General description

Well Building 2050 is an international design contest that challenges students to explore the future of urban housing in 2050. The objective: providing housing with new perspectives that could bring about changes in the way we imagine the future of the habitat as well as its users’ lifestyle. Proud of the 2012 edition’ success, the Elithis group reedits the contest by offering international students the opportunity to place all their expertise and interpersonal skills at the service of a well-reasoned town-planning.

The contest enables new generations to forget about the present to idealise – and even conceptualise – the 2050 urban habitat as a more prosperous and fair-sharing environment for all of its inhabitants. It mainly wishes to stimulate imagination and develop thinking on themes related to the future of living areas, regardless of the current constraints.

International students are given a chance to forget about what they already know and focus on possible futures that could enable the largest number of people to reach their ideals in life. Their dream-like housing should thus be adapted to people’s lifestyle improvement more than to social, political, economic and technological constraints.

Theme of the 2016 edition

Desire is the very essence of Man. Through conscience, mankind finds his way out the trivial and tyrannical needs and wins spiritual freedom where he is to pursue progress. Being the root of all his actions, desire is caused by want and deprivation that encourage him to project into a more satisfying future: therefore, as it is ingenious and industrious, desire thus helps produce value-add realities.”

Keeping Desire’s philosophical definition in mind, describe or sketch what best embodies and exemplifies your and your team’s ideal housing for 2050. No land location is imposed: participants are free to choose the country, city or district where they want to put up the building or district of your dreams as long as it is located in Earth. However, if the chosen building or quarter is also not to be spatially-limited, it still has to be big enough to embody the vision of theirs.


Well Building 2050, the international design housing contest for students, is based on an original idea of Elithis, a consulting and engineering group specialised in energy efficiency. The organisations’ head office is located at 1C Boulevard de Champagne, 21000 Dijon, France. Registered in the Trade and Companies of Dijon, France, under the number 444 782 015. Elithis is a straightforward joint stock company with a capital of €5 850 000. The chairman is Thierry Bièvre. The contest is co-hosted by Elithis and Terra Ethica. The latter is a non-profit organisation whose headquarters are located at La Tour Elithis, 1C Boulevard de Champagne, 21 000 Dijon, France. Chaired by Thierry Bièvre, Terra Ethica is an association of people who contribute on a daily basis to environmental protection and awareness

The 2016 edition of the Well Building 2050 contest is sponsored by the Fibres-Energivie cluster and the France Air group.

Fibres-Energivie is a French competitive cluster dedicated to sustainable materials and practices within the building sector.

As for France Air, it is a family business specialized in the design and distribution of air-treatment systems.


1st prize: the winning team will be awarded a $20,000 grant, whose redistribution will be at the team members’ charge. The 1st prize is to reward the audacity and the originality of the team’s project. The winning team will be invited to be a jury member of the next Well Building 2050 edition.

2nd and 3rd prizes: the second and third place teams will each receive a $5,000 grant for free redistribution between members.

Jury special prize : The Terra Ethica association will also award a $2,500 prize to one of the 10 teams selected to participate in Phase #2.

Award ceremony

The Well Building 2050 – 2016 edition award ceremony will take place at Strasbourg, France, during Build & Connect 2016, an international colloquium dealing with sustainable buildings and materials. All of the ten teams will be invited to the award ceremony, regardless of their home country.

The finalist projects will also be exhibited before the winning team receives a $20,000 grant whose redistribution will be at the team members’ charge. Before the award ceremony begins, the finalists will be entitled to discuss their work with the colloquium’s participants, as well as other competing teams.

The Build & Connect 2016 colloquium will occur on November 23th, 2016.

Communication tools

An official website, as well as a Facebook page and a Twitter account, will be operated by the Well Building 2050 – 2016 edition communication team. Those communication tools will relay the contest’s information (news, important deadlines, terms and conditions etc.) but will also be used as a means to generate team spirit and federate the participants’ community around multi-disciplinary dialogue and knowledge-sharing – two essential values for the Elithis Group.

Because all contest-related information will be published on social Medias, team members are strongly invited to follow the Well Building 2050 Twitter account and like the contest’s Facebook page so they can easily have access to its latest news.

Terms and conditions

English is the official language of the contest: any document that will not apply to this condition will not be admissible.


As an international contest, Well Building 2050 – 2016 edition is open to any student able to provide a certificate of school attendance for the current year. According to his/her country’s legislation, the contestant must be of age or else he/she must provide a signed parental permission form.

To be allowed to compete, teams must not exceed a maximum of 5 to 10 members and must include – at least- one student in architecture. Built around the architecture, engineering and design professions, teams must be composed of varied fields of specialization, such as arts, health, economy, data sciences, sociology or philosophy for example. The more diverse and multidisciplinary team, the better. Both these points will be taken into account in the application forms’ review.

Please note that the internal selection committee – consisting in representatives of Elithis and Pôle Fibres-Energivie - reserves the right to reject any application if any of the above conditions is not applied.


  1. Competition launch and opening of online registrations

    May 18th, 2016
  2. Closing date for entries

    July 29th, 2016

    Reviewing of the teams’ applications

    from July 29th, 2016 to July 30th, 2016

    Selection of the 10 teams allowed to compete in phase n°2

    Launching of phase n°2

    July 30th, 2016
  3. Closing date for phase n°2

    October 21th, 2016
  4. Selection of the 3 to 5 best projects

    November 4th, 2016
  5. Announcement of the contest results

    November 23th, 2016

    During Build & Connect 2016, an international colloquium dealing with sustainable buildings and materials, located in Strasbourg, France, European Union.

Phase n°1: submission of applications (from May 18th to July 29th, 2016)

In order to apply, each team must submit a detailed application form (including an administrative record, a commitment clause, team members’ résumés and certificates of school attendance) as well as a letter of intent which may not exceed a maximum of 1,500 characters (spaces included).

Applicants must also provide a graphic design digital file (PDF 300, dpi or jpeg format, in high-definition) ) including sketches, sectional drawings and building elevation drawings, as well as a summary report or any other document they want to submit to support their application.

The latter must address the following issues:

  • quality of life (living conditions - air quality, luminosity and thermal comfort-)
  • energy efficiency
  • environmental quality
  • architectural integration
  • controlled construction costs and energy independence
  • quality of materials (analysis of their grey energy and life cycle

The Elithis Group highly urges applicant teams to submit any other documents that could support their candidacy. No presentation format is imposed. However, all those files are to be uploaded on the contest’s official website.

The reports’ assessment will thus depend on both the boldness and inventiveness of the competing teams. Their ability to describe their futuristic utopia, as well as their capacity to conceptualise it, will be carefully examined. Besides, it is to be noted that only one project per team is to be submitted.

Please note that the applications will be examined by an internal selection committee composed of both Elithis and Pôle Fibres-Energivie representatives who reserves the right to reject any application if any of the above conditions is not applied.

Validation of applications

Application forms will be examined by an internal selection committee, composed of representatives of Elithis and Pôle Fibres-Energivie, who reserve the right to reject any application that is incomplete or fails to comply with the contest’s rules.

The contest’ communication team will send a confirmation e-mail and letter to each of the ten teams allowed to compete in phase n°2 within the week of their selection.

Phase n°2: the contest (from July 30th to October 21th, 2016)

Depending on their phase n°1 submission, a maximum of 10 teams will be selected to participate in phase n°2.

By the end of phase n°2, the teams must file a final in-depth report including:

  • A detailed project’s presentation in the free format (Video, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, PDF, drawings etc.)
  • 3D views and perspectives of their dreamlike 2050 housing
  • A description of the organisation of both the indoor and outdoor spaces
  • A report of the architectural integration of the habitat
  • An account of the quality of living spaces, as well as the way they adapt to the owners / tenants’ everyday life
  • A depiction of the volumes’ arrangement
  • A full analysis of the way housing is able to please all types of profile (single persons or families, social or unsocial individuals) and promote diversity and exchanges among people
  • A record of the methods used to control energy sobriety, as well as environmental quality standards
  • A detailed list of the things that make the building / district environmentally-responsible

Any other document entitled to support the team’s project is welcome. Please feel free to come up with funny and original submissions (videos, paintings, hand-made maquettes etc.).

The contest’s final phase will end on October 21th at midnight, Paris time (GMT +1), France, while the Award ceremony will occur on November 23th, 2016.

The composition of the examination board will be announced by the end of phase n°2 at the latest. The jury will be composed of architects, designers, engineers, eco-conception experts, as well as people recognized for their hard work and economic, social or environmental commitment. The 2012 edition’s winners will also be invited to participate in the selection of the laureates.

For more information, click here to download the official rules of the competition.


Vincent CALLEBAUT, President of the Well Building 2050 – 2016 edition jury, is a Belgium independent architect and planning professional. He is the inventor of the “archibiotic” concept, a neologism that combines the meaning of the words ARChitecture, BIOtechnologies and TECHnologies.

In 2014, Vincent Callebaut received the “International Architecture Award" for his Tao-Zhu Garden project during a ceremony organized by the Chicago Athenaeum and by the European Centre Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. In Singapore, for the same project, he won the 2014 "Highly Commented Award" during the World Architecture Festival in the Future Residential Buildings category.

Olivier DOLBEAU is Chief Executive Officer of the France Air Group, a family business specialized in the design and distribution of air-treatment systems. The France Air Group is the official sponsor of the contest.

Alan KIRSCH is an architect and real estate professional with keen curiosity and dedication to constantly learn about innovations in the design field, clean technologies and new construction techniques.

He currently works as an architect and project manager at City Choice Group, an urban residential building and development firm in Houston, USA. where he manages a multidisciplinary team of architects and engineers for the development of new luxury urban residential projects in the city area.

Laurent HABART is an independent consultant.

He currently works with companies, analyzing their organizational needs and improving their effectiveness by setting up innovative learning policies or training and development programmes or by helping them implement a learning culture to foster both performance and well-being. He is also secretary of Learning Sphere, an association of independent consultants specialized in new learning technologies.

Benoît BOUREL is Vice-Rector for social responsibility in the Université Catholique de Lille, and director of the sustainable and responsible development institute. The institution aims at developing energy performance-oriented training, research and innovation projects as well as real estate decisions.

He also formulates the sustainable development policy of the Université Catholique de Lille related to the higher education system’s pedagogy, the multidisciplinary research and the sustainable campus.

Thierry VERNINAS is Director of the Kaufman & Broad' innovation, quality and architecture department.

Kaufman & Broad is a leading French property builder and developer. For almost 50 years, Kaufman & Broad has been designing, building and marketing residential apartments, singlefamily homes in communities, managed accommodation, shops, industrial units and offices.

Thierry VERNINAS is an architect and an executive committee member of Kaufman and Broad. In charge of the development of the Group’s innovation culture, he permanently monitors technical developments, new products and customers’ expectations in order to contribute to the identification and the establishing of new technologies and new ways of living.

He develops partnerships with innovative companies and start-up businesses to experiment concrete solutions of improvement within the building sector.

He formalizes the Quality policy of Kaufman and Broad, including a responsible management system so the organization meets its quality objectives regarding the design and the construction of its buildings. His 30 years of experience help him to contribute to the maintenance of the architectural quality, know-how and trustworthiness of the operations conducted by the Kaufman and Broad group.

Gilles ROCCHIA is strategic marketing director at Socomec, a manufacturer specialized in the distribution, control and availability of the power supply to low voltage energy systems.

He is specialized in innovation marketing, strategic reviews and implementation, programme and project management and analysis process of market segments.

4 prize-winning projects

1st : DreamCraft

Click here to download the project

2nd : Dynamic Balance

Click here to download the project

3rd : UMM Monterrey

Click here to download the project

Jury special prize project : Melteam Pot

Click here to download the project

Reactions of the finalists

2012 Edition of the contest

Open to students worldwide, the "Well Building 2050 – 2012 edition" competition was meant to expand both real and perceived boundaries of urban housing by broadening its perspectives in getting all the academic disciplines together in an exploration process.

Participants were asked to provide a technical, sociological and future-oriented vision of housing for 2050, implementing the three pillars of sustainable development with energy efficiency and quality of life as primary purposes.

The main objective was making the youth looking to the future instead of thinking about present and past troubles or constraints so tomorrow’s housing evolves and progresses toward more quality and fairness for all.

Land location : les Groues in the La Défense Seine-Arche territory, France

The international competing teams had to set up a project in the La Défense Seine-Arche, one of Paris districts, France, in the European Union and hence had to take its demographic and bio-climatic indicators into account. Covering 76 hectares (190 acres), la Défense Seine-Arche is Europe’s number 1 business district : as a strategic area, it thus enjoys a high level of attractiveness on a local, metropolitan and international level.

The teams were asked to think about current global issues to best contribute to meeting the challenge of sustainable development, while considering Les Groues’ following constraints:

  • Combining urban density and quality of life
  • Reconciling urban living with privacy
  • Controlling the ecological impact of the territory due to its ongoing development
  • Providing a high-quality living environment as well as an adequate residential housing supply
  • Favouring sustainable commercial developments meeting international standards
  • Etc ...


The Well Building 2050 – 2012 edition partners were:

  • The public development authority EPADESA which runs the La Défense Seine Arche national interest operation (564 hectares), in the municipalities of Courbevoie, La Garenne-Colombes, Nanterre and Puteaux.
  • Le pavillon de l’Arsenal, which is the city of Paris’ centre for information, documentation and urban and architectural exhibition.
  • Nexity, which is France’s leading integrated real estate group, with business operations in all areas of real estate development and services.
  • France Air, which is a major company in Europe, specializing in design and distribution of air quality and HVAC equipment (ventilation, diffusion, …) for service buildings, hospitals, industrial structures, council housing and professional kitchens.


  1. Competition launch and beginning of entries

    April 26th, 2012
  2. Closing of entries for phase n°1

    June 13th, 2012

    Announcement of the teams allowed to compete in phase n°2

    Launch of phase n°2, known as the competition phase

    June 15th, 2012

    Consideration of the projets by the steering committee and selection of the candidates for phase n°2, known as the competition phase : June 2012

    June, 2012
  3. Deadline for receving applications for phase n°2

    September 15th, 2012
  4. Selection of the 4 best teams

    October 1st, 2012
  5. Submission of the 4 winner's final dossiers

    October 26th, 2012
  6. Proclamation of the results and award of the prizes

    December 31th, 2012

    At the latest, during a colloquium organized by Elithis in Paris, France, European Union.


Chaired by Thierry Bièvre, President of the Elithis Group, the 2012 contest’s jury was composed of:

  • Frédéric Bonnet, an architect and urban-planner, who is the co-founder of the Obras agency – an architecture and urban-planning firm.
  • Raphaël Catonnet, former Deputy General Manager of EPADESA (public development authority for La Défense-Seine-Arche) in charge of town planning.
  • Antonio Frausto, project director and associate architect of Arte Charpentier, a French architecture firm specialized in architecture, urban design, interiors and landscape architecture.
  • Robert K. Watson, founder of the LEED association* and chief executive officer of EcoTech International Group (ETI).

* The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design association

The jury was aimed at evaluating Phase n°2 works and picking the 3 prize-winning teams on October 1st, 2012.

Final ranking

From June 15th to September 15th 2012, 93 students dispatched in 13 teams from 28 universities, representing 11 nationalities and 27 different disciplines worked to imagine a urban Housing in 2050 in Les Groues in the La Défense Seine-Arche’ district.

Four teams were selected to participate in the final phase of the competition: Archi’nnove (France), Madan (South Korea), Holy Freak (Slovenia) and Cityzens (Tunisia).

After careful deliberation, the jury of Well Building 2050 – 2012 edition awarded a 22, 600€ grant to Archi’nnove, a team of 7 French students specialized in architecture, interior and product design, urban-planning, medecine, immunotechnology and bioinformatics. Their project was named Homeostasis Building and dealt with the ability of an organisation « to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes ».

The other winners, respectively second, third and fourth were : Madan (South Korea), Holy Freak (Slovenia) and Cityzens (Tunisia). Each team brought home a 3 700€ reward. The prize ceremony took place at Le Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris, France on November 26th, 2012.