Addressing Homelessness Through Design Competition 2022

The Cape Institute for Architecture invites all students within your department to submit a project entry that will address the upsurge in homelessness within the City of Cape Town. The final short-listed projects will be exhibited in The Architect gallery at 71 Hout Street, Cape Town at the end of the year, where the prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place competition winners.

Poster | Brief


“The upsurge in homelessness, driven strongly by the impact of the global Covid 19 lockdown, is evident the world over From San Francisco and Seattle to London and Johannesburg, it is a global challenge In Cape Town it is important that we respond, first and foremost, as human beings helping other human beings” – Hill Lewis, News 24 (05.2022)

South Africa stands as one of the developing countries that have suffered from its history of spatial planning due to Apartheid This has, however, greatly influenced social and economic environments of where and how people inhabit spaces given a specific context As a result, South Africa has a huge need for quality housing, The Institute for Race Relations 2015 1 writes in their bulletin that “since 1994 the Government has provided more than 2 5 million houses and another 1 2 million serviced sites Over this period, the housing backlog has nevertheless increased from 1 5 million to 2 1 million units, while the number of informal settlements has gone up from 300 to 2 225 an increase of 650 Post Covid 19 we have seen an increase in homelessness As a result, naturally people convert empty/vacant spaces into smaller community hubs, which then later take the form of a formalized purposeful functional spaces that meets the homeless’ needs.

It is clear from studies across multiple countries that investment in short term homeless services only alleviate immediate problems rather than making investments intended for permanent solutions.

Attempting to alleviate long term effects and causes of homelessness also requires the need for addressing how specific populations are disproportionately affected by homelessness and a redistribution of resources so that investment is not being ineffectively invested, as current forms of investment are resulting in ‘significant economic costs that may not be alleviating homelessness’ Obviously from a moral perspective the most fundamental factor is the humane issues surrounding homelessness as the longer the period spent homeless, the greater the likelihood of both physical and mental deterioration However, when it comes to government expenditure, ensuring effective and efficient spending is also key.

Financially speaking, the various research indicated that money could be saved in the long run by governments if they invested in services which helped the homeless escape the streets permanently rather than how resources are currently being distributed and investment spent (Report link)

The brief:

In this project the students will have an opportunity to help realise some of the city’s concerns with the upsurge in homelessness. The students will be required to come up with design solutions which aim to translate identified areas/spaces affected by homelessness (refer to list below).

The solution should not be only limited to creating more houses, but to come up with long-term sustainable methods for the city to better utilise the City’s care intervention programme to provide alternative solutions to the issues surrounding homelessness.

List of affected sites

  • St Peters square (Observatory)
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • District six (Opposite CPUT D6 campus)
  • Seapoint Police station


You are required to locate a site, that would help address your design solution, Spatial consideration or Design system that are more sustainable, taking into consideration the global socio-economic status, but not limited to:

  • Contain space defining elements and space enclosing elements
  • Have at least one interior / exterior space
  • Abluting and cleansing
  • Have a relationship to the public streetscape, and neighbours
  • Consider spatial design in plan and section
  • Consider light and volume

Consider program:

evaluate how functions take place and explore options other than what you are familiar with

  • (For example: does a bed need to be in a bedroom?)
  • Ergonomics: solve functional conditions in very tight spaces
  • Materiality: celebrate locally sourced materials (Upcycling)
  • Use conventional building material to create unique roof forms if a roof is present in your design.
  • Sustainability: energy efficiency and orientation


Winner – R5000

1st Runner up – R3000

2nd Runner up – R2000

Five honorable mentions.
Certificates and Publication for winners and finalists.
Participation certificates for all the participants.


For students only

  • The competition is open to any registered (undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral) students of Architecture or Architectural
    Technology who are studying in the Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Participants are eligible to register individually or in teams of maximum 5 members, using their student numbers to maintain

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be anonymous, and entrants should use something like a student number or a pseudonym (like a project title or team name) to mark their submissions The standard entrant profile sheet with each entrant’s contact details and their number or pseudonym must be submitted separately in a sealed envelope.
Note that CIfA will process all the print outs of all submissions

Entries are to be submitted by following:

  • Maximum file size of A 1 panel to be submitted is 10 MB with 300 ppi in A 1 size, portrait PDF format.
  • Images should consist only of drawings, rendered images, photographs and thumbnails
  • The site analysis should include actual images of the site chosen
  • Communicate design idea with the use of orthographic sketch design drawings and annotated diagrams with scales necessary to shown as graphic scales next to the drawing
  • The contents of the panels should be sufficient to demonstrate innovative and creative thought (the wow factor), Demonstrate
    conceptual ideas around the development of a design, awareness of a basic design process.
  • Any names, MUST NOT be displayed anywhere on the panels
  • A final model scales 1:100, 1:50, 1:20 (is it’s a small design)

Judgement Criteria

Competition Rules


Important note

The competition will be a short single stage competition with a physical model based on SAIA’s standard competition rules, and it will be administrated by CIfA CIfA may freely exhibit the competition entries and use any of the competition material in their digital or printed media (with due acknowledgement of the designers), and neither it nor any other organisation is under any obligation to utilise any of the final entries i e to make it clear that the winning proposals will not be built, but that they are intended to raise awareness etc

All members of the team are regarded as co authors of the project they submitted together and will be acknowledged as such in all announcements, displays, exhibitions and publications associated with the competition, in the order with which their details (student no or pseudonym) are listed on the team’s registration form

The individual entrant is regarded as the author of the project he/she submits and will be acknowledged as such in all announcements, displays, exhibitions and publications associated with the competition

  1. Competition entry and registration is free
  2. If any form of plagiarism is caught in the competition entry, that entry will be disqualified
  3. Contacting the jury is strictly prohibited
  4. The decision of the jury and CIfA shall be final and no requests for the details of the evaluation process and re evaluation shall be entertained
  5. Participant teams will be disqualified if any of the competition rules or submission requirements are not adhered to Participation assumes
    acceptance of the regulations


To be announced at the end of August.


To be announced at the end of August.