Are you an Architecture Student? Register to Participate in the Jinkai Initiative Shelter Competition and Win up to $1000.

The competition is open to students from 30 accredited architecture schools in Nigeria

The Jinkai Initiative Shelter Competition is a design initiative aimed at reducing the effects of psychological and physical trauma through the provision of one of the most basic human needs – shelter.

The competition will focus on creating housing for internally displaced citizens of Plateau state in Nigeria. Due to multiple historical, sociological, environmental and political factors, the Plateau state region has been convulsed in violence which has persisted and escalated in recent times. The escalation is due to a combination of the increased Boko Haram as well as herdsmen/farmer clashes complicated by harsh economic realities and global warming as well as a population explosion. Relative peace has begun returning to the region, as such, considerations for the return and resettlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) has birthed this initiative.

This initiative draws its title from two very similar Hausa words: Jinkai, the word for ‘mercy’ and Jinka, meaning ‘roof’. These words capture the essence of the competition, which is to assist in the resettlement of individuals who have been displaced.

The Project

The competition is to design modern yet simple, affordable, sustainable, and culturally relevant/appropriate housing which can be built by low skilled individuals using compressed earth bricks and other locally available materials. The design should recognise and reflect the following:

  • The predominant architectural style; so that the proposed design does not take away from the original image created with the initial design of the neighborhood/community. Therefore, a need for a marrying of the new design with the existing style in the neighborhood.
  • The predominant occupation; therefore, the need for appropriate crop storage and livestock habitation,
  • The predominant religion; therefore the need for specific design elements that allow inhabitants enjoy a degree of comfort and express liberty in this regard.

Thought should be given to how individual houses will fit into the wider community that is being rebuilt as well as to how the environment will impact occupants health and well-being with factors such as quality indoor environment, sewage disposal, recycling, composting etc. The cost of each unit should be as low as possible in materials, recognizing that labour and compressed earth bricks (CEB) will be supplied by the community.

The Intent

The intention of this architecture competition is fundamentally to afford architecture students in Nigeria a unique opportunity to participate in a design process that is borne out of necessity. It is important for students to put the knowledge they have acquired to use and begin to come to terms with the reality of their designs being constructed. The realization of theory meeting design is able to alert the student to how interesting and fulfilling the practice of architecture can be. To that end, this competition invites students to conceptualize and realize in detail, a structure that explores and utilizes locally sourced materials.

The reality of this competition comes in two forms: the requirement for buildable details utlilizing select local materials, and through the research and collaboration with local prefabricators on those choices and details. This competition will also expose the participants to the opportunities as well as restraints inherent in realizing traditional/vernacular conceptional design.

Registration and Eligibility

Registration will be either as individuals or in teams. The team should not consist of more than four (4) persons. Registration will be via the official website and only one application per team or individual is acceptable. If you’re interested in participating click the button below to register.

Architecture students enrolled in 30 accredited Nigerian Architectural Schools evidenced by admission letters, and participant information including: student number (that is, matriculation number), level of study, and current grade point average. You can also find out more information and details on the brief of the project via the Jinkai Initiative Shelter Competition official website.                

Competition Schedule

  • 1st of February – Registration opens
  • 31st March 2020 – Registration deadline
  • 31st July 2020 – Submission deadline
  • 15th September 2020 – Announcement of Winners
  • 28th October 2020 – Award Ceremony


  • First Prize: $1,000 and winner’s medallion
  • Second Prize: $500 and second place medallion
  • Third Prize: $300 and third place medallion

The top ten designs including the three winners and following seven designs will be mentioned in print and online publications. The team names will be displayed on buildings constructed according to the winning designs.

Organisers and Jury


The jury is made up of 5 (five) members representative of the architectural community, who are capable of delivering fair, professional, and expert decisions by evaluating how well participant’s meet the overall goals of the competition and complete the requirements of the submission package.  They include:


Jinkai Initiative was conceived by Emmanuel and Pamela Gye from their passion and desire to ease the challenges faced by the most vulnerable in society. They are a Nigerian-Canadian couple who were born in the Jos area of Plateau State, Nigeria. The design competition was borne out of a desire to sustainably address some of the challenges faced by the internally displaced persons (IDP’s) through harnessing the creativity of Nigerian youths. 

Emmanuel and Pamela Gye
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