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[co]design 2011

a future beyond concrete

[co]design 2011: A Future Beyond Concrete is an open invitation to all creative minds to engage in finding low-cost, innovative alternatives to concrete, concrete reduction or concrete re-use within the real world context of low-income housing in Bangalore.  This is a global competition to design materials, techniques or processes that create sustainable ways of building. A strong winning design will be scoped to be prototyped on the ground in India. A Future Beyond Concrete is an initiative of community oriented design ([co]design studio).

Competition Results

After careful deliberation and a second review by panelists we are pleased to announce the winner of the [co]design competition: A Future Beyond Concrete.

The winner is:

PaperBOO! by Nikole Bouchard and Oliver Dang

This entry illustrated thorough understanding of the brief and a highly innovative solution to developing locally appropriate eco alternatives to concrete. We look forward to developing this design in view of prototyping it on the ground. They will be receiving a trip to India courtesy of Peregrine Adventures.

Congratulations Nikole and Oliver!

And a very big thank you and congratulations to all our finalists:

Ram///Bam by Imen Tlili
Baghaus by Jackson Poretta
GOgabion by David Heymann
ash = (c)ash by Diederik de Koning

Check out all the entries.

What now?

We will be investigating the feasibility of prototyping the technology, and we will be developing the relevant designs into a toolkit. This will involve testing, crowd sourcing and bright ideas from everyone! That means you!

Updates through the codesign website and Facebook page so stay in touch!

Thank you!

[co]design studio

Download a PDF of the full Competition Brief.

Download a PDF describing the Competition Background.

Get involved on the facebook the forum.


In a world stressed by a changing climate and shifting populations, the need to find new ways to adapt to our environment and to each other is paramount. To build a brighter future we must develop alternatives to existing methods. Materials, technology and process are central to this; most critically viable substitutes for concrete and cement.

Cement is increasingly being used in low-income communities around the world, replacing traditional building construction materials at an immense scale. This has prompted an urgent need to investigate affordable and appropriate solutions and alternatives for cement, that will meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

Design Competition Objectives

There are two starting points: design new ways or adapt old ways. You may choose to look at an innovative design for a single material or construction technique. Equally the innovation could be re-adapting, evolving or promoting an existing material or process of making. Use the background material provided to frame, explore and develop your design concepts.

You could...
Create a new material. Define a different method of construction. Engineer a process of making. Rebrand an old technology. Design a new one. Configure a network to disseminate. Employ recycled and reused materials. Pilot a program to share techniques or train people. Market new livelihood opportunities. Foster social entrepreneurship. Imagine real change.
Make it happen.

There are two design options: design new ways or adapt old ways:

[co]design 2011:A Future Beyond Concrete is interested in receiving designs for innovation in new materials and processes for concrete.
This could be:

  • An eco-alternative product
  • A new material or process of making
  • A way to creatively re-use concrete
  • A construction method that reduces the use of concrete.

Alternative concrete (in product, material, process or method) can be used as a material if you can demonstrate reduction in cement use by 50% or more. The more reduction the higher graded (see criteria).

Take an existing material or local technology, and make it relevant for this project context. For this option you could, for example:

  • Search the Open Architecture Network for existing materials and technologies and adapt these to the Bangalore Housing project;
  • Take a local technology and create a training method or an entrepreneurship model that could turn the technology into a viable industry.
  • Repackage an existing material – take an old technique and rebrand it for a new audience.

The winning design will be scoped to be prototyped on the ground in India, and the winning entrant will also win an India tour! (see Awards below). In addition, [co]design studio will compile all strong entries into a “toolkit” of appropriate and sustainable materials. This
way, every entry counts, not just the winning entry. The “toolkit” will be used to empower communities all over the world to deliver more sustainable housing projects. Furthermore, within the scoping and prototyping process we aim to engage the local community as project partners, so it very much becomes their project.

To be announced.

Entry fee:

USD $25 Students
USD $35 Professionals
USD $70 for groups of up to four students
USD $70 Companies and organisations
USD $0 Entries from developing countries


May 16, 2011 Competition Announcement
July 05, 2011 Registration Deadline
August 09, 2011 Submission Deadline
August September 20, 2011 Winner + Runner-ups Announced



  • The winning entry of this competition will be scoped to be prototyped on the ground in Bangalore as part of the Bangalore Housing project.
  • The winner will receive a Gecko’s Adventure tour to India. We will be giving away 1 place on any guaranteed 8-day The Taj & Wildlife tour. You can have a look at it here:
  • The winner will be featured on the Open Architecture Network and other online innovation networks.

Download a PDF of award details and terms and conditions of the Gecko's Adventure Tour

Featured on the Open Architecture Network and other innovation networks.

Completed Submissions:
All viable entries will be compiled into an appropriate technology toolkit for use by our project partner and other community organisations on future projects.

Bangalore Housing Project

This competition seeks specific design responses for alternatives to concrete for housing on the fringe of Bangalore. Our project context is Mallasandra, a village 50km north of Bangalore, a low income area that is changing fast as Bangalore expands and rural-urban migration pressures grow.

Our local context partner Global Citizens for Sustainable Development, has been working on housing projects in Mallasandra for the past few years. Cement is increasingly being used by low-income communities such as this, replacing traditional building construction and materials. There are few sustainable construction materials available that are user-friendly and low-cost. This has prompted an urgent need to investigate affordable and appropriate solutions and alternatives for cement.


[co]design studio:

[co]design 2011: A Future Beyond Concrete is a competition run by Community Oriented Design ([co]design studio), a multidisciplinary non profit design studio that works with communities to plan and design sustainable built outcomes.

Local Partner: The local context for the competition is low-income housing in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India (The Bangalore Project). We are working in partnership with local NGO, Global Citizens for Sustainable Development (GCSD), who are building sustainable low income housing and create inventive, environmental and contextually-appropriate design.

Gold Sponsor: ecospecifier

ecospecifier global is an eco product verification and GreenTag™ life-cycle assessment certification service that simplifies green building and green industry professional’s jobs by doing their green product research for them. ecospecifier’s GreenRate Assessment Service provides expert technical opinion on how products support Green Building ratings such as Green Star™, LEED®, BREEAM, Estidama Pearl, Green Mark, Green Building Index and others. Every product is connected to an ecospecifier GreenRate Search and is searchable by individual tools and credits and you can be confident the product meets the technical manual requirements. With well over 6000 pre-qualified products online, and GreenTag™ are your natural green building support tool and green building product certification system for Australia and beyond.

Gold Sponsor: GHD

GHD is one of the world’s leading engineering, architecture and environmental consulting companies. Wholly-owned by its people, GHD is focused exclusively on client success. Our network of 6000 professionals collaborate to deliver sustainable outcomes to communities and clients in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation.

GHD is recognised for its commitment to sustainable development, safety and innovation. We care for the wellbeing of our people, communities and the environments in which we operate.

Silver Sponsor: Gecko's Grassroots Adventures

Gecko's Grassroots Adventures are all about the freedom of independent travel without the hassles; mixing unmissable sights and off-the-beaten-track experiences; local leaders who reveal their country’s secrets and a small group of like-minded travelers – going with Gecko’s is all about authentic adventure, sharing unforgettable moments and affordable fun!

Every trip we run gets under the skin of the destination, with experienced local leaders, public transport and local accommodation meaning you get a real feel for the place you’re in, while our responsible approach and small group sizes bring you closer to local communities as well as ensuring they benefit from your visit. Packed with the best included activities and plenty of free time for you to do your own thing, Gecko’s trips are safe and fun, adventurous and imaginative – an unbeatable combination and amazing value! With tours in Africa, South & Central America, Asia, India & Himalaya and the Middle East, what are you waiting for?!

Competition Details

  • Name: [co]design 2011
  • Host: [co]design studio
  • Type: Public
  • Registration Deadline: July 05, 2011
  • Submission Deadline: August 09, 2011
  • Entry Fee: $25 USD Students , $35 USD Professionals , $70 USD Groups (Students,companies and organisations) , $0 USD Teams from Developing Countries
  • Award: an India tour with Gecko's Adventures + your design prototyped
  • Status: Currently Judging