures.
  •  Draw exhibit participants towards it, having substantial presence on the exhibit floor.
  •  Provide prominent surface areas to host research content provided by WHAT’S IN.
  •  Winner is responsible for final deployment at ABX.
  •  Consider use of sustainable building materials, or develop strategies to reuse the material post the life of the installation.

Go to the competition’s website