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The International Union of Architects (UIA) has announced the results of the Great Green Wall (GGW)

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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.

About the competition

The objective of the competition was to spotlight innovative design ideas for providing simplified affordable housing within the 8000 km long, 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 are encouraged to harness the benefits of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and 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, 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), is approved by the UIA.


The task was a design proposal for a Sustainable Dwelling for 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, while one dwelling was presented in more detail. This enlargement would include the definition of community/public space as context for the dwelling proposal. Communal dwelling should enhance the ongoing development of the greenerypercentage around the selected site.

A participatory approach in design was recommended to review the courtyard system/cultural synthesis of the many tribes along the Sahel-Savanahshelterbelt. Further study of the Cultures along the region would help propose architectural solutions for the civilisation 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 respond to 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 twenty -first-century rurality


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


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


Alternate Juror

  • Alba Alsina-Maqueda, (Spain) architec


    1st prize: Altynai Isaeva from the Kyrgyz State University of Construction and Architecture (KSUCTA), Kyrgyzstanfor the project “Sustainable housing for Africa” in Sauga, 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 entry “Co-Living” in Burkina Faso
    5th prize: Abdulhameed Yakubu, Khadija Oyanki, Rayyan Garba and Amina Musa from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria for the entry “The Gidajen Laka” in North-eastern Nigeria

    Honourable mentions:
  • Denis Ezekiel and Christopher Luvanda, Ardhi University, Tanzania for their entry “The design of sustainable dwelling”, in Keur Bakar, Senegal.
  • Yiyang Liu and Meijia Sun, Chongqing Metropolitan College of Science and Technology, Department of Architecture, China, for their entry “Sprawling Community” in Chad.
  • Asena Janset Odaci and Zeynep Yazici, Tobb University of Economics And Technology, Turkey, for their entry “Patch” in Chad.
  • Hatice Bahar Çoklar, Ece İrem Tuncer and Okan Temür, Yıldız Technical University, Turkey, for their entry “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 their entry “Competitive Cluster House” in Ferlo, Senegal.
  • Eren Vardar, Alperen İraz and Süleyman Enes Kurt, Istanbul University, Turkey for their entry “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 their entry “Eco Tree” in Burkina Faso.
  • Johanna Lentzkow, Nils Hayoz and Laura Camerlingo from Instituto Superior Técnico, 2022, Portugal for their entry “EcoVillage” in Burkina Faso.
  • Lelissa Erkissa, Mikyas Tekle and Simon Mucheye, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia for their entry “Sustainable Hidmo Housing” in Tigray, Ethiopia.
  • L.A.S Shikara Silva and S. Suwanka Senadheera, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka for their entry “African Dream” in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.