Focus 2021: Cities

Focus 2021: Cities

For the 2021 award, the jury has decided on a leap in scale – from the scale of buildings to the scale of cities – and are looking at works that offer seminal solutions to the challenges facing cities.

This is intentionally a very broadly defined call for nominations. The jury considers that a broad perspective is needed in order to propose a new urban strategy to tackle the immense risks that climate change pose for people and for the planet.

Jury’s statement

All the available scientific expertise on climate change show that there is not time for an evolutionary change anymore. The change has got to be a radical one if the world as we know it still has a chance. Architecture cannot stand back and follow its routine. It has to make up its mind and propose solutions beyond its hitherto scope and potential. It has got to develop new and seminal ideas.

Here are some obligations: Construction and buildings should be energy-neutral/-positive, should make use of alternatives to steel and concrete, should develop new types of housing in big cities.


The world’s population is still growing. The space of living has become a scarce good. The water-level of the oceans is rising. People are looking for refuge. The natural environment is more than ever a scarce good. Clean water and fresh air are scarce goods. Scarcity of environmental goods and basic ecosystem services are now the basis for all future commitments of architecture.

The planet needs mending. It needs more than mending. It needs creative mending and wholly new ideas. Not only in architecture, of course. But architecture can and must take care of the natural environment. It can and must develop alternative and sustainable uses of space; new and innovative materials; holistic design approaches and construction methods, to name a few.

It can and must develop climate-positive solutions in building on an available level. Architecture can and must offer new and daring solutions. On an urban scale.