UIA - Great Green Wall


Region V - Africa

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has launched the Great Green Wall single stage student ideas competition open to all students in architecture of the world.
The objective of the competition is 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 organisers will host Interactive Video Conferences to raise architectural consciousness that will serve the expected human settlement around the GGW as a concept for human survival in a world under the increasing threat of imminent climate catastrophe. Online interactive video conferences will include at least four speakers to illuminate seminar topics that are multiple and diverse. Attending these online interactive seminars is preferably an “advisory” step for participation in the competition. 


The task is a design proposal for a Sustainable Dwelling for up to 25 people. This is to be conceptually arranged in a combination of about 5dwellings in the sense of a cluster of urbanisation, while one dwelling is presented in more detail. This enlargement will include the definition ofcommunity/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 is recommended to review the courtyard system/cultural synthesis of the many tribes along the Sahel-Savanahshelterbelt. Further study of the Cultures along the region will help propose architectural solutions for the civilisation on the GGW belt.

The competition encourages 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 are expected to trigger many opportunities and explore solution-driven approaches to indigenous architectural challenges. Learning opportunities willinclude design that responds 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 is 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