London Housing 2017

A WAN Urban Challenge: London's housing crisis, a global ideas competition.

Who should enter?  

We are looking for firms who can bring innovation and fresh ideas to London’s specific housing challenge.

Have you or your practice:

  • Designed an innovative project that provides high density housing into an urban environment, whether a concept or a case study of a completed development?
  • Successfully designed in elements to a scheme that mitigate the impact of a high density residential developments, whether to the existing community or new residents.
  • Successfully incorporated off-site manufacture of housing units, whether shell or complete units?
  • Utilised new technology or innovations to deliver housing projects under budget and ahead of programme?
  • Developed a masterplan that balances urban liveability with high density housing
  • Designed high density residential schemes adjacent to transport nodes?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, you are eligible to enter the WAN Urban Challenge.

Submission format & guidelines  

The format for the submission is as follows:

Text summary

- We advise around 500 words for your supporting text
- Mention the key challenges of the client brief and how your design addressed it 
- Please submit the summary as continuous text, written in the third person, and not as bullet points


- 6 images with the maximum dimensions of 1200 pixels width x 2000 pixels height, or minimum dimensions of 622 pixels width x 412 pixels height
- Image 1 will be your 'main image'.
- All images must be at least 72 dpi, in jpeg format 
- You can upload your images and text using the upload form in 'Backstage'

You can view an example of how your project will appear on WAN by clicking HERE

How to enter  

You are invited to submit your entry online - you can do this via the 'Enter Now' button on the WAN Urban Challenge homepage HERE.

You will need to sign up by completing the registration form. You will then be sent a registration code and password by email, which you can use to log in to 'Backstage'. (Please check your spam folder if you do not receive this immediately).

Once logged in, you can submit your entry using the "Purchase Credits" link on the left side of the login page - use the drop-down menus to select the 'London Housing' category and number of projects you wish to enter, then click 'Submit' - check your billing details are correct, then click 'Continue' - this will take you to a secure page. Click 'Proceed' and enter your card details, then click 'Confirm Order', then 'Authorise'. Once payment is complete, click 'Continue' to return to you login page. You will now have credits which you can use to upload your project as a competition entry.  Alternatively, if you prefer, you can submit your project by email and send payment by cheque or bank transfer. We will send you an invoice with all the details you need to make payment.

Please email submissions and direct any questions or problems regarding entries / registration to:

Please make cheques payable to Haymarket Media Group Ltd. and send to the address below:

World Architecture News
Accounts dept.
15-17 Middle Street
East Sussex
United Kingdom

UK entries please add VAT.

DEADLINE: 18 APRIL 17 (17.00 BST)

Judging criteria  

The jury will judge entries on a number of factors including originality, innovation, quality, sustainability and context/community, but addressing any of the following will aid your case.

  1. Originality. Is your design or idea new to London?
  2. Transferability: How your design/idea could be applied to London or rolled out to other world cities.
  3. Evidence. Case Studies of specific examples showing how your design has pushed the boundaries and furthered the challenge of delivering volume housing without loss of quality.

Presentation is also of great importance, and judges will be looking for your ability to communicate the 'story' of your project, from the initial concept through to its completion.

Benefits of entering  

Urban Challenge London will provide architects with an unrivalled opportunity to showcase their ideas and designs to major players in world cities. 

On Tuesday 23 May, four winners* will join the Urban Task Force for a full day of high-level working groups and presentations with industry leaders. The groups' findings will be presented to an influential audience of 200 decision-makers for WAN's London Housing Symposium.

As with the WAN AWARDS, we will also tailor the news on the site to be sector-specific, which in turn promotes the projects entered into the competition, and the winners to be pioneers of the sector, selected by the experts and specialists on the prestigious judging panel. The four winning entrants will also have the opportunity to display their work in London, and their projects makes headline news on WAN. 

The winning entrants all receive dedicated press kits and their projects will be featured in a special edition of News Review which reaches over 200,000 property developers, architects, consultants and organisations in countries around the world.

*Haymarket Media Group are not responsoble for travel/accommodation costs of winners.

The competition stages  

All entries will be reviewed by the jury panel below. Four winners will be selected and invited to join the WAN Urban Task Force on 23 May 2017 at City Hall, London.


The entrance fee is £250, but an early registration price of £215 is available for entries made before 14 March 2017.

Key Dates:

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Completed Projects


  • Urban Rug
  • Microliving - Two Compact Homes for London


  • Airspace Development
  • KODA by Kodasema

All entries

  • HCL Architects-Residential Projects
  • tiNY
  • Density and Desire
  • Mixed use Public Housing Development at Bidadari
  • Public Housing at Bedok Town Centre
  • Urban Rug
  • Microliving - Two Compact Homes for London
  • HAUT, Amsterdam
  • Arbutus Street Microflats
  • Sudbury

All entries

  • Balance
  • McAfee Modular Systems
  • Orientation + Lateral Housing London
  • Airspace Development
  • Marston Court emergency housing project
  • KODA by Kodasema
  • UP@Robertson Quay, Singapore
  • Chapter Lewisham, Thurston Road

View all concept entries

View all completed projects entries

Winning announcements


It is with great pleasure that we name the following firms as the four winners of the WAN Urban Challenge: London Housing Competition 2017 - Congratulations!

Airspace Development by Apex Airspace Development
KODA by Kodasema
Microliving by Ab Rogers Design and The Manser Practice
Urban Rug by syntax architektur

FLEXIRESI by Astudio Ltd received a Commendation

A truly international competition with participants from over 18 countries, the WAN Urban Challenge called for firms who could bring innovation and fresh ideas to London’s specific housing crisis. The judges used their experience in the sector to assess the projects on a number of factors including; originality, innovation, form, function, sustainability and context. Entrants were advised to pay particular attention to originality and if the design or idea was new to London. Transferability and how the design or concept might be applied to London or rolled out to other world cities was also of importance. Evidence and/or case studies of specific examples showing how the design has pushed the boundaries and furthered the challenge of delivering volume housing without loss of quality.

Click on the below to hear some of the judges comments (in order of speaking we have Andrew Best, Peter Murray and Martha Thorne).

Working with the Mayor’s office, the four winners will now join the Task Force, a team of experts and members of London’s Boroughs to deliver a manifesto to the Mayor of London. The day’s findings will then be presented and debated at an evening Symposium on Tuesday 12 September at The Building Centre in partnership with New London Architecture.

Congratulations to the four winners!