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9th i-Rec student competition - IATROGENESIS

Disrupting the status quo: Resisting disaster risk creation

Over the past decades, the world has witnessed rapid urbanisation, increasing over-consumption, and the unprecedented taming of nature. Humans are exceeding the limits of planetary resources and are causing major global disruptions. Technology and design are prompting overconsumption and the accumulation of power and resources. The creation of risk seems to be an inevitable feature of our current political, economic, and societal systems.

Undergraduate and graduate students of architecture are invited to participate in an international competition that attempts to bring out innovative ideas to explore ways of disrupting this status quo. This competition focuses on resisting disaster risk creation in natural and human systems.

Solutions for post-disaster reconstruction and disaster risk prevention must address both the products and the processes of intervention. Participating projects are expected to reflect on the following themes: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.


The 9th i-Rec international competition invites participants to:

1. Explore how interventions in the built environment can contribute to the protection of rights and freedoms, especially those of historically marginalized and excluded social groups, in situations of post-disaster and post-conflict reconstruction, recovery, and disaster risk reduction.

2. Explore innovative ways to tackle the root causes of vulnerability in a context of ongoing disaster risk creation.

3. Study comprehensive solutions to reduce inequalities in land ownership, tenure, and urban planning.

4. Show how architecture and/or urban projects can contribute to protecting resources and nature and aiding the recovery of ecosystems.

5. Explore how urban planning and design interventions can help reduce corruption in recovery attempts, empower affected populations, and avoid top-down and paternalist strategies often adopted by humanitarian actors.

6. Examine sustainable solutions to forced displacement of people. Reconsider the importance of design interventions in temporary spaces of refuge (such as refugee camps and informal settlements) that often become permanent.

7. Explore how design interventions can mitigate climate change and how science can reduce the denialism adopted by governments for specific political agendas.

8. Examine the technical aspects of physical construction or reconstruction, and present a scenario for an organizational design that articulates the participants, their actions, their resources, and how they will be made available.


A selected bibliography is provided in the full competition document below. However, participants are expected to conduct basic research on the subject before preparing their projects. A selection of articles can be found on the i-Rec website.

Suggested content

We expect participants will adopt a variety of methodologies and individual approaches. However, as a reference, the following points may be considered.


1. Context

a. Identify a working scenario. Two scenarios can be studied in the 9th i-Rec competition:

* A recent disaster in a human settlement located in a developing or developed nation (in the case of a post-disaster intervention), or

* A human settlement vulnerable to disasters (in the case of preventing the creation of future disaster risks).


b. Closely examine the context of the human settlement in the reconstruction program, or the disaster risk reduction project.


c. Explore traditional forms of living, mechanisms of adaptation, and patterns of housing and use of space. Identify local housing typologies, settlement patterns, traditional use of closed and open spaces, etc.


2. Technological approach to buildings, infrastructure, and settlement from a perspective of resisting disaster risk creation

a. Examine partial or total construction (or reconstruction) of houses and/or infrastructure and/or services. This might include examining core housing,

transitional sheltering, progressive housing, buildings for mixed use, buildings and infrastructure for income generation, small workshops, etc.


b. Examine the housing solution from the point of view of the settlement (at a regional, urban, or semi-urban scale). Students might explore a neighbourhood, a concentrated community, a part of a slum, or a rural region, among others.


c. Examine the use of different technologies and compare “innovative” technologies with traditional practices in terms of costs, speed of construction, disaster resistance standards, social effects, acceptability, future availability, etc.


d. Explain the technologies used in the project.


3. Organizational approach and logistics

a. Present an organizational design. Diagram the roles and relationships between participants. Aim to answer the following question: Who does what, where, when and how?


b. Explain how the project can contribute to economic recovery, development, and livelihood security.


c. Explore how to redistribute and decentralize decision-making power among project participants.


d. Explore the coordination of local and external resources.


e. Propose timelines for the development of project activities: planning, design, management, financing, training, information, construction, etc.


f. Explain the logistics and phases required to develop the project.

Submission instructions

Entries must be completed online. Please follow these three steps:

1. Write an expression of interest

2. Register on the competition website by completing the online registration form.

3. Prepare an 8-page document explaining your project and save it as a PDF file. This document must include graphic depictions of the proposed technique and a brief text describing the scenario and the organizational design. Organization charts, Pert diagrams, etc., are suggested for the presentation of organizational aspects.


If the project is to be developed as an evolutionary process, different stages of the process should be illustrated. Provide a timeline of activities and explain the project lifecycle.

4. Upload the information using the registration form.

a. Upload three images: one at the architectural scale, one at the settlement scale, and one of the organizational design. These images may or may not be included in the PDF file (as part of the 8-page document). Images must be less than 2MB;, they must be in good resolution. Images must be in .jpg format; name your files figure1.jpg, figure2.jpg, and figure3.jpg.

b. Write, in the area provided, a brief text of 200 words describing the most important elements of the project.


5. Upload the 8-page PDF document. This file must not exceed 3MB. Aim to have the highest-possible resolution that can be obtained within the limit of the file size.

Document guidelines

The document must be submitted electronically as a PDF, and it must meet the requirements below.


1. Page format: Letter or A4.

2. Layout: Landscape (i.e. horizontal). Please note that submissions will only be viewed electronically. PDF files will be examined at a scale of 100%.

3. Length: A maximum of 8 pages, including all images, text, references, tables, diagrams, etc. The text within the document should not exceed 1000 words.

4. Margins: Not specified. Students may design their own layout.

5. Font: Not specified. Students may design their own layout. However, please note that the text must appear at an appropriate, readable size when the PDF file is opened at 100%.

6. Cover page: Do not use a cover page to identify the authors. Instead, use a label on the first page with the following information: student names, university name, date, and supervisor’s name (professor, teacher, or instructor). As a reference see the label suggested on page 14 of this document.

7. Language: Text can be in English, Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic, or Persian.


Expression of interest: As soon as possible (send an email to Faten Kikano – details below).

Online registration: From October 2018 to May 10, 2019.

Submission of projects: From April 10 to May 10, 2019.

Selection of prize winners: During the 9th i-Rec conference in Gainesville, Florida, USA.

Exhibition of projects

Students must follow all instructions in order for their work to be eligible for the competition. Accepted entries will be permanently exhibited on the competition website. The projects will be shown and discussed during the 2019 i-Rec conference.


For more information about the student competition, please contact:

Faten Kikano - faten.kikano@umontreal.ca

Gonzalo Lizarralde - gonzalo.lizarralde@umontreal.ca


Student participation in the competition is free. Student participants are invited to attend the conference-workshop at the reduced registration rate.


During the 7th i-Rec conference, a jury of experts will select three projects to be awarded prizes:

* First prize: 1500 CAD$

* Second prize: 1000 CAD$

* Third prize: 500 CAD$


The jury’s decision will be posted on the competition website.