The New Normal - Ideas Competition

The New Normal is an ideas competition to identify scalable solutions for a healthier planet arising from the behavioural changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. What could life look like when everything returns to normal? We are advocating for opportunities to change how we live and create a New Normal that we have so far, inadvertently, observed its climate benefits.


Global pandemics often change human behaviour and routines as a measure towards ensuring resilience and protecting the general public health. How we live and our interaction with each other as well as with the environment are all impacted.


Our built environment influences the public’s health, particularly in relation to the spread of infectious diseases. According to Collaborative on Health and Environment, physical structures and surfaces can be significant vehicles for transmission and by allowing or restricting access to physical activity, transportation and social interactions, we can limit this spread. The built environment in particular does not only influence our health; it’s also responsible for almost 40% of CO2 emissions that contribute to the deterioration of our planet. This alone is an indication that the primary cause of global climate change is man-made, and the solutions are, therefore, within the human sphere of influence.


Inadvertently, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the positive impact of reduced industrial and commercial activities on a global scale. For example, air pollution has reduced greatly across previously smog-filled urban areas (Source; Forbes; NBCNews; NASA). Clogged waterways have become crystal clear and a home again for aquatic life. Most encouraging of all has been the rate of change, with the planet demonstrating a tremendous ability to begin self-repair when given the chance.


Our recent behavioural changes are however, not considered the norm, may not be sustainable in the long term and we are quick to return to old habits. Whilst a socially and economically active world is essential, it is important to ask ourselves what “normal” could look like for the future. Can we learn from these current changes, find new ways of living and sustain some of the environmental benefits that we are currently witnessing?


Lessons from past economic and social shocks – the 2008 crash or 9/11, for example – have demonstrated that the way we live is almost always altered to a certain degree. Things therefore cannot go back to how they used to be post the COVID-19 and oftentimes, the impact from such situations often breed new innovations and ways of thinking that spark new businesses, policies, behaviours and opportunities. What then can we learn from COVID-19 and the changes it has brought to our lives, that can define a “new normal”, and that is more positive than how things were before it?


The New Normal is a proposal for a global ideas competition that could ultimately be curated into a book. The competition seeks proposals for new climate innovations that are informed by the current social changes being exercised globally in response to the pandemic. 



Entries are invited from a global audience and selected proposals should demonstrate a new climate innovation with a clear rationale for practical implementation. We welcome ideas that can be implemented both at a local or global level and could range from new technological innovations to changes in our professional working environments, or cover themes including food supply, energy and transportation systems, urban planning or land use, or any other issue. 



The most impressive one hundred entries, as chosen by an expert global panel, will have the possibility of being curated for inclusion in The New Normal book with mentorship from experts in the respective fields to hone the ideas further. 


This competition is open to all professionals or students with or without design backgrounds. Each team may be composed of any number of individuals and may include multidisciplinary members.



All participants are required to fill their details online and make a payment of $50 prior to submitting their registration for their submission to be reviewed and evaluated. Half of the proceeds from the registration funds will be donated to XXX organisation to help in the fight against the impact of COVID-19.


Competition opening: May 10, 2020


FAQ questions deadline: May 13, 2020


FAQ answers posted:  May 20, 2020


Registration period: May 25 – May 29, 2020


Submission Deadline: July 24, 2020


Jury Evaluation: July 27 – August 07, 2020


Competition Results: August 11, 2020



All deadlines are established @ 23:59 hrs (UTC + 3)


There will be three prizes awarded by the jury and five honourable mentions(The honourable mention citations will not include a cash prize).



1st Prize: 1000 $ (One thousand US dollars) 

2nd Prize: 500 $ (Five hundred US dollars)

3rd Prize: 300 $ (Three hundred US dollars) 





The best 100 ideas have a unique possibility of being curated in the book; The New Normal



All reasonable efforts will be made to publish and promote the winners in architectural magazines and blogs worldwide; however, such results will rely on agreements and arrangements made between the publication entities and BuildX Studio.



For general questions please contact us at the email address: Any question related to this competition brief should be emailed prior to the FAQ deadline. Any questions regarding the registration process and/or payment methods can be made until the Registration Deadline.


On behalf of the BuildX Studio team, we welcome you and wish all the participants the very best of luck in the competition.