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Call for projects to CPDI Africa Heritage Architecture Competition 2021

Nigeria Architecture News - Feb 14, 2021 - 13:21   3539 views

Call for projects to CPDI Africa Heritage Architecture Competition 2021


The Community Planning & Design Initiative Africa (CPDI Africa) is a culturally inspired, research-based, design-build movement that aims to develop new architectural design languages for Africa and the Diaspora that are culturally and environmentally sustainable. It promotes creativity and dialogue for collective community development rooted in African traditions.

Their projects present sound examples of what a modern Africa should be, using local organic building, materials, and code construction that reflect and preserve African heritage and identity. CPDI Africa operates on the basis of a program that fosters awareness of Africa's place in the history of architecture.

Call for projects to CPDI Africa Heritage Architecture Competition 2021


Have you ever imagined what Africa's architecture would look like today if the great civilizations of Egypt, Timbuktu, Mali, the Dogon, Zulu, Yoruba, and thousands of other African empires had continued to develop and evolve within the framework of their own unique identities? Imagine the transformation of the African landscape into sprawling metropolises filled with architectural masterpieces celebrating new interpretations of traditional design elements, represented with all the comforts of modern innovations and techniques.

CPDI African Heritage Architecture Competition 2021, is a culturally inspired, research-based design-build competition created to inspire the development of thriving neighborhoods and communities across the continent with modern African architecture that is both culturally and environmentally sustainable. What kind of Africa would you build if you were given the opportunity to develop African skylines in your own image?

The challenge

The CPDI Africa 2021 competition calls for applications for the design of prototypes of a contemporary cultural center inspired by the architecture of the African Diaspora.

In order to design prototypes of Africa-centred or Africa-inspired architecture that reflects culture, aesthetics, and sustainability for the design and development of communities in Africa today, research must accompany the design. The links between research and design are made in three categories:

  • Culture-Lifestyle (design and functionality)
  • Aesthetics (finishing and furnishing)
  • Durability (materials, climate, and cost)

Participants in the CPDI Africa design competition must first research the traditional architecture of the ethnic groups they have selected in order to understand the impact of climate, lifestyle, social norms, cultural philosophies, and spiritual beliefs on space use and location within the community. 

Participants will be faced with a range of challenges :

  • Explore the aesthetics and artistic languages of the ethnic groups or African regions they have selected to draw inspiration from their decorative and symbolic patterns, textures, colors, shapes, and finishes.
  • Understand the use of particular building materials and techniques, paying particular attention to the durability, availability, and affordability of local materials in their chosen African region. It is essential to use these materials and techniques in a way that proves their relevance in a contemporary built environment for Africa.
  • Draw more inspiration from the evolution of other African arts, such as music, fashion, visual arts, cuisine, film, and theatre, for more complex expressions of African creativity, but especially the way in which African life is lived. It is the architectural translation of these elements of everyday life that will strengthen your design concept.


The CPDI Africa 2021 competition is open to students and practitioners of architecture and all professions related to the built environment, including arts and design, engineering, urban planning, and urban design. Participants can enter the competition as individuals or can apply as part of a team of designers, artists, engineers, and urban planners. Teams are limited to a maximum of 3 members.

The competition is open to any race, religion or creed, and encourages collaboration between development professionals in Africa and the Diaspora. Candidates can enter from all regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia and are encouraged to form multicultural/multinational teams to harness a multiplicity of creative ideas.


The jury is composed of architects, designers, and professional professors of architecture and Afrocentric design.


  •     Six regional winners (West, East, Central, North, South Africa, Diaspora)
  •     Five honorable mentions by region

Competition Schedule

31 January 2021, the start of registrations.

1st April 2021, the opening of the submission portal.

31 August 2021, end of submissions.

November 2021, the announcement of winners.

You can register for the competition on this link and get a design brief here.

Images © CPDI Africa

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