AUC Cairo Architecture Association
Catalyst for Change - The AUC Architecture Association's 2nd Annual Competition
(This event has passed)

Mar 17–May 2, 2013
Organized by: The American University in Cairo
Venue: The American University in Cairo
Address: AUC Avenue, P.O Box 74
Fifth Settlement
New Cairo 11835

To download the Competition Brief:


Competition 2013- Catalyst for Change


“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Socrates.
Perceiving education as a quantifiable finite bundle of knowledge in our Egyptian society constitutes is one of the most important factors hindering its development. Lifelong learning is a process by which education prepares you to be continuously curious and inquirer regarding all what is around you: learning beyond knowledge, imagining the impossible, creating new opportunities and solutions, etc… Developing these concepts in areas with desperate need for change becomes an aspiring goal: bringing advancement from bottom up. Designing these spaces that promotes creativity and innovation thus becomes today’s challenge for architects, designers and engineers.

Design Challenge:

Contestants will have to design for a local NGO a creative hub for learning new skills and activities to help in the development of the neighborhood and encourage people’s interaction. The maximum total area for the hub is 50 m².
Contestants will have to choose a site that is located in any of the underdeveloped areas all over Egypt. The target group and function should be specified while explaining the rationale behind this choice and how the designed creative hub would help into developing the area and the people lives. The function of the creative hub should be chosen according to the needs of the area, the traditions of the people and could be inspired by the current practices in the area. The design should reflect creativity and innovation and respond to what will be learnt in this space. It should be catchy to encourage people to explore the place.
Despite the small scale of the project, it should act as a catalyst for change in the neighborhood. The impact of the design and its anticipated results should be highlighted. The jury will not prefer a submission over another based on its complexity, rather, how well the submission responds to the evaluation criteria.

Evaluation Criteria:

Competition submissions will be evaluated by the jury on the following criteria:
• Creativity & Innovation: In the competition we are looking for creative designs. The nature of the space being a promoter of the creativity entails that the design responds in the same manner by showing uniqueness in the architectural intervention and exceptional interaction with the users.
• Functionality & User Friendliness: The design should respond to the function of the project.
Space dimensions and building materials should adhere to ergonomic and functional standards.
• Sustainability & Environmental Friendliness: Competitors should consider the long term impact of the design on the environment when deciding on materials and energy demand of their design.
• Responsiveness to Context: Competitors have the luxury of choosing the location. The Jury will not favor a submission over another because of its better location; rather the Jury will evaluate how well the design responds to the context.
• Presentation: Submissions won’t be favored over others because of more deliverables. In fact, the Jury will not accept any submission exceeding the amount allowed. Rather presentation has to do with how appealing are the submissions.


The jury shall award a first prize of 10,000 LE, a second prize of 6,000 LE, and a third prize of 4,000 LE. The jury will also award honorary mentions to other competent submissions.
Prize distribution is tentative and subject to change according to the submissions and based on jury recommendations.


All undergraduate students studying architectural engineering or fine arts or urban planning in any university in Egypt are eligible to participate in this competition.


Contestants can apply as individuals or as a group of up to three persons.
Each group must submit a single design on a single site.


1. Please fill in the following online registration form:
2. Please send an email to providing the attached scanned images of your university ID’s and your group name. You will be replied with a confirmation email and your allocated registration code which you will use as an identification label on all submitted content. The deadline for registration is Saturday April 13.


Each group must submit up to six A2 size (420mm x 594mm)* posters which contain the following**:
• Photos of the site and context
• 3D shots of the design
• At least two elevations (Minimum Scale = 1:100)
• Plan(s) (Minimum Scale = 1:50)
• Layout (Minimum Scale = 1:400)
• At least one section (Minimum Scale = 1:50)
• Labeled figure indicating the materials used in the design.
• Short description of concept or inspiration and how the design will impact users (maximum 150 words). Diagrams can complement the description.
• Registration code in the top right corner of every page***
* Do not combine the A2 posters in one file as this may cause the file size to exceed the limit for email attachments.
**Labels and descriptions can be written in English or Arabic
***Please do not include your name(s) or university name or logo on the final board submission, only include your registration code, otherwise you shall be disqualified.

Submission Guidelines:

• Name your submitted files as REGISTRATIONCODE_POSTERNUMBER (Ex: 4XCL_1)
• Email your submissions to
• In the subject heading, please write: AACOMP_REGISTRATIONCODE (Ex: AACOMP_4XCL )
• All submissions must be in .jpeg or .pdf format with a minimum resolution of 150 pixels/inch.
Please note that submissions received after the deadline (May 2nd, 2013 at 11:59pm-midnight) will not be considered.
• Submissions that exceed the limits set for the competition will not be considered.
All references or inspirations should be clearly cited. Any submission subject to plagiarism will be automatically disqualified. Visual recognition software will be used to detect plagiarism.

Questions & Answers:

The competitions committee has to the best of its ability reviewed instructions of the competition. However, should you have any questions, clarifications, or inquiries, email them to with the subject title “Q&A”. The deadline for receiving questions is ِ April 13, 2013. Responses will be posted on the competition's website by April 19, 2013.


• Beginning of Registration & Posting of Design Problem (Beginning of Competition): Sunday March 17th, 2013
• Deadline for Competition Registration: Saturday April 13, 2013
• Deadline for Questions: Saturday April 13, 2013
• Date of Posting Responses to Questions on Website: Friday April 19, 2013
• Deadline for Competition Submissions: Thursday May 2nd, 2013
• Jury to meet sometime between Thursday May 2nd, 2013 to Wednesday May 9th, 2013
• Announcement of Winners: Thursday May 9h, 2013
• Awards Ceremony and Exhibition: Saturday May 11th, 2013