Whether act of God or a superior force, our society responds to and prepares for Force-Majeure scenarios on many different scales. It has become increasingly obvious in the past year that disasters, both natural and human-made, exacerbate inequities in our society by unequally limiting access to healthcare, green spaces, fresh food, transportation, and education for our most vulnerable populations. Strengthening our communities allows us to be more resilient in the face of future Force Majeure scenarios. How can we as design professionals help support and provide care for the most vulnerable groups of people in our society? AIA Austin's DesignVoice Committee, in partnership with AIA Austin COTE, propose Force-Majeure, a design competition that addresses contemporary issues that are impacting our lives.
This year’s ideas competition is a multi-brief format that will challenge teams to identify a local issue that one of three principles of the Framework for Design Excellence—Design for Equitable Communities, Design for Water, or Design for Well-being—might ameliorate and propose a solution that embodies the chosen principle. The designs submitted will not only propose solutions to concrete issues but also explore the relationship between global crises and smaller, actionable local design interventions.



  • This call for design ideas is open to anyone who wants to create and put forth innovative ideas to solve current challenges.
  • Teams may be formed by a maximum of (4) members and a minimum of (2). Team members can be from any discipline. Students are welcome to participate. Participants will only be allowed to submit one proposal and be allowed on only one team.
  • Diverse and interdisciplinary teams that include or consult with social workers, homeless service providers, community planners, and people who are formerly or currently homeless are strongly encouraged.
  • No registration fee is required.
  • Under no circumstances may jurors, or persons directly related to the jury participate in this competition. To mitigate some of the current challenges our community is experiencing today, you will be able to pick between three scenarios and enter only one entry.


DOWNLOAD THE CONCEPT BRIEF for full submission guidelines.

Each team will select ONE of the following principles: Design for Equitable Communities; Design for Water; Design for Well-being. Rather than setting forth a particular issue or site, the teams will propose a local problem within one of these Design Excellence principles as part of the submission.

  • All submissions must include a design as a substantial component of the proposed solution; however, “design” should be construed in the broadest sense and can include all forms of built interventions, virtual spaces and constructs, writing and policy-making, mockups or prototypes, mapping and infographics, or opportunities for hacking and making. All forms of creative intervention into the built environment or social structures are welcome and encouraged. But design should be a means to an end and not an end in itself.
  • Submissions should consist of two portrait (vertical) 24” x 36” posters. The format and contents of the posters should reflect the nature of the proposal.
  • Designs that provide clear, actionable, practicable programming and design to encourage community engagement will receive special attention. All submissions must conform to the specific deliverable requirements outlined in the Concept Brief.


June 21: Competition Opens

July 15:  Deadline for clarifying questions (all answers will be posted here)

August 15:  Competition Submissions Due (11:59 CST)

Aug 24-26: Competition Winners Announced at AIA Austin's Design Excellence Conference (Final date TBD)


1st Place  $1,000

Honorable Mention  $500

*All entries that propose an interesting solution to the brief will potentially be presented in a digital exhibition, followed by a physical exhibition.

Submit the packaged files here. Competition Submissions are due August 15 at 11:59 CST. If you have any questions regarding the submission process or the competition please e-mail

Click here to view the past winners.