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Architecture at Zero is a design competition for decarbonization, equity and resilience, open to students and professionals worldwide. It serves to engage the fields of architecture, design, engineering and planning in the pursuit of sustainable design.

Thank you for your interest in the Architecture at Zero competition. We look forward to receiving your entry!

When you submit your entry, we will also ask how much time each team member spent learning decarbonization principles and preparing the submission. Specifically, we will ask how much time each team member spent on:

o Assessing available renewables and PV design
o HVAC / load analysis
o Daylighting
o Whole building energy modeling
o Project design
o Board design and graphics
o Technical write-up


Be sure to keep a record of this information as you work on your project.

SUBMISSIONS AT A GLANCE

1. Design Board File (PDF document)

2. Short Essay – Equity

3. Climate Adaptation Assessment Matrix – Resilience

4. Design Team Information

5. Supplementary Documentation (Optional)

6. Student ID (if applicable)

7. Hours Worked


1. Design Board File (PDF document)

Entries will be judged based on one presentation board containing the elements listed under “Required Documentation” in the Decarbonization Considerations document. 

The Design Presentation Board must be sized to ARCH E1 (30”h x 42”w) in landscape format and saved as a PDF document. Download Design Board Guideline File. This board will be printed for the jury to review. Please keep this in mind when you are designing and avoid dark backgrounds.

All image components of your board must be submitted as JPEG files, and all text components as PDFs/Microsoft Word files.

Do not include information about the design team (team names or firm names) on the Design Presentation Board. Indication of the design team will result in disqualification.  

Do not post images of your submission to social media before winners are announced.

Highlight on site plan and section drawings where and how the design has considered equity and resilience.

2. Short Essay - Equity (up to 500 words)

Entrants should discuss how their project addressed equitable design considerations. See the Equity and Resiliency Considerations document for more information. Specific questions which you may address include:

• What strategies did you use to promote an environment that is culturally and linguistically responsive?

• What challenges did you face in designing for families from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds?

• What challenges did you face in designing housing for farmworkers?

• If you or your team are from outside California, how might these challenges be the same or different for farmworkers in your community?

Submit this essay as a PDF document in 8.5” x 11” format. Please include page numbers.

3. Climate Adaptation Assessment Matrix - Resilience

Entrants must submit a completed Climate Adaptation Assessment Matrix that accurately addresses and describes the resilient design strategies utilized within the project. This table asks specific questions pertaining to the inclusion of various adaptive strategies, such as:

When thinking of how to help mitigate high temperatures:

• Can the project enhance insulation of homes?

• Can the project install cool roofs?

• Can the project provide a community cooling center?

When thinking of drought or extreme precipitation events:

• Can the project set up an ongoing mechanism to conserve water?

• Can the project plant native, drought-tolerant vegetation?

When thinking of wildfires:

• Can the project involve fire hazard prevention to mitigate wildfire threats to communities?

• Can the project include a backup power source in case of emergency power shutoff?

Submit this table as a PDF document in 8.5” x 11” format. Please include page numbers.

Entrants also have the option to submit an essay of 500 words or less about how the submission takes resilient design into consideration. See the Equity and Resiliency Considerations document for more information. Possible topics to address include:

• Reflecting on the research conducted into climate hazards

• Addressing thoughts and interests concerning the resilient strategies chosen

• Discussing how these strategies influenced the design process

Submit this essay as a PDF document in 8.5” x 11” format. Please include page numbers.

4. Design Team Information

Fill in the names and contact information for everyone on your project design team on the Design Team Form. Students please list your advisor. Please note this will be used for all publicity materials.  

Do not list this information on the Design Board, essay, or table.

5. Supplementary Documentation - Optional (PDF document) 

While it is not required, entrants are encouraged to submit supplemental documentation to elaborate on decarbonization within their design and the processes around it. Some possible elements are listed in the Decarbonization Considerations document. 

The submitted PDF document should be in 8.5” x 11” format. Please include page numbers.

6. Student ID (if applicable): 

Full-time student entrants must provide a copy of their student ID. Recent graduates must have been enrolled full-time during the 2021 calendar years and must provide official documentation of their full-time student status during those years (diploma, student ID showing date, etc.). 

7. Hours Worked 

Please list all team members and the hours they worked on the listed activities.

Submission Packet: Ensure that your submission packet contains items 1-4. Please upload all components of your board in the correct fields, (#5 optional, #6 if applicable) and upload through the submit section by Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:00 PM PST.

E N T RY F E E S

Entry Fee for Architects, Engineers and Designers: $275

Entry Fee for Students and Recent Grads: $0

All registration and submission materials must be received by January 11, 2022 at 6:00pm PST.
Entry fees are nonrefundable.  All boards are to be submitted digitally.

SUBMISION POLICIES
All submissions are final. 

There is no limit to the number of entries that an individual or firm may submit; however, each must be submitted separately with separate payments. 

In addition to professional firms, entries from individuals or teams are allowed and encouraged. 

We recommend that entrants who are employed by another company review and comply with their employer’s policies in this area prior to submitting an entry. Any public announcements or references will be to the individual or design team and not to any individual’s professional affiliation. 

Indication of the design team will result in disqualification.  

Decisions of the Jury are final.

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