The BUILDING VOICES DESIGN COMPETITION is a single-stage international design competition seeking innovative solutions that address Hawai‘i’s unique geographic location, cultural richness, global visibility, and ecological diversity.

  • We seek new ideas for buildings, environments, landscapes, community programs, infrastructures, product designs, network concepts, service design offerings, transportation solutions, among others.

  • Prototypical solutions should be uniquely suited for Hawai’i and shareable globally.

Entering the competition is free.

The competition deadline is April 5, 2017 at noon Hawai‘i Standard Time.



UPDATE: A new brief was uploaded on March 10, 2017.
The brief includes competition background information, specifications, site information, resources, references, and submission requirements not fully detailed on this webpage.



The BUILDING VOICES DESIGN COMPETITION is asking Hawai‘i and the global community to develop design solutions for a deeply sustainable future of the built and natural environments.

The competition aims to:

  • Highlight prototypical solutions for the built environment that generate a positive impact for the natural world.

  • Celebrate designs that foster a deeper understanding of the unique context(s) of the Hawaiian archipelago.

  • Spotlight hybrid projects that impact and benefit multiple populations.

  • Foster communication between designers, political institutions and the larger community through catalytic projects.

  • Recognize design that says “What is good for Hawai‘i, is good for the world.”



Submissions should draw knowledge from multiple disciplines, including architecture, product design, engineering, service design, landscape architecture, urban design and others.

Design solutions must address two or more of the following topic areas:

  • Housing for All

  • Food Autonomy

  • Resource Independence

  • Community Centered Mobility

  • Healthy Citizens

We call on all designers to tackle multiple topic areas with singular designs, while visually and verbally describing how their designs address these issues.


Quadruple Bottom Line

The term “TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE”, coined by John Elkington in 1998, argues that sustainable business strategies should address three different, yet complementary measures: the traditional profit and loss account, social awareness and how responsible the operations of an organization are to the environment. This concept, first applied to business, is often used to describe measures of sustainability in the built environment.

A “QUADRUPLE BOTTOM LINE” is defined by the addition of measures taken to support, benefit and multiply the voice of Hawai‘i’s indigenous culture, identity and heritage.

Each entry to be evaluated with 4 sustainability lenses:

  • Social

  • Ecological

  • Economic

  • Indigenous Culture



  • 02.06.17  Competition launched / Online registration opens / Question & Answer period opens

  • 03.17.17  Question & Answer period closes

  • 04.05.17  Online submissions are due

  • 04.07.17  Design Jury

  • 04.22.17  Winners Announced on Earth Day


Awards & JURY

A jury of notable community members, design leaders, academics, and public officials will decide the competition winners.

First Prize winner will be invited to present their vision in Honolulu on Earth Day.

First Prize: $5,000
Second Prize: $2,500
Third Prize: $1,000

Award winning and selected projects will be featured in the BUILDING VOICES TRAVELING EXHIBIT, to be launched at the iconic Hawai‘i State Capitol in Honolulu on April 22, Earth Day 2017.


Xavier Vendrell (Jury Chair)

Acting Director of Rural Studio, an undergraduate architecture program at Auburn University. Rural Studio was founded on the belief that all people, rich and poor, deserve the benefit of good design. Students at Rural Studio learn to be “citizen architects” by living within and working in service of underserved communities in West Alabama’s Black Belt region, building safe and beautiful homes and buildings. 

Healoha Johnston

The first Curator of Arts of Hawai‘i at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Her diverse background in the arts allows her to oversee a collection that crosses museum departments. Healoha frames critical conversations about the impact of traditional and modern Hawaiian arts on both local and global cultural landscapes.

Joseph J. Ferraro FAIA

Founding partner at Ferraro Choi and Associates Ltd., a Honolulu-based architecture firm. He continues his 30 years of work on research facilities for the National Science Foundation in Antarctica, is also an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii School of Architecture, and a recipient of the US Green Building Council’s Pioneer award for his sustainable design practice.


Kūha‘o Zane

Director of Design and Marketing for Sig Zane and founder of SigZaneKaia. A graphic designer by training, Kūha‘o leads projects that range from designs for his family’s iconic Hawaiian shirts, to collaborations with Hawaiian Airlines, Hurley, Island Fin Design, Hawaiian Electric and Firewire Surfboards.

Rebecca Buck

UX Strategist at Amazon Web Services, where she leads teams in improving enterprise software through human centered design.  Her experience in research for new product development spans diverse industries including public health, pharma, education, insurance, consumer packaged goods and technology.

Clément Blanchet

Founder of Clément Blanchet Architecture in Paris. Clément is a French architect, teacher and critic, actively practicing in the fields of architectural theory, urbanism, and cultural investigations. Clément collaborated with Rem Koolhaas for over a decade, acting as the Director of OMA France.


Daniel Vasini

Creative Director for West 8 New York. He has led world class projects from the conceptualization phase with a multidisciplinary approach; shifting scales from strategic masterplans to transformative park designs followed by iconic public spaces, which accommodate 21st Century infrastructure needs and the challenges of urbanization.

Alisa Weinstein

Senior User Experience Researcher at Uber, where she leads research to help develop new products and services that build upon the Uber network for moving people and things. Her background in journalism and service design informs her methods for identifying insights that help teams design an “Uber” experience for new contexts.

Andrew Tang.jpg

Andrew Tang

Transit-Oriented Development Senior Planner at the City & County of Honolulu.  Andrew has worked in the Netherlands with internationally recognized firms for nearly two decades, as Architect, Urban Designer and Public Space Designer.  In 2013 he returned home to Hawaii, and is working diligently to improve neighborhoods along the future rail corridor.


T. Annie Nguyen

Experience Designer & Researcher at the U.S. Digital Service at the White House.  Annie works side by side with engineers, product managers, data analysts, designers and researchers on complex issues to help government improve services for the American people. Previously, she has worked at Facebook, Hot Studio, and Adaptive Path.

Aljoša Dekleva

Co-founder of Dekleva Gregoric Architects based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His studio is a multiple nominee for the Mies van der Rohe Award and was invited to curate the Pavilion of Slovenia at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Aljoša currently leads a collaboration between the AA Architecture Association, School of Architecture from London and Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Val de Seine.


Registration & Eligibility


The BUILDING VOICES DESIGN COMPETITION is open to all designers, students and professionals, including architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers, service designers, graphic designers, industrial designers, artists, inventors and others. Design teams with a varied composition of experts in fields related to the built environment are encouraged.

Registration Fee for Professionals & Students: Free

Email to receive your registration number. Please include contact information for each entrant and team leader including Names of each Team Member, Phone, Email Address, and Country of Origin.

A confirmation of the registration along with a random 5-digit registration number will be emailed to the registrant (individual or the team leader) for identification of the final submission. One registration is required per project submitted. Participants may submit multiple entries or be part of multiple teams, but each submission must have an individual registration number.

Registration will remain open until the submission due date. 

By registering for the competition, competitors agree to all competition terms and conditions. 



Please send all questions to: All answers will be posted to this webpage.

Q & A period closes on March 17, 2017. 

1. Is there more information about a specific site, including topographical maps, high-resolution photos, site surveys, street-view style photos?
No. All information is already included in the competition brief. Please utilize the Google Map link to obtain topographical and site boundary information.

2. When will the link for registration be available?
Registration is free for all, please click the "REGISTER FOR FREE" button above or email

3. When will the jury be announced? 
Please see above list of jurors and their bios above.

4. Will my project be published and exhibited if I am selected as a Winner or Honorable Mention? 
Winners, Honorable Mentions and select entries will be published on this website and in an upcoming Building Voices publication. Selected projects will also be included in the
BUILDING VOICES TRAVELING EXHIBIT that will open at the Hawai‘i State Capitol in Honolulu on April 22, Earth Day 2017.



Partnerships & Acknowledgements

BUILDING VOICES is presented by the School of Architecture at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and the University of Hawai‘i Community Design Center in partnership with AIA Honolulu, ASLA Hawai‘i, APA Hawai‘i, AIAS Hawai‘i, US Green Building Council of Hawai‘i, and the University of Hawai‘i Office of Sustainability.

Competition Chairs: Karla Sierralta and Brian Strawn