PANDEMIC ARCHITECTURE International Ideas Competition

Pandemic Architecture is an International Ideas Competition curated by the Design Ambassador for

While waiting for the ECOweek meet-up to launch on the 16th of May (more details to follow soon in a blog post!), I found myself trying to keep in touch with the online creative world and be pleasantly surprised by the numerous opportunities. Quarantine and self-isolation have become the new norm... but have you thought that our creativity and design practice has remained focused on topics that we used to think about, before this pandemic? As things around us shift and reshape drastically, creatives are facing new challenges. But what if we saw them as less of a challenge and more of new territory to be explored? How about instead of designing for a future that looks a lot like our past we start designing for a present that is like nothing we have experienced? Health, design and their co-affection have been on the core of architecture topics of investigation since the creation of the first cities. What does an architecture of pandemic, of protection or of healing look, feel like, or propose, in the 21st century? All these new ideas, designs and perspectives which might have already begun shaping in your head as you read these lines could be a winning proposal in the pandemic architecture competition! Are you up for a challenge?

“Extraordinary times” require extraordinary design.

What Can Architecture Do for our Health?

On 17 November 2019, a COVID-19 case was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei, China. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic, as over 138,000 cases have been confirmed in more than 130 countries and territories and at least 3,300 people have died from the disease. Over the course of a few days, the lives of millions of people have drastically changed.

Public health responses around the world have included travel restrictions, curfews, event cancellations, school closures as well as quarantines of all of Italy and the Chinese province of Hubei. In the name of public security, state authorities have implemented screening methods at airports and train stations and excessive coronavirus public monitoring, such as facial recognition technology that can detect elevated temperatures in a crowd or flag citizens not wearing a face mask, while apps use the personal health data of citizens.

In the meanwhile, millions of people are isolated inside a new type of bunker. In the Hubei Province, a new 25 thousand square meter hospital was constructed in only 10 days. Worldwide effects of the pandemic also include social and economic instability, xenophobia and racism and “voluntary prisoners” encouraged by stay-at-home movements.

Architecture shapes Disease cities.

When the needs of citizens change, so do their cities and their homes.

There is a strong connection between health and architecture. Since ancient times, health care has been associated with the construction and use of specialized medical buildings and structures. Architecture helps shape the quality of our environments and can contribute to health and wellbeing. Topics concerning health have always been stimulating architectural innovations at different scales: territorial and urban development projects as well as architectural and interior design.

Health has often stimulated speculative design and experimental proposals within the architectural discipline as many works of famous architects, such as Alvar Aalto, Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella and the theories of Le Corbusier, give attention to the psychological and physical well-being. Furthermore, hospitals adopted architectural features thought to promote health and limit disease spread while architects designed operating rooms and clinical spaces for utilitarian purposes — namely, maintaining a well-lit, aseptic environment. During the cholera outbreak in London, in 1856, Frederick Marrable was assigned to design the Metropolitan Board of Works in order to provide sanitary infrastructure.

Pandemic Architecture

In today’s largely urban and interconnected world, infectious disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies pose a real threat to large cities.

Pandemic Realities addresses the spatial configurations, modes of living, and notions of the human body engendered by disruptive public health crises such as Covid-19 outbreak.

As the world faces new globalized health threats, there is a

need to design the home/ the city of tomorrow, living in times

whereas pandemics and viruses will be part of our everyday life.

By designing for the needs of a pandemic reality, architects act as guarantors and guardians of the Public Health of a community. Virus outbreaks have their impact on urban space as well as on the living of millions of people.

In managing any public health crisis, the design of a city will have two overall tasks:

  • dealing with the sudden large number of sick people

  • keeping city life as normal as possible for everyone else

First, in the case of an emergency due to an epidemic or pandemic disease, a city is confronted with large-scale needs in supplies, medical spaces and cemeteries.

Second, designing places of living in the future should not only take into account functional spaces for individual and collective needs, but should also protect health, as humans spend more and more of their time isolated in built spaces.

When millions of people are isolated and working from home,

what features should a home have?

When people can’t travel, what is the role of the hotels?

When crowds are not allowed at public spaces, how cities and

public spaces change?

In terms of health centres and interior design, what are the

hygienic architectural details of the pandemic reality?

Pandemic Architecture Competition attempts to open up a dialogue and create a think tank, looking for ideas from the architectural and design community about the future of the living, the workspace, the public space and the tourism industry.

Urbanists, architects, designers, students, artists, performers and authors are invited to submit their ideas on Pandemic Architecture.

Proposals should be based on a realistic situation or on science fiction and should focus on territorial and urban development projects or architectural and interior design.

“…. Maybe something concretely practical? Buildings that can self-clean, that have features that make it easier to self isolate, bigger freezers, reserve freezers/pantries in basements so apartment buildings get the features a typical US home has, with those freaky garages full of huge freezers (obviously these wouldn’t run during good times, just be there so people can hunker down if needs be.)

Built in Skype screens or some sort of screen comms in each flat so people who might not have laptops can communicate. (There was a sad scene from Spain, one retirement home completely infected and on lockdown, staff don’t pick up phones and relatives can’t get ahold of their parents, don’t even know if they’re sick. Bodies cremated immediately to prevent spreading the disease so maybe not even a funeral? This guy was trying to force his way in to check on his dad but they wouldn’t let him in.) OK, very corona centric but it seems that we have to expect this will continue in various forms.

Ability to grow food on rooftop terraces, sides of buildings, some sort of hoist-system so you can sow, maintain and harvest…

Absence of touch and human company – things that can alleviate loneliness…big soft shapes you can stroke or cuddle up to? AI pets or servants?

These things will matter more in the end than ‘luxurious’ touches like marble bathrooms. Ability to air out houses effectively also important…..”

— thoughts came from someone recovering from a manageable case of the CV-19


1. Emergency design (City Strategies, Hospitals, Cemeteries, Sanitary Spaces etc)

2. Living (Homes, Workspaces, Apartments, Public Spaces, Hotels etc)

Submission Requirements

I. Material containing 3-10 images /drawings /renders / collages / animation II. Text describing the concept (500 words)

I + II will be evaluated by the jury.

III. 1 video narrative (2-3 minutes) of the authors explaining their concept in black and white

Questions to be answered in the video: – Describe us your scenario/concept. – Which questions does your proposal address? – What Can Architecture Do for our Health? – What role must and should have the architects facing public health emergencies?

The deliverables can only be submitted in digital files.


The evaluation of entries will be based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation, originality, creativity of the proposal

  • General impression and clarity of the overall concept


WINNERS (2 Prizes) # 2.000 euros # Publication on # Publication in Archisearch The Paper Edition # Reviews in digital magazines and several architecture blogs

SPECIAL DISTINCTION WITH GIFT VOUCHER (2 Prizes) # Online Lighting Masterclass with Creative Lighting (value £500 each) # Publication on # Publication in Archisearch The Paper Edition # Reviews in digital magazines and several architecture blogs

HONOURABLE MENTIONS (8 Prizes) # Publication on # Publication in Archisearch The Paper Edition # Reviews in digital magazines and several architecture blogs

Schedule Launch: March 16

Registration Deadline: May 20

Send at a .doc file containing an 8 digit code selected by you (all digits should be numbers) + the names and contact details of the participants (name, email, telephone, country).

The registration is free.

Submission Deadline: May 31 Send your files with a wetransfer/dropbox/google drive link at

The files should be only named after the 8-digit team code and should be anonymous.

Find out more and keep up to the latest updates:


“I am interested in how the new reality of COVID-19 generates front-line

protective design solutions, but also in how the design of our environments

is placed into an enlarged theoretical, historical and cultural context.”

— Lydia Kallipoliti


Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology and environmental politics. She is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Cooper Union in New York. Prior to Cooper Union, she was an Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she directed the MSArch program and Syracuse University; she also taught at Columbia University, Pratt Institute.

Kallipoliti is the author of the book The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (Lars Muller, 2018), as well as the History of Ecological Design for Oxford English Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Her work has been exhibited in a number of international venues including the Venice Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Shenzhen Biennial, the Oslo Trienalle, the London Design Museum and the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Kallipoliti is the recipient of a Webby Award, grants from the Graham Foundation, and the New York State Council for the Arts, an Honorable Mention at the Shenzhen Biennial, a Fulbright scholarship, and the ACSA annual award for Creative Achievement. Recently, her practice ANAcycle was recognized as a Leading Innovator in Sustainable Design in BUILD’s 2019 Design & Build Awards, while her book was a finalist among all publications in design, art and architecture in 2018 for the Cornish Family Prize by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Kallipoliti holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from AUTh in Greece, a SMArchS from MIT and a PhD from Princeton University.

“There is already a lot of utopia in Instagram. Here we have to think of solutions

that will serve the common good. Not necessarily to make an architecture move,

but to come up with ideas that can help us. It could be the kit of a building that

would open up and use its instructions in case of an epidemic.”

— Ora Ito

ORA ITO, Paris, France

A phenomenon in pop culture, he is the youngest designer of his generation to collaborate with jewels of luxury goods and industry, after the huge multi-acclaimed success of his aluminium Heineken bottle. Cassina, Cappellini, Bouygues, Alstom, Laguiole, Zanotta and Accor highly rate his sculptural design that has become a mark of modernity.

The multidisciplinary, transversal Ora ïto studio has since gone from telephone to architecture, from furniture to the hotel industry, from perfume to tramways and from flying saucers to restaurants, manipulating symbols to simplify them. A tenacious methodology for which he has invented a neologism: simplexity, decoding today’s DNA to conceptualise future mutations. His fluid vocabulary materialises movement reinventing streamlining in the digital era and giving shape to the desires of our contemporary society.

“Pandemic Architecture can bring together not only solutions, but also bring toge-

ther this creative community to our every day life. This competition will help

to find out what is social architecture and design, today.“

—Roberto Palomba, Palomba Serafini Associati

ROBERTO PALOMBA, Milan, Italy – Palomba Serafini Associati

Roberto and Ludovica Palomba, architects and designers, founded Palomba Serafini Associati in 1994 in Milan.

Their distinctive hallmark has emerged from the capacity to combine a contemporary vision of society and user needs, with an extensive knowledge of the historical and cultural roots of design, producing results that blend the past with the future. This unique and personal approach makes them particularly sensitive to issues about function and the need to create long-lasting products.

“Architecture theory has been preparing us for dystopia. (…)

The present situation calls for a critical rethinking of past knowledge, seizing the op-

portunity to discuss, albeit once again crisis on planetary scale enhanced with a new

more empathetic turn to humanism.”

—Sophia Vyzoviti


Architect, researcher and educator. Associate Professor in Architectural Design at the Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly.Author of books ‘μικροκατοικια’ (2017) ‘soft shells’ (2011) ‘supersurfaces’ (2006) and ‘folding architecture’ (2003)

In her practice, Sophia sustains a research by design approach. In addition to architecture and urban design projects she produces architectural prototypes and temporary installations. Her goal is to enhance collective creativity within a critical spatial practice.

“We have waited long enough! (…) Put Theory and Practice together for real solutions

and new directions. We can’t wait until 2030 or 2050.”

— Tom Lindblom, Gensler

TOM LINDBLOM – Gensler Tom is a Lifestyle Sector leader for Gensler’s Latin American region. As a hospitality leader for the design firm, he transitioned full-time to Gensler’s Costa Rica office from the London office to support the dynamic tourism market in LATAM. He has more than 25 years of experience on a variety of projects, with a special focus on hotels, resorts, mixed-use and museums. Working with diverse clients in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the United States has broadened his understanding and appreciation for unique opportunities in a variety of markets. Tom is active with clients to develop sustainable hotels and resorts that operate efficiently from an economic, social and environmental position. His experience also includes design and planning for several museums and galleries in the United States and Europe. Tom holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Utah and an undergraduate degree in the History of Science and Technology from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

“I am looking forward to proposals that range from private to public, interior to urban

and those that show an innovative use of technology. In a way, this is an opportunity

to reshape our world in every respect towards healthy living.”

— Marianthi Tatari, UN Studio

Marianthi Tatari, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – UN Studio Marianthi is an Associate Director at UNStudio, a knowledge-driven architecture and design practice in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In her role she is leading projects with a focus on design, organization, and bridging bold ideas with practice methodology.

Marianthi has worked worldwide in over 15 countries with projects in architecture, urbanism and interior design. She has led the Architectural Guidelines design for the Metro Network in Doha. Her current projects include the Campus in Amsterdam and the Residences at Mandarin Oriental in Istanbul. As a true systems thinker, Marianthi takes a scalar approach to design, addressing issues of experience, identity and sense of place in various scales and typologies. Her heart lies in creating places that inspire the best connections among people.

“Participants are encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams and re-think the way they

socialize, work together and support each other in these extraordinary circumstances

as part of living and as part of the public amenities, the function of which is being ad-

apted to protect the public health.”

— Kyriakos Chatziparaskevas, Heatherwick Studio

Kyriakos Chatziparaskevas, London, UK – Heatherwick Studio

Kyriakos Chatziparaskevas works at Heatherwick Studio since 2014. His current work at the studio involves carrying through the construction of Google’s innovative new HQ in California.

Kyriakos’ work has earned him international experience from concept to completion in a wide variety of prestigious projects that include objects, art installations, buildings, public spaces and urban infrastructure. He has worked with corporate clients, as well as with various cities and institutions. His keen interest in polymathy, encompassing design at the intersection of art, architecture, engineering and science, contributes to his experience in practising across different disciplines and implementing it on a variety of Research and Development projects.Alongside practicing architecture, Kyriakos has lectured and presented his work at various universities, institutions and events.

Kyriakos holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and a MA in Advanced Architectural Design from the Staedelschule in Frankfurt, Germany

“Architecture must be at the forefront of design innovation to adapt our built environment

to address this global crisis. This pandemic has shown us how quickly norms and reality

can change. New strategies will allow us to develop dynamic built environments to accom-

modate rapid social change at an urban scale.”

— Martha Tsigkari, ARD Group, Foster + Partners

Martha Tsigkari, London, UK – Foster + Partners

Martha Tsigkari is a Partner of the Applied Research + Development (ARD) group at Foster + Partners. She is a specialist in a wide range of areas including performance-driven design and optimisation, AI and machine learning, interfaces & interaction, design-to-production and fast feedback & integration. Her work incorporates the development of simulation tools, the introduction of integrated processes and the creation of physical interfaces. She has provided solutions for hundreds of diverse projects such as the new airport for Mexico City.

Martha holds an Architect-Engineer’s degree from the Aristotle University in Greece, and an MSc in Adaptive Architecture & Computation from UCL. She is a member of RIBA, a UCL fellow and module leader at the MSc Architectural Computation at the Bartlett and a juror at various schools, including the AA and UPenn. She has taught, lectured and published on the subject of computational design internationally.

# Curator Archisearch & Design Ambassador

# Assistant Curator Tina Marinaki, editor in chief

# Pandemic Architecture competition is held under the auspices of the Association of

University Graduate Architects - Panhellenic Union of Architects, the Dodecanese

Architects Association & the French Institute of Greece.

# Media Partners: Parametric Architecture, Architime, Designboom, Competitions

Archi, Bustler, LIFO, Huffington Post, Andro, Fortune Greece, Epixeiro

# Community Partners: Creative Lighting, Mdff Greece-Cyprus,

Cyprus Architects Association

# Graphics: AG Design Agency

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