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Competition: eVolo skyscraper ideas contest 2019

Architecture and design journal eVolo is once again inviting entries to its annual skyscraper ideas competition, featuring a $5,000 USD top prize (Deadline: 12 February)

Open to artists, architects, students and designers, the anonymous contest seeks conceptual proposals for innovative, dynamic and adaptive vertical communities with no limitations on size or location.

The annual call for ideas, first held in 2006, aims to promote dialogue around new approaches to urban development which improve existing infrastructure and enhance living conditions for residents. Proposals which boost community growth and integrate existing local organisational methods are also encouraged.

2018 contest winner by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk

2018 contest winner by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk

2018 contest winner by Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk

According to the brief: ‘The participants should take into consideration the advances in technology, the exploration of sustainable systems, and the establishment of new urban and architectural methods to solve economic, social, and cultural problems of the contemporary city including the scarcity of natural resources and infrastructure and the exponential increase of inhabitants, pollution, economic division, and unplanned urban sprawl.

‘The competition is an investigation on the public and private space and the role of the individual and the collective in the creation of a dynamic and adaptive vertical community. It is also a response to the exploration and adaptation of new habitats and territories based on a dynamic equilibrium between man and nature – a new kind of responsive and adaptive design capable of intelligent growth through the self-regulation of its own systems.’

Now in its 13th year, the annual programme aims to explore the relationships between skyscrapers and the natural world, local communities and the city. Conceptual designs should be adaptive, encourage self-regulation and help create a dynamic equilibrium between humans and nature.

Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa, and Piotr Pańczyk from Poland won the 2018 contest with their proposal for a foldable skyscraper inspired by origami that could be easily transported and deployed in disaster zones. Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi’s innovative ’Sidescraper’ proposal (pictured) for New York City was named overall winner of 2016’s contest.

New York City

New York City

Sidescraper by Yitan Sun and Wu Jianshi

Competition judges include architects Melike Altınısık, Vincent Callebaut, Marc Fornes and Mitchell Joachim, Co-Founder and design principal of Terreform One.

Entries must include a 600-word project statement, two A0-sized presentations boards and a document containing the professional details of all team members.

Results are set to be announced on 9 April, with first place prize of $5000 USD, second place prize of $2000 and third place prize of $1000.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 23:59 (EST) on 12 February


$135 USD

Contact details


Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Carlo Aiello

The editor of eVolo Magazine discusses his ambitions for the contest

Why are your holding an international ideas contests for radical new skyscraper concepts?

The annual Skyscraper Competition was established in 2006 as a medium to explore new ideas about vertical habitation in a world where more than 50% of the population lives in urban areas. The neck-braking pace of people migration into cities has created poor urban developments that will negatively affect city dwellers for generations to come. The idea behind this competition is to find innovative solutions to building high; exploring the relationship between the skyscraper and the city, the skyscraper and the community, and the skyscraper and the natural world.



We believe that this type of ideas competition allows for discovering a large pool of talent around the entire world. This is a competition open to anyone from students and young designers to established small and big firms- the participation from different demographic groups bring a variety of solutions. We are committed to continue stimulating the imagination of designers around the world; thinkers that initiate a new architectural discourse of economic, environmental, intellectual, and perceptual responsibility that could ultimately modify what we understand as a contemporary skyscraper, its impact on urban planning and on the improvement of our way of life.

What is your vision for the future skyscrapers?

There are no restrictions in regards to site, program or size. The objective is to provide maximum freedom to the participants to engage the project without constraints in the most creative way. The projects received are not traditional skyscrapers by any means but instead, they are deep investigations on many aspects of contemporary architecture and urbanism. The six main areas of study are technological advances, sustainability, exploration of uncharted territories, social solutions, new aesthetics, and urban strategies.

The submissions react to the contemporary problems of urban living including exponential increase in population, scarcity of natural resources, social divisions, and environmental threats among others. The proposed solutions are never simple but instead they are multi-layered works far ahead of the current architectural agenda, they are envisioning the future of our cities and potentially redefining the way in which we live, work, and play in urban areas. One of the most interesting aspects of these projects is the number of functions that they address. Single-program solutions are no longer relevant.

These works are explorations on mixed-use programs – the idea of transforming a vertical structure into a vertical city that shelters and provides all the necessary infrastructure and amenities to their inhabitants. In some examples, even vertical farms are imagined along manufacturing, processing, and recycling plants seamlessly integrated with the rest of the required programs.

Heal berg, reverse climate changing machine by Luca Beltrame, Saba Nabavi Tafresh

Heal berg, reverse climate changing machine by Luca Beltrame, Saba Nabavi Tafresh

Heal berg, reverse climate changing machine by Luca Beltrame, Saba Nabavi Tafresh

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

This is an ideas competition open to anyone worldwide- not only architects and designers. All projects are anonymously judged and there is no need to collaborate with local firms. This is a one-stage competition in which winners receive a cash prize and honourable mentions and other selected projects are published online and in print by specialized and mainstream media including The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post among many others. In addition, every 3 years we publish a book with the best entries received. The projects submitted to the 2019 edition will be published in the forthcoming book EVOLO SKYSCRAPERS 4.

Are there any other recent innovative skyscraper projects you have been impressed by?

Each year there are a number of projects that inspire our imagination. Two recently unveiled projects are very interesting, the first is Moshe Safdie’s Raffles City in Chongqing, China which is a 300 meter-long horizontal skyscraper. The second is Tonkin Liu’s Cradle Towers in Zhenshou, China which create an urban valley of mixed programs surrounded by mountain-like skyscrapers.