The world today has become aware of the reckless utilization of natural resources and is now making conscious efforts to move towards a sustainable future. In this endeavor, it has become imperative to rethink our approach towards building materials to ease the pressure on the conventional ones.

The Shipping Container is one such potential building material that boasts of good structural quality, can be recycled easily and is universally available. With over two million unused containers docked on ports around the world, the UnBox 2017 aims to explore the prospective functionality of these as efficient structural components that aid in the creation of ingenious ideas and in reimagining sustainability.

UnBox 2017 intends to illustrate the inventive functionality of the material to the masses by using the containers to craft spaces in the public realm. The competition wants to enhance the future of public spaces with material innovation that fosters disruptive architecture and sustainability.

The challenge:

Participants are to design a public space in an urban or rural area using 4 container units. They can use the container units from the following sizes:

  • Type 1: 8’ x 10’ x 8’6”
  • Type 2: 8’ x 20’ x 8’6”
  • Type 3: 8’ x 40’ x 8’6”

Participants are free to select a site for their project. The designed solution should strike a dialogue with its surroundings. The containers themselves should be designed to become disruptive and the solutions crafted should be adaptable to the changing demographical dynamics of the site. The design should also respond to the site context selected.
The design model can be prototype that can be replicated at other locations.

The designed space has to be sustainable in nature and should cater to the public domain. The participants are to challenge the way the containers are used presently and create inventive solutions that are used for public utility.


  • Arjun Malik – Malik Architecture- India
  • Peter Walker – Cumulus Studio – Australia
  • Todd Henderson – Cumulus Studio – Australia

Prizes of total USD 4000, broken down as follows:

  • 1st Prize: USD 2000 Publication + Certificate
  • 2nd Prize: USD 1200 Publication + Certificate
  • 3rd Prize: USD 800 Publication+ Certificate
  • 10 Honorable mentions: Certificates
  • 3Winners +10 honorable mentions

Winners and honorable mentions will be published in VOLUME ZERO website and design magazine and other international magazines.


Unbox2017 Competition is open to all. We invite architects, students, engineers, designers, thinkers, companies, organizations, and everyone interested in the mission of the competition to submit their ideas. No professional qualifications are necessary.

To join this competition register with us on

  • Title

    Call for Ideas: Unbox 2017 Architecture Competition
  • Type

    Competition Announcement (Ideas)
  • Website

  • Organizers

  • Registration Deadline

    08/01/2018 23:59
  • Submission Deadline

    15/01/2018 23:59
  • Price

    Participants from India: INR 1800(per team) Participants from other countries: USD 65(per team)