Resilient Homes Challenge


Natural disasters are on the rise. Since 1990, natural disasters have affected on average 217 million people every single year. Hundreds of floods, storms, heat waves and droughts have left about 606,000 people dead and 4.1 billion injured or homeless around the world since 1995. And it is often the poorest that suffer the most from these shocks.

As architects and engineers, we can design resilient and sustainable houses that both reduce the risk of damage and enable rapid reconstruction following a disaster.

The World Bank, Build Academy, Airbnb, and GFDRR are calling upon architects around the world to develop designs for resilient, modular and affordable homes that cost under $10,000.

Winning designs will be published and winners will be invited to exhibit at the World Bank, and flown into Washington DC,  and other selected global venues. Winning designs could also eventually inform resilient housing or reconstruction work for World Bank-funded projects in places like the Caribbean, South and East Asia, etc.


  • Sign up anytime with no registration fee and form your team, or participate on your own, provided that you are an architect or civil engineer
  • Participate in the optional educational tutorials to enhance your knowledge of the context
  • If you need some help, you’ll have the option to receive regular feedback from Experts in the field and in group forums on Zoom
  • Submit your final proposal by November 30th, 2018, latest
  • A highly reputable Jury will select and announce the winners on December 14th, 2018


The competition calls for designing a modular house costing under $10,000 that should be easy to build.

The challenge has been designed for three scenarios. Design teams can submit designs for a single scenario or all three scenarios depending on their preference.



HAZARD Earthquakes and Tropical storms with wind speeds in excess of 250 km/hr. (cyclones/ hurricanes/ typhoons)
GEOGRAPHY Island countries (example: the Caribbean including Haiti)
CLIMATE Hot summers and mild winters
ADDED CHALLENGE Heavy cost of ferrying in construction material
CONSTRUCTION COST Material: $120/sqm


Labor: $50/sqm

Transport: $80/sqm

PLOT Assume a 20 m x 20 m plot size in a low-lying area


HAZARD Earthquakes up to 7.0 on Richter’s scale also resulting in landslides
GEOGRAPHY Mountain & inland areas (example: Nepal, northern India, Peru etc.)
CLIMATE Harsh winters and mild summers
ADDED CHALLENGE Terrain difficulty in transporting heavy construction material
CONSTRUCTION COST Material: $120/sqm


Labor: $50/sqm

Transport: $50/sqm

PLOT Assume a 20 m x 20 m plot size in a rocky terrain which is part sloping (gentle gradient)


HAZARD Tropical storms with wind speeds in excess of 250 km/hr (cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons) also resulting in localized flooding (low-lying areas)
GEOGRAPHY Coastal areas (example: Bangladesh, Philippines etc.)
CLIMATE Hot summers with areas of heavy rainfall
CONSTRUCTION COST Material: $120/sqm


Labor: $50/sqm

Transport: $30/sqm

PLOT Assume a 20 m x 20 m plot size in a low-lying area which is around 500 m from the coastline.

Note on Construction Cost:

Material Cost: This is calculated based on a standard basket of construction material (Example: cement, gravel, sand, reinforced steel, wood, cement tiles etc.) with an average rate across different countries/regions. If teams would like to replace standard material with local and cost-effective materials, they are encouraged to justify savings (Example: bamboo might be cheaper if locally available). Teams are encouraged to justify costs using the “Schedule of Rates” for the country/region they plan to design for as a reference.

Labor Costs: Assume labor costs as standard irrespective of the kind of materials or time taken for construction.

Transport cost: If there are local materials available the transportation costs could come down. On the flip side, if there are pre-fabricated components to a home, the transportation costs might go up depending on the material that needs to be shipped / transported. Teams are expected to use their judgement and can justify their costs in the final proposal.

Finally, the Jury is mindful of different regions/countries having different costs associated with construction and teams will not be penalized for not having “exact costs”. Teams have the freedom to justify their cost assumptions in the final proposal.



Design teams are encouraged to look beyond “fully pre-fabricated” housing designs in order to allow incorporating local building materials and techniques into their designs; designs could be fully, partially or not prefabricated with a clear aim towards ease of construction

  • Designs incorporate climatic conditions
  • Integration of storage tank for rainwater collection is preferred
  • Toilets should be environmentally friendly, attached or detached
  • Housing material should be fireproof/treatable to be fireproof
  • Project construction cost should be limited to $10,000


AREA: The houses should accommodate a family of 4-5 people in about 40-50m2.

KITCHEN: 8-12m2, storage and cooking space

BATHROOM & TOILET: 5-8m2  (combined or separate)

BEDROOM: 12-15m2; storage space 1-2m2

MAINROOM: 20m2, could be used as a bedroom at night


Participants are encouraged to respect the building codes of the countries they are designing for.

Source: Build Academy

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat. 

Deadline/closing date: 
Friday, November 30, 2018