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Central Asia Design-Build Competition by Architectonic

Canada Architecture News - Apr 12, 2021 - 18:01   3352 views

Central Asia Design-Build Competition by Architectonic

Central Asia Design-Build Competition by Architectonic is open to all architects and designers who will work with a local community in Central Asia (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Northern Areas of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Xinjiang in China).

Competition Brief

Entry: Free


The competition participants are requested to design a modest but innovative structure informed by and in collaboration with a local Central Asian community that can be built within two (2) months and with an overall budget of CAD$4000. The design must be innovative and practical aimed to solve a real need by a local com- munity to improve the quality of their life.


Stage One: 1st place CAD$500

2nd place CAD$300

3rd place CAD$200 

Stage Two: CAD$4000 to build

Mentorship: The top three projects will receive mentorship from the jury to better develop their design and strategize construction in collaboration with the local community of their choice.

Registration: Participants must send an e-mail to [email protected] to register and receive an entry code.

Language: English is the official language of the competition, however, where appropriate, other languages can be incor- porated with English translation.


April 1st -May 4th, 2021. Submissions are open.
May 5th -9th, 2021: Jury to select 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
May 10th – June 10th, 2021: Mentoring stage one winner.
June 10th-June 14th, 2021: Jury to decide the final winning project to be constructed.
June 15th – September 15th, 2021: Construction Period. CAD$4000 will be released for construction in 4 installments.

Conflict of interest: No members of jury members’ extended family, friends, business affiliates and colleagues, can enter the competition. Such entries will be deemed null and automatically disqualified. Any participant found to have contacted the jury will be disqualified.

Jury & Mentors

Aidar Tatygulov, Architect, President, Kazakhstan Union of Architects.
Alireza Behnejad, Professor, UK.
Amirsho Gulamadov, Architect, Vice President, Tajikistan Union of Architects.
Ariff Kachra, Professor, former Dean, School of Arts and Science, The University of Central Asia. 

Belek Sarymsakov, Architect, Vice President, Kyrgyzstan Union of Architects.

Elmira Kochumkulova, Professor, Graduate School of Development, The University of Central Asia. 

Farkhod Musakov, Architect, Vice-President, Uzbekistan Union of Architects.
Gulnara Abdrassilova, Architect & Professor, Kazakhstan
Irene Gardpoit, Architect, Canada.

Natalya Andakulova, Central Asian Arts Curator, Andakulova Gallery, UAE. 

Noorullah Hussain Zada, Architect, Canada.
Nuru Karim, Architect, India.
Rizwan Mawani, Anthropologist, Canada.

Roya Mahboob, CEO, Digital Citizen Fund, Aghanistan/USA. 

Saad Rajan, Co-Founder, Naya Studio, Canada.
Zeina Elcheikh, Researcher, Germany.

Director: Farhad Mortezaee, Architect, Canada. (The director will not participate in voting.)

Submission requirements

Four (4) sheets of design, drawings, pictures and illustrations in A3 (297 x 420mm) in high resolution PDF to a maximum file size for all four sheets of 40MB. Insert the allocated numeric code given upon registration.

Do not show any identifiers to reveal the names and other specifics of the project team except for information pertaining to the identified local community and documentation proving that due consultation with them have been undertaken, that the proposed design is in response to a real need and that the local community is willing to collaborate with the design team.

A Two (2) minute video showing the proposed project location, identifying the local community and demon- strating how the built project can contribute to the people’s quality of life, a maximum video file of 20MB in a format compatible to YouTube. English sub-titles must be added on the video. Lack of documentation that a local community was consulted and supports the project, will automatically disqualify the entry.

To register, e-mail: [email protected]. For updates, see here.

Competition Jury Profiles

Aidar Tatygulov

Aidar graduated from Almaty Design and Construction Institute with a degree in Architecture and gained an MBA degree at KIMEP University. After graduation, he started his career in 1993 at an international FMCG company, where he held different managerial positions for 15 years. Since 2009 he has worked at KAZGOR Design Academy as President. In 2013, he was appointed senior vice president of Kazakhstan Union of Architects. Aidar is currently the President of Kazakhstan Union of Architects. See more on

Alireza Behnejad

Dr Alireza Behnejad is the Director of the Spatial Structures Research Centre of the University of Surrey, UK, with qualifications in both, architecture and structural engineering. Alireza has also had thirteen years of experience as an Architect and Director of a company in the field of design and construction of prefabricated light weight structures, prior to joining the Centre. See more on

Amirsho Gulamadov

Amirsho is a practicing architect from Dushanbe, Tajikistan. He is a professor at the International Academy of Architecture of Moscow branch. Amirsho is also the Vice President of the Union of Architects (UA) of Tajikistan and a member of the Board of the UA of Tajikistan. He has an extensive experience in the architectural design of various buildings and constructions within national and international organizations in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Through the years, Amirsho has won many national and international awards in the architectural competitions.

Ariff Kachra

Dr. Kachra is an experienced consultant with a demonstrated track record of working with organizations in a variety of different industries. Ariff is the founder and CEO of Strat-ology Consulting Inc and advocate for pluralism, diversity and inclusion. Ariff holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused in Strategic Management from Ivey Business School at Western University and has extensive teaching experience in prestige business schools. In his capacity as the founding Dean, Dr. Kachra led the School of Arts and Sciences and its 6 faculties, Economics, Business, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Computer Sciences, and Communications and Media at the University Central Asia. See more on

Belek Sarymsakov

Belek is a practicing architect based in Kyrgyzstan. Belek is the deputy chairman of the Board of the Union of Architects of the Kyrgyz Republic. He is also the corresponding member of the Moscow branch of the International Academy of Architecture. Belek is affiliated with the International Cultural Fund “Romualdo del Bianco Foundation” (Florence, Italy). He is also the member of the Town Planning Council of the State Construction Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Bishkek City Hall.


Dr. Elmira Köchümkulova coordinates the Cultural Heritage & Humanities Unit at the University of Central Asia (UCA) and is an Associate Professor of the School of Arts and Sciences. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Köchümkulova’s research focuses on cultural change and continuity in Central Asia. She has authored and edited books and articles on Central Asian/Kyrgyz music, epic traditions, funerary traditions, Islam and nomadic heritage. She is the co-editor of the UCA/Aga Khan Music Initiative textbook Music of Central Asia (Indiana University Press, 2016), contributing several chapters on Kyrgyz oral tradition and music. She served as scholarly editor and coordinated the production of a seminal two-volume collection Kyrgyz Küüs: Analysis, Thoughts, and Opinions (in Kyrgyz), the first comprehensive study on Kyrgyz instrumental music authored by Asan Kaibylda uulu and published by the UCA’s Cultural Heritage Book Series.

Farkhod Musakov Djalalovich

Farkhod holds a Masters degree in architecture from Tashkent Polytechnical Institute, Uzbekistan. Farkhod is the vice president of Uzbekistan Union of Architects and is the founder and prinicpal of Master Design a design-build enterprise based in Tashkent. See more on

Gulnara Abdrassilova

Dr. Gulnara holds a PhD in architecture and is a professor at Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering ( KazGASA). Gulnara is an architect and a member of Architects Union of Kazakhstan and an Honourable Architect of Kazakhstan. She is the editor of academic journal, Bulleting of KazGASA. Gulnara is a jury member at international students’ competitions in Kazakhstan, Turkey and Azerbaijan and is an organizer of international students workshops.

Irene Gardpoit

Irene Gardpoit is the principal of UUfie, an interdisciplinary research-based architecture studio in Canada. Her knowledge of design and development has evolved over the past eighteen years of working on projects in North America, Asia (including Central Asia), Europe, and the Middle East. Under Arata Isozaki, Irene led projects for the Aga Khan Foundation for three educational institutions in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. See more on

Natalya Andakulova

Natalya is an Art Historian. She graduated from the Imperial Academy of Art in St. Petersburg in “History and theory of Art and architecture”. Natalya began focusing on private art trade in her native Uzbekistan and about twelve years ago, she branched into the international scene and in 2012 opened a commercial art gallery in Dubai based on a growing interest in the UAE towards Central Asia motivated by a common cultural and historic context through the legendary Silk Road and shared Islamic. See more on

Noorullah Hussain Zada

Noorullah is a registered architect and an associate at FarMor Architecture. Noorullah is serving his second year at Calgary Urban Design Review Panel. Noorullah was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and immigrated to Canada in his early teenage years. Noorullah is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Design and a graduate of the University of Calgary with Master’s in Architecture. Since April 2013, Noorullah has carried a wide range of project types and has added to FarMor Architecture’s personalized client-focused experience with his hard work and dedication to achieving technical and creative excellence.

Nuru Karim

Nuru, Founder & Principal Nudes received his Masters in Architecture and Urban-ism from the Architectural Association [AADRL] London, United Kingdom in 2006. His undergraduate studies include travel and education in the metropolis of Mumbai [KRVIA-gold medallist] and Montreal [McGill University]. He has worked for Zaha Hadid Architects in 2005 on a host of institutional projects both in competition/ schematic design and design development stages.

Nudes operates within the realm of cross-disciplinary cultures of art, architecture and computational design powered by digital “making” tools addressing larger networks of social, cultural and environmental . Nuru Karim has achieved critical recognition both for its built work and in competition in addition to several design awards including a nomination for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013 cycle. He has also recently won the World Architecture Community Awards, designed category. Nuru Karim is also a TEDx speaker 2019 and has presented his work and research on national and international platforms. See more on

Rizwan Mawani

Rizwan Mawani is an educator, scholar and research consultant and public speaker with experience in more than 30 countries. He is the author of the best sellers book, Beyond the Mosque: Diverse Spaces of Muslim Worship. He has a background in anthropology and religious studies with degrees from Carleton University in Canada and the Graduate Theological Union in the United States. His research focuses on Muslim diversity and pluralism with specific reference to spaces of worship, ritual practice and forms of religious authority.

Rizwan has conducted field research with more than 50 Muslim communities across 17 countries and numerous cultures from Senegal and Iran to China and Indonesia. His research spans the range of Muslim.

Roya Mahboob

Roya is the CEO and Board Member of the Digital Citizen Fund, with aims to increase women’s technological literacy and provide employment and educational opportunities for girls and children in developing countries and sits on the Advisory Board of Forbes School of Business of Ashford University, Resolution Project, and the Global Thinkers Forum organization.

Roya was named to TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2013 for her work in building internet classrooms in high schools in Afghanistan. The TIME 100 essay was written by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg who is also the author of “Lean In Women, Work and the Will to Lead”. 

Saad Rajan

Saad is a passionate entrepreneur, designer, and strategist. Having worked on five continents and designed across scales - digital, product, and architecture, his previous experiences include co-founding a social enterprise in East Africa, earthquake engineering in Central Asia, real estate development in North America, and building a global human-centered-design initiative spanning 12 countries. He is currently a co-founder of Naya, a platform that uses AI, a global network of designers and fabricators, and a proprietary process for co:creation to help individuals, studios, and enterprises like Google, Wayfair, and Herman Miller bring their product ideas to life. A lifelong learner, Saad holds a Master in Design Engineering from Harvard University.

Zeina Elcheikh

Zeina Elcheikh worked with German International Cooperation and the French Institute for the Near East in Syria. She holds a M.Sc. in Integrated Urbanism from Stuttgart University. Zeina is mainly interested in heritage and museum interpretation, as well as community development. Besides several articles and essays on heritage and memory, Zeina Elcheikh is the author of the Book “Die Moschee: Architektur zwischen Geistlichem und Weltlichen”, on the architecture of mosques.

Competition Director

Farhad Mortezaee

Farhad is a Registered Architect in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario with more than eighteen years of experience in architectural design and project management. Educated in Iran and UK, with an additional degree in humanities. Farhad has been involved with a number of international development and research projects. Farhad is a Council member at the Alberta Association of Architects Council, and a member of the Calgary Planning Commission.

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