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PS 2020 : Pandemic Society


When N/A
Where N/A
Submission Deadline Nov 1, 2020
Notification Due Dec 1, 2020
Final Version Due Nov 1, 2020
Categories    architecture

Call For Papers

Non Architecture Competitions aims to find unconventional and unexplored design solutions in the field of architecture. The second phase of competitions is structured in 9+1 themes: a Research Ecosystem with the purpose of exploring each theme from different perspectives. All competitions have their focus on tackling the big issues of tomorrow, by seeking nontraditional approaches in the architect’s work.

We are publishing one book for each theme of competitions where we will insert the best projects but also a series of material that talk about each topic, a Research Ecosystem to create an ongoing conversation.

The Theme Zero closed on 29 August and the projects from the winners, honorable mentions and editorial picks of the three competitions (48H FLOORPLAN BATTLE, HEALING and SOCIAL DISTANCING) will be included in the book. This call for materials has the purpose to collect relevant contributions regarding this topic and necessary for the book on Pandemic Society.

The aim of the Pandemic Society set of competition is to develop design proposals that explore this theme from different perspectives.


The future remains uncertain, and as the pandemic continues to spread, more questions will undoubtedly arise. This condition opens a new scenario for humanity. We are promptly questioning our lifestyle and the framework designed to support it. Non Architecture and its partners want to play their part by involving the design community in a series of explorative initiatives. By reflecting upon specific topics, we aim at generating dialogue and mutual inspiration on ideas to mitigate the current crisis.

By producing a book for each Theme, Non Architecture sees an opportunity to address critical issues of tomorrow by giving visibility to innovative and unconventional ideas today. The book PANDEMIC SOCIETY is focused on the emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This throughout a series of elements and instruments such as articles, infographics, schemes and ideas based upon studies and personal outlook on the matter. These elements need to investigate how to mitigate the current crisis.

They need to answer the question and arise critics from the context of the world in crises, in order to have a spectrum of ideas that will initiate debates and develop new concepts for this subject. We are looking for a series of elements that narrate the revolution that is happening throughout reporting it, describing it, photographing it, and collecting its data, in order to meet the responsible protagonist of this change.

The outbreak of COVID-19 turned out to be one of the biggest global emergencies of our recent history and the dramatic number of victims will not be the only major consequence ahead. The world population was forced into quarantine and social distancing, with incredibly heavy load on healthcare systems and the horizon of an economic crisis ahead. It seems to be clear for all that there will be no easy fix to the emergency. Considered the current developments in China, Hong Kong and South Korea, we are likely to transition through different degrees of isolation while a vaccine, effective treatment or herd immunity are achieved. That could take months, if not years.

Throughout history, how we design and inhabit physical space has been a primary defence against epidemics. For thousands of years, humans have looked to physical space to treat and cure sickness. People have redesigned cities, infrastructure, architecture, and interiors all in the name of minimizing the risk of infectious diseases. Meanwhile, enterprising business people have capitalized on the fear of germs to sell products and services that supposedly stopped the rumoured causes of illness.

It’s only recently - with advancements in virology, bacteriology, epidemiology, and medicine mostly in the 19th and 20th centuries - that antibiotics and immunizations have been on the frontlines of infectious diseases. Now, with new diseases emerging, like COVID-19, and no vaccines or cures to fight them, one of the most effective solutions is to go back to the physical: social distancing, quarantine, isolation, and, perhaps, adaptations to our cities, neighbourhoods, and homes.

We are now returning to this kind of medieval spatial response to disease control, which means that architecture and urban design suddenly become medical. It is time to use the built environment as a way to control epidemic spread.

The word quarantine means restricting the movement of people or goods, but quarantine is a spatial and a temporal buffer. Space, as it relates to infectious disease epidemics, isn’t just about quarantine; it’s also a design problem. If you look around most neighbourhoods today - in cities and suburbs - you’ll see evidences of how humans have responded to infectious diseases by redesigning our physical spaces: from the creation of the sanitary reform movement, which created drinking water and sewage
infrastructure, to the creation of open spaces to become the lungs of the city, due to the belief in the medicinal qualities of green spaces, it was viewed as a healthier alternative to city life.


The call for materials defines the field of interest of Pandemic Society and produces a context in which to situate contributions. Contributions can be uploaded in the form of:
/ ESSAY: a brief compositions that describe, clarifies, argues, or analyzes a subject.
/ INFOGRAPHIC: a visual representation of information or data, e.g. as a chart or diagram.
/ PHOTO ESSAY: an account of something told predominantly through photographs, with some accompanying text.
/ ILLUSTRATION(S): a visualization or a depiction of a subject, such as a drawing, sketch, painting, or another kind of image, using a graphical representation.

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