Isolation Transformed - global design competition

World Architecture Festival and storytelling platform PechaKucha have joined forces to launch a competition for designers thinking about future post-virus environments. The competition is free-to-enter and open to all architects, designers and engineers. The best ideas will be exhibited at World Architecture festival 2020 in Lisbon (2 to 4 December) and  all entries will be free to view on a dedicated WAF page on PechaKucha.

The Covid-19 crisis has focussed attention on the living and collective spaces we inhabit and use in our everyday life. Given the necessary isolation for individuals, families, communities and cities, how can we use design to alleviate or improve the physical and psychological contexts in which we live, work and play? World Architecture Festival and are inviting architects, designers and engineers to suggest ideas, both big and small, which show how we could mitigate the effects of future pandemics through design.

We will show and discuss a selection of ideas at WAF 2020, which takes place in Lisbon from 2 to 4 December this year.

The competition brief

  • Architects, designers, engineers and students of these disciplines are invited to submit ideas about how to combat the effects of isolation on individuals, families, communities and cities
  • The ideas can address the topic of isolation at any scale and in respect of any geography or social context
  • These could range from mitigation to transformation; they could include product design, interior design, house plans, housing estate layouts, transport facilities, workplace architecture, open-space design, and city-wide initiatives including landscape interventions
  • Proposals may be for either permanent or temporary conditions, and relate to either physical or digital initiatives (or combination)
  • Entries should be in the form of a PechaKucha presentation - 20 images with voiceover - and submitted by using PechaKucha's new software PK Create. Learn more about PK Create

​More about PechaKucha

PechaKucha is the fast-growing storytelling platform used by millions of people across the globe. Today, PechaKucha Nights are live events held in more than 1,200 cities in 140 countries. Schools, businesses, and government agencies worldwide license PechaKucha’s ‘20 images x 20 seconds’ brand format and software, PK Create, to easily and quickly share information and present concepts. PechaKucha, which means “chit chat” in Japanese, is based in Chicago and Tokyo. To gain inspiration from 50,000+ PechaKucha stories, visit

Judging criteria

  • Strength of concept
  • Potential for delivery
  • Universality of application
  • Economy of means


All of the judges will view each of the finalists presentations on the PechaKucha's WAF page.

  • Nigel Coates, designer, creative director, INSIDE
  • Ralph Johnson, architect, WAF category winner
  • Dame Laura Lee, CEO, Maggie’s Centres
  • Sharon Davis, architect, WAF category winner
  • Sunand Prasad, architect, Past-President, RIBA
  • Peter Exley, co-founder, Architecture is Fun, and President-Elect, AIA
  • Representatives from WAF and

Key dates:

  • Open for registration: 30 April
  • Submissions deadline: 31 August
  • Judging: late September, you will be notified soon after if you are a finalist
  • Exhibition: WAF Lisbon, 2 to 4 December where the winner will be revealed!
  • Publication: WAF supplement in Architectural Review, April 2021

How to submit

  1. Complete the short WAF registration form here
  2. WAF will send you an email to confirm your registration and ask you to complete your user profile on
  3. After completing your profile, you'll email [email protected] and PechaKucha will send you with a subsequent email inviting you to WAF's PK Create workspace.
  4. You'll use PK Create to upload your images and provide narration for your PechaKucha presentation. Once completeted, use PK Create to submit the presentation and you'll be all set.
  5. Applicants can then watch WAF's channel page from 1st September to promote their own presentations and see other applicants! This is also where the judges will decide which entrants make the shortlist.

Fees and prizes

  • There is no fee to enter this competition
  • Selected submissions will be discussed and shown at World Architecture Festival, Lisbon, from 2 to 4 December
  • Selected entrants will be given two complimentary delegate passes for the event
  • They will be invited to present their ideas, and will receive a certificate, at the event
  • The overall winner will receive a trophy presented at the WAF Gala Awards Dinner on the evening of Friday 4 December

Questions and answers
Please send any questions about the competition brief to [email protected]
Please send any questions about the PechaKucha to [email protected]