Great Green Wall Single Stage Student Ideas Competition

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has announced the results of the Great Green Wall (GGW) single stage student ideas competition. This is the official student competition of the 29th UIA World Congress of Architects that will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark on 2-6 July 2023.

The jury met in Copenhagen on 6-8 December 2022 to evaluate over 150 entries from 49 countries. The members were impressed with the overall quality of the entries and concurred about a series of collective observations, including the awareness of climate change as well as the innovative approaches demonstrated in every scale.

The first prize was awarded to Altynai Isaeva from the Kyrgyz State University of Construction and Architecture (KSUCTA), Kyrgyzstan for the project “Sustainable housing for Africa” in Sauga, Burkina Faso. The jury lauded the entry for being “a very mature and correct proposal, able to redeploy typological memory and conceptual clarity through a simple configuration of a solid base. It is easy to imagine that this project could grow into a village incrementally, when families expand, following the architectural language of the initial house.” The beautiful presentation was also highlighted by the Jury, as was the meticulous attention to detail.

Competition winners will be invited to attend the Congress and participate in the Awards Ceremony in Copenhagen. The winning entries will also be displayed at the event.

Visit the UIA or Congress website for more information on the Copenhagen Congress.

Should you require any further information, please contact us here.


About the competition

The International Union of Architects (UIA) launched the single stage international ideas competition for the Great Green Wall (GGW), open to architecture students from around the World.
The objective of the competition was to spotlight innovative design ideas for providing simplified affordable housing within the 8000 km long and 16 km wide living region stretching across the Sahel-Savanah desert region, from Dakar to Djibouti, known as the Great Green Wall (GGW).

This competition was initiated by the UIA’s Region V to engage the global community of architecture students in the effort to harness the benefits of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to architecture in the service of the GGW. In conjunction with the long-term aims of the Initiative, architecture students were encouraged to respond to the realities of climate change by creating affordable resilient dwellings, and sustainable rural livability while sustainably rejuvenating the cultural and historical landscape.
This competition was conducted according to the UNESCO Standard Regulations for International Competitions and the UIA best practice recommendations (see: Competition Guide for Design Competitions in Architecture and Related fields).
The organisers held interactive videoconferences to educate architects about the GGW as a concept of human survival in a world subject to the increasing threat of an impeding climate catastrophe. These videoconferences included four speakers who shed light on the various topics. Participation in these online seminars was a “consultative” step of participating in the competition.

Theme and objectives

The task was to make a design proposal for a sustainable dwelling that could accommodate up to 25 people. This was to be conceptually arranged in a combination of about 5 dwellings in the sense of a cluster of urbanisation, with one dwelling presented in more detail. This enlargement would include the definition of community/public space as a context for the dwelling proposal. Communal dwelling should enhance the ongoing development of the greenery percentage around the selected site.

A participatory approach in design was recommended to review the courtyard system/cultural synthesis of the many tribes living along the Sahel-Savanah shelterbelt. Further study of the Cultures along the region was suggested to help propose architectural solutions for the population living on the GGW belt.

The competition encouraged participants to view the environment as a design resource for innovation, through the use of sustainable materials and novel design approaches for change investigations. Participants were expected to trigger many opportunities and explore solution-driven approaches to indigenous architectural challenges. Learning opportunities would include: design that responds to the realities of climate change, climate actions, peculiar contexts in urbanism, and the making of culture-sensitive productive rural landscapes while taking into account the need for affordable shelter, resilient dwelling, and sustainable livability in the twenty-first-century rurality.


The competition was open to all full-time enrolled students from all over the world. Multidisciplinary teams were allowed to participate but had to be led by an architectural student. Student participants had to be enrolled in a school of architecture at the time of submission.

Jury Members

  • Gaetan Siew, Architect, Mauritius (jury president)
  • Daniel Balo, Architect, Hungary (UIA representative)
  • Helena Sandman, Architect, Finland
  • Francisco Rodriguez-Suarez, Professor of Architecture, University of Illinois, USA
  • Zhang Yue, Professor of Architecture, Tsinghua University, China

Alternate Juror:

  • Alba Alsina-Maqueda, Architect, Spain


1st prize: Altynai Isaeva from the Kyrgyz State University of Construction and Architecture (KSUCTA), Kyrgyzstan for the project “Sustainable housing for Africa” in Burkina Faso.

2nd prize: Yuto Takenaka from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, USA for the project “Dandelion ARC Journey”.

3rd prize: Tian Haoran, Yang Mohan, Wu Ruopan and Cao Chuangwei supervised by tutors Hou Shuai and Ren Zhonglong from the Inner Mongolia University of Technology, China for the project “Green Colonies” in Niger.

4th prize: Quan Dao and Quang Ngo, Hanoi Architectural University, Vietnam for the project “Co-Living” in Burkina Faso.

5th prize: Abdulhameed Yakubu, Khadija Oyanki, Rayyan Garba and Amina Musa from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria for the project “The Gidajen Laka” in Nigeria.

Honourable mentions:

  • Denis Ezekiel and Christopher Luvanda, Ardhi University, Tanzania for the project “The design of sustainable dwelling” in Senegal.
  • Yiyang Liu and Meijia Sun, Chongqing Metropolitan College of Science and Technology, Department of Architecture, China for the project “Sprawling Community” in Chad.
  • Asena Janset Odaci and Zeynep Yazici, Tobb University of Economics And Technology, Turkey for the project “Patch” in Chad.
  • Hatice Bahar Çoklar, Ece Irem Tuncer and Okan Temür, Yıldız Technical University, Turkey for the project “Urban Loop” in Burkina Faso.
  • Nde Keulek Sidoine Baudrel, Mahamat Talba, Lizette Marlaine Tsafack Donfack, Parfait Audry Migoue Ymbe and Emy Sandrine Masso, École Nationale Supérieure des travaux publics de Yaoundé, Cameroon for the project “Competitive Cluster House” in Senegal.
  • Eren Vardar, Alperen Iraz and Süleyman Enes Kurt, Istanbul University, Turkey for the project “Saltogether” in Djibouti.
  • Li Bei Bei, Feng Yu Qing, Cai Zhen and Li Jun Jie supervised by their advisor Chen Chao, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, China for the project “Eco Tree” in Burkina Faso.
  • Johanna Lentzkow, Nils Hayoz and Laura Camerlingo, Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal for the project “EcoVillage” in Burkina Faso.
  • Lelissa Erkissa, Mikyas Tekle and Simon Mucheye, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia for the project “Sustainable Hidmo Housing” in Ethiopia.
  • L.A.S Shikara Silva and S. Suwanka Senadheera, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka for the project “African Dream” in Burkina Faso.

Key dates

2022-05-20 Deadline for questions
2022-08-20 Deadline for registration
2022-09-20 Submission of entries
2022-09-30 Deadline for submission of entries
2022-10-24 Announcement of results


  • 1st prize: EUR 5,000 + a certificate
  • 2nd prize: EUR 4,000 + a certificate
  • 3rd prize: EUR 3,000 + a certificate
  • 4th prize: EUR 2,000 + a certificate
  • 5th prize: EUR 1,000 + a certificate