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PINarchitecture is a bi-monthly micro-competition that challenges designers to explore architectural subjects in a different way. The condensed submission format of a four inch circle challenges designers to be clear and concise in their expression.   More ///

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HIATUS: PINarchitecture competitions are currently on an extended hiatus. Please explore the over one thousand entries submitted over the past four years of competitions. 


The Fragile Pattern ///


Patterns are composed of repeating elements: color, form, space, light, events, etc. However, patterns themselves are essentially mental constructs, which rely on an applied set of rules. After establishing a pattern concept it is not uncommon to find flaws, inconsistencies, and complexities upon closer inspection. The original pattern unravels and is either replaced by a more nuanced pattern or it is dissolved completely. How must a pattern be regarded differently when it is known that it will eventually fall apart? What practical purpose might a temporary or shifting pattern have? How might a pattern be deconstructed through technical, environmental, or social means? What happens when a pattern becomes fragile?

Participants are asked to consider a wide range of pattern types beyond graphic patterns. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.


Tolga Hazan

Ankara, Turkey

The Invisible Skyline ///


Skylines are symbols for the cities above which they hover. Yet, the majority of buildings in cities lie well below the pinnacles of skyscrapers. Are skylines appropriate billboards for cities when most of population lives, works, and shops in the bottom few stories? What if a skyline, while still physically there, was invisible above ten stories? How does the function of a skyline change when it can no longer be seen? How might architecture, technology, or natural phenomena hide such a large mass of buildings? What might be the functional or political purpose of hiding a skyline? What happens when a skyline becomes invisible?

Participants are asked to submit concepts that hide a skyline from view, rather than physically remove it. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.


Paolo Venturella

Rome, Italy


The Fragile Pattern

The Invisible Skyline

The Inverted Corner

The Permanent Form




The Missing Ground

The Distant Symmetry

The Spying Balcony

The Fake Movement

The Nearsighted Wall

The Personal Light

The Remembering Hall

The Allergic Facade

The Stretched Tower

The Rotating Section




The Playful Street

The Crying Roof

The Fornicating Form

The Lonely Neighbors

The Dancing Ceiling

The Lying Door

The Fighting Rooms

The Boring Envelope

The Sinking Floor

The Tired Column




The Blind Window

The Hungry House

The Sweating City

The Lost Bridge

The Ambigous Place

The Wandering Foundation

The Negative Space

The Tangible Internet

The Responsive Sidewalk

The Breathing Building






The Inverted Corner ///


A corner defines the convergence of non-parallel forms. Within every corner there are two distinct and often opposing conditions. A corner's interior tends to unify space, while a corner's exterior can divide space along its edge. What if the inside and outside of a corner suddenly switched roles, trading characteristics and functions? What stimuli might trigger a corner to dynamically invert on itself? How is the spatial relationship around a corner affected by this inversion? What mechanism might enable an interior corner to flip to the exterior and vice versa?  How does this concept apply to different types of junctures? That happens when a corner inverts?

Participants are asked to consider different corners types, including walls, ceilings, roofs, landscape, etc. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.






Faizal Ilyas Omar

Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia

The Permanent Form ///


Everything that is designed and built will eventually be destroyed. By weather, wear, or war, built form eventually returns to its elemental state. Objects made of durable materials may last longer, but will not last forever. What if everything that was built became permanent? How might the process of design change when all objects, once fixed and formed, could never be altered or moved from its location? With finite material and space how must designers adjust to planning for the extreme long-term? How might future generations adapt incon-venient forms from the past to meet contemporary needs and functions? What happens when form becomes permanent?


Participants should consider that objects are not only fixed in form, but also fixed in place. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.




1st Place: Ufuk Uğurlar

Ankara, Turkey




The Missing Ground ///


The ground plane fundamentally influences a building's orientation and organization. Ground floors, basements, and upper floors are designed in reference to a grade. What if the ground disappeared, leaving buildings suspended in position? Without the connective tissue of streets, yards, and natural landscapes, how does the relationship between buildings change? What types of new infrastructure might be used to reconnect neighborhoods and cities? How do sections of a building reorganize when the primary datum vanishes? What happens when the ground goes missing?


Participants should respond to the new condition rather than focus on the event of the ground disappearing. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.





1st Place: Anton Kotlyarov

Moscow, Russia

The Distant Symmetry ///


Symmetrical objects are composed of a balance between equal, yet opposite parts. It is not difficult to perceive symmetry when the two corresponding halves are adjacent to one another, but what if they were separated by a great distance? How can the two parts maintain a symmetrical relationship even when they are physically disconnected? What mechanism might mirror changes in one half to the other? What function or program can benefit from a remotely intertwined relationship? How can symmetry be perceived and experienced when it is not in the same space? What happens when symmetry becomes distant?


Participants should explore the concept of symmetry, rather than simply duplication of an object. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.




1st Place: Aaron Boucher

Hoboken, New Jersey, United States

The Spying Balcony ///


Balconies provide access to the exterior for floors above ground level. Yet, because of the elevated position, balconies remain removed and partially hidden from the environment below. The default role on a balcony is as an observer, while those below automatically become the observed.  How might the design of a balcony embrace this one-way interaction? How can a balcony maintain a prominent presence on the facade while simultan-eously concealing an observer? What materials and forms would enhance the ability to track, record, and/or magnify the observed? What happens when balconies begin to spy?

Participants are asked to design balconies that protrude and are not completely flat to the facade. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Jonathan Gibb

Auckland, New Zeland

The Fake Movement ///

Architectural movements are specific to the time and place in which they originate. Inevitably meanings and motivations are distorted over time in absence of cultural context. Can the Baroque, Brutalist, or Post Modernist movements be fully understood by designers that did not personally participate in them? Political histories are regularly edited or wholly fabricated, why not architectural movements? Who might create a historic architectural movement from scratch and for what purpose? How might it influence present-day designers and their work? What happens when an architectural movement is faked?

Participants are encouraged to include graphics to support their concepts. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.


1st Place: Oudyziea Aiz Samodra

Kuta, Bali Island, Indonesia

The Nearsighted Wall ///


Walls are definitive surfaces of separation, both physically and visually. As an intentional division, walls define two sides with little room for interpretation. What if the characteristics of the division varied depending on one's distance from a wall? What if a wall was more opaque at a distance and more transparent up close?  How might the perception of the 'other side' be dynamically affected by a wall? Why might walls obscure and reveal different views, sounds, or ideas? What happens when walls are nearsighted?

Participants are encouraged to explore a variety of wall types including: building, free standing, political border, etc.  Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Jonathan Wilkinson

Columbus, Ohio, United States

The Personal Light ///


Artificial lighting comprises a significant proportion of total energy consumption.  Even with automatic sensors, task lighting, and outdoor down-lighting, the majority of artificial light emitted never hits a single human retina.  How might lights become more focused and more directly controlled by individuals?  What if all fixed lights in the world were dismantled and replaced with handheld and wearable lights? How might the use of space change when light emanates from individuals?   How do people relate to each other differently when light is more direct than indirect?  What happens when lights become personal?

Participants are encouraged to explore designs that extend beyond handheld lights.  Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Zean Mair-MacFarlane

London, United Kingdom

The Remembering Hall ///


Hallways are transitory spaces and therefore are empty more often than not.  What if passing through a hallway left traces that extended beyond actual occupation?  How might sounds, smells, or shadows create ripples that last minutes, days, or years after the initial source?  What might the mechanism be that records and replays information?  How might the playback of multiple records overlap and interact with one another?  Does the echo of information fade over time? What happens when hallways remember?

Participants are encouraged to explore varied interpretations of memory and inputs not explicitly stated above. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: François Mahr

Toulouse Haute-Garonne, France

The Allergic Facade ///


Facades are the first protective layer in contact with the exterior environment.  As weather events become more extreme and frequent, envelopes must become more active in protecting buildings. What if facades were designed to have specific reactions to different environmental stimulants?  How might a facade become actively resilient against the extremes of temperature, wind, flood, nuclear disaster, etc.  How would these reactions affect the appearance of the building?  What happens when a facade is allergic to environmental extremes?

Participants should consider facades that become activated by outside stimulants, rather than defend buildings passively. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Bryce Hubertz

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

The Stretched Tower ///


The trend toward taller and skinnier buildings will eventually yield to the limitations of gravity.  What if a secondary force was introduced that counteracted gravity? How might towers be designed differently when pulled from two opposing ends? What if towers were stretched to an extreme, reaching the clouds or even space, with a minimal width?  What might be the practical functions or greater purpose of such impossibly tall towers?  What happens when towers are stretched?

Participants should consider designs that include interior space for human occupation. Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.




1st Place: Wei Chieh Kung

West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Rotating Section ///


Sections reveal relationships between forms and spaces.  Lines perpendicular to gravity orient floors, ceilings, windows, etc.  What if a section began to rotate on itself?  How does the perception of space change when gravity shifts, walls begin to tip away, and roofs become floors?  How might a section that was designed for one position be affected by rotation?  How might a section be specifically designed to function at multiple rotational positions? What happens when sections begin to rotate?

Participants may consider sections that rotate continuously, intermittently, or only once.  Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.








1st Place: Nicholas Paley

Melbourne, Australia


PINarchitecture is an open monthly micro-competitio







The Playful Street ///


Streets are serious spaces, made of hard and harsh materials.  Since the proliferation of the automobile, streets have become a space to pass through, rather than places to be in and enjoy.  What if having fun on a street was as important as efficiently moving cars, bicycles, and pedestrians through it?  How might play, which is usually relegated to backyards, parks, and playgrounds, be integrated into the streetscape?  What can be learned from existing forms of play that can be reimagined in the context of a streetscape?  How might streets and sidewalks engage people of all ages in play?  What happens when streets become playful?

Participants are asked to focus on designs that do not simply remove cars from the street to make room for play.  Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.  






1st Place: Donna Mena

Brooklyn, New York, United States

1st Place: Michal Hajduk

Bratislava, Slovakia

The Crying Roof ///


The primary purpose of a roof is to prevent water from entering a space from above.  Roofs are designed as barriers that block and shed water away.  What if, instead, a roof invited water into a building?  Rainfall is vital to the larger environment, yet is considered a detriment as soon as it enters an interior environment. How might a roof act as a filter that safely brings water inside to be experienced. Beyond collecting water through drains and cisterns, how might water be brought into a space to be touched, smelled, and heard?   What benefits might come from letting some rain in?  What happens when roofs cry?


Participants are asked to focus on designs that create direct interactions with water, rather than a closed system that simply collects water for reuse.  Submissions may be conceptual, technical, and/or artistic.  




The Fornicating Form ///


Architectural form is not created in a vacuum; it is part of a larger lineage of local patterns, technological trends, and architectural styles. As with biologic evolution, progress in architecture is composed of more incremental refinements than monumental shifts. While designers facilitate the inheritance of architectural form, most biologic reproduction is without intention or aim.  What if buildings could procreate independently through nature-inspired mechanisms?  How might the form of multiple buildings be hybridized to create new forms?  How is our relationship to architecture changed when its production is out of our control? What happens when architectural form begins to fornicate?  

Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.





1st Place: Tommaso Modesti

Rome, Italy

1st Place: Caterina Gatti

Milano, Italy

The Lonely Neighbors ///


Relationships between neighbors are significantly influenced by the density of housing in which they live. Urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods have different spatial relationships, but their densities are not fixed.  Neighborhoods may gain or lose density due to natural, social, and economic events. Instead of unpredictable fluctuations in density, what if there was a single force that constantly pushed neighbors apart?  As with the expanding universe, housing units might slowly drift away from one another.  How might neighbors respond to a constantly changing spatial relationship?  What might neighbors do to maintain existing connections or embrace the drift? What happens when neighbors get lonely?

Participants are asked to consider a scenario where housing units constantly and uncontrollably drift apart from one another. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Nicholas Paley

Banff, Alberta, Canada

The Dancing Ceiling ///


Ceilings are arguably the least adorned surface in contemporary buildings. Humans' tendency toward viewing space laterally means that ceilings are usually utilitarian white planes of sheetrock, plaster, or acoustic tile. Other than the occasional light fixture, vent, or structural member, ceilings are essentially static surfaces. What if sound could activate ceilings by dynamically affecting form, texture, and/or color? How might a ceiling react differently to footsteps, conversations, or music? What happens when a ceiling starts to dance?


Participants are asked to design a surface that has an inactive state of a flat white surface that is activated by different sounds. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic. 




1st Place: Alfredo Di Zenzo & Daniel Felix

Florence, Italy & Guimarães, Portugal

The Fighting Rooms /// 


The programmatic needs of a building are usually determined without full consideration of site, zoning, or budgetary constraints. Inevitably, the dimensions of building plans are reduced, pushing rooms against one another and into competition for space. Even after the design is complete and the building is constructed, the friction between rooms rarely subsides. Shifting users, priorities, and technologies apply constant pressures on walls that define rooms. The expansion of one room means the reduction or complete removal of another. How might an architectural framework highlight and respond to programmatic pressures in real-time? What happens when rooms fight each other?


Participants are asked to consider designs that are not simply flexible, but that express programmatic pressures. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Siska Butar Butar

South Jakarta, DKI Jakarta, Indonesia

The Lying Door ///


Doors facilitate the transition between spaces, but it is taken for granted that those spaces are adjacent to one another. What if some doors could not be trusted to lead to the next room? Instead, a door may lead to another area of a building, or even to the other side of the world? How might people react to a dishonest door that teleports to unpredictable locations? What are consequences for buildings and society when any door could be deceptive?  What happens when doors begin to lie?


Participants are asked to consider doors that are unpredictable rather than controllable portals to desired locations. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.



The Boring Envelope /// 


Building envelopes are composed of increasingly specialized layers, each optimized to perform a single function: structure, insulation, drainage, fire protection, aesthetic, etc. With the promise of higher performance also comes increased labor complexity, potential for error, and reliance on non-local, manufactured materials. Single material buildings made of mud, wood, or stone have sustained civilizations for millennia. What is possible using contemporary materials, methods, and building science to produce a building using one material throughout? How does a single material deal with temperature fluctuations, rain, mold, and fire? What are the benefits of constructing with one material? What are the potential issues or necessary concessions? What happens when a building envelope is dumb?


Participants are asked to consider non-traditional construction methods and materials. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.





1st Place: Cat Theriault

Valencia, Spain

1st Place: Philipp Hoppe

Cologne, Germany


The Sinking Floor ///


Sea levels are rising globally, both incrementally and in bursts. The areas most vulnerable to flooding are also some of the most densely populated in the world. As oceans rise, building owners will not willingly abandon their valuable waterfront properties. In the absence of large municipal solutions, such as levees and sea walls, how might an individual property be retrofitted for continued use? When the ground floor is surrounded by seawater, how is it kept dry and occupiable? How is the experience and utility of a space enhanced by being plunged underwater? What happens when a floor sinks?


Participants are asked to design a retrofit for a single building where the sea level has risen above the ground floor. Sub-missions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.





1st Place: Alex Willms

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The Tired Column ///


Columns are designed to have the appearance of stability. It is reassuring to consider that the element holding objects aloft is stoic and permanent. On the surface a column might seem static, but it is constantly reacting to dynamic forces, including live loads, wind gusts, seismic events, and temperature fluctuations. What if, under such stresses, a column began to falter and bend? How might it reflect the external forces imposed upon it? How might it degrade, sink, or buckle in reaction to events around it? What happens when a column gets tired?


Participants are asked to design a structure that does not harm its inhabitants while failing or degrading. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.









The Blind Window ///


The primary function of a window is to visually connect interior and exterior environments, but windows are also a point of transmission for many other conditions. Windows permit light, heat, and, if open, breezes, smells, and sounds, among others. What if the passage of one or more elements were disassociated from the penetration of light? How might an opaque aperture transmit select conditions through a distinct area of wall? What is the value of communicating a non-visual condition from outside to inside, or vice versa? What happens when a window becomes blind?


Participants are asked to design a window that does not let light penetrate through it.  Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Nick Paley

Manchester, United Kingdom 


The Hungry House ///


A house is regularly fed water, electricity, and fuel, but these resources do not sustain the building itself. For such a personal space, the home is relatively indifferent to the individuals that inhabit it. What if the survival of a home relied on its inhabitants to feed it? What inputs (material, sound, physical interaction, etc.) could keep erect a building that is in a constant state of decay? What happens when a house gets hungry?


Participants are asked to look beyond typical utility inputs (water, electricity, fuel) and consider more active feeding rituals. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.




1st Place: Chris Daniells

Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom


The Sweating City ///


Global temperatures are rising, on average, and will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Air conditioning and shading devices may not be enough to sustain the livability of cities, where the majority of the world's population now lives. Sweating is an automatic mechanism to regulate body temperature. Similarly, how might a city regulate its temperature through an automatic water distribution system? Where will water come from, with increasing need and diminishing sources? How might the volume of water needed during heat events be delivered through a network, or series, of devices? How might a city sweat?


Participants are asked to design a water-based cooling system that addresses exterior temperatures in an urban environment. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Alexander Krol

Madrid, Spain


The Lost Bridge ///


Bridges are constructed and used for the express purpose of getting from here to there. There is an inherent expectation that a bridge will carry one across a void to a desired destination. What if, instead, a bridge took travelers to an unexpected place? How does the structure, shape, and perception of a bridge change when its destination is unpredictable? What if a traveler started across a bridge expecting to arrive at a particular destination, only to arrive at another place altogether? What if a traveler began to cross a bridge without any idea of where it might end? What happens when a bridge gets lost?


Participants are asked not to design a ‘bridge to nowhere’; the bridge should go somewhere, just not to the expected place. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.





1st Place: Dong Min Lee

Delft, The Netherlands


The Ambiguous Place ///


Most spaces are designed either for a single defined program, or as a neutral space that can receive any program. These are two extremes that leave a significant spectrum between to be explored. What if space were designed to meet the specific needs of two conflicting programs simultaneously? How might the friction between overlapping programs redefine the function and meaning of each program? How are perceptions of users affected by multiple readings of a space? What happens when space is ambiguous?


Participants are asked to choose two programs that do not fit neatly together and have some conflict. These programs should exist simultaneously in the same time and space. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic. ​



1st Place: Maria Jose Robles Adame

Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico


The Wandering Foundation ///


Buildings are rooted to their sites, which provides a context, orientation, and reliable location. But what if a building slips from its site? Untethered, it begins to wander on its own, like a raft without rudder. How does our relationship change with an architecture that is continuously shifting from place to place? Do we follow it nomadically, or do we remain rooted to a geographic position and abandon the shell? What happens when an indeterminacy replaces a fixed site? What happens when foundations wander?


Participates are asked to design structures that move periodically or continuously in unpredictable directions, without human control.




1st Place: Alexander Bennett

Bristol, Avon, United Kingdom


The Negative Space ///


Architecture exerts itself upon the landscape, dominating both visual and physical space. Masses extendedhorizontally and vertically upon the surface of a site are essentially acts of addition. What might an architecture of subtraction be? How might a space be conceived of differently when carved directly into the earth itself, without space or structure above the absolute level of zero? How might a negative space differ from an additive one?


Participants are asked to limit all structure and space to below ground level, meaning absolutely no extensions above grade. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Harry Conway

Liverpool, United Kingdom



The Tangible Internet ///


The internet significantly impacts social, economic, and political systems, yet the presence of the internet is generally limited to computer and smart phone screens. The vast amount of information and data contained on the internet is distributed almost exclusively through narrow pixels. How might internet interfaces be integrated into the physical environment? What if weather reports, twitter feeds, and wikipedia entries were represented with objects in space? How might the internet become more tangible?



Participants are asked to consider a solution that does not utilize digital screens. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.




1st Place: William Su

Boston, Massachusetts, United States


The Responsive Sidewalk /// 


Sidewalks are dynamic junctures between spaces, functions, and speeds, yet are physically static. A horizontal slab of concrete or stone is essentially a tabula rasa, an open platform for foot travel, public interactions, and spontaneous experiences. This juncture is ripe with activity, yet sidewalks are essentially unaffected by the impact of use. What if a sidewalk could be manipulated, illuminated, or fundamentally altered by a passing pedestrian? How might a sidewalk function in a way that is more responsive?


Participants are asked to consider depicting the concept in multiple positions.  Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.



1st Place: Pierre Lecomte

Berlin, Germany


The Breathing Building ///


In pursuit of higher R-values and lower energy bills, buildings are increasingly becoming hermetically sealed from exterior environments. While energy efficiency is extremely important, buildings can also be designed to open up to outside conditions. Glass affords buildings visual connection with the outdoors; however, other qualities (breezes, sounds, and smells) are typically limited to the operation of windows and doors. How might a building more fundamentally open and close beyond standard methods of fenestration? How might it inhale and exhale?



Participants are asked to consider a solution that addresses an environment that requires insulation, not a location that has consistently temperate weather. Concepts should address both open and closed positions. Submissions may be technical, conceptual, practical, and/or artistic.





1st Place: William Su

Boston, Massachusetts, United States


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