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Ladakh is a cold desert in India. Lying in the Great Himalayan Region, it has the mighty Karakoram Range in the North and in the south, it is bound by the Zanskar mountains. The area is remote: the main road linking Ladakh with the rest of India is cut off by snow for six months or more each year. It is one of the least populous areas of India and is largely rural in nature. The capital city of Leh is the biggest and only urban center in the greater Ladakh region. This is a high-altitude desert environment where water is precious. Agriculture and human settlements depend on water from snow melt, which flows towards the Indus River. The aim of the competition, MINIMUM SCHOOL is to create a model sustainable school that creates a robust educational community in this remote area. The school shall be built on the foundations of local culture and architecture with an aim to provide high quality modern education. The school should celebrate and enhance Ladakhi traditions and establish a holistic educational and academic community.

The idea of a minimum school is built on the pillars of adaptability, modularity, and sustainability. The school should be built using minimum resources, shall have a minimum energy footprint and create minimum disturbance to the context. The architectural aspect of the built form (volume, materiality and aesthetic features) should be (inspired from) the local vernacular building techniques. The school should possess the ability to sustain and support the fragile relationship between humans and natural ecosystems.

The school should cater to a small community and provide education to around 80-100 children from the vicinity. The age group can vary from kindergarten to 15 years with an aim to democratize education. Good architecture is price-less, not price-full. Architects should aim to maximize the aesthetic and efficiency potential of the minimum school and allow people to dream. It should liberate and uplift the people and make a powerful impact on the community.

Prizes worth EUR 2500 are up for claim with the distribution as follows:
Apart from the winners, the jury will select ’10 Editors’ Choices’ who will be featured on our website and several other international magazines and websites across the world. The winners and Editors’ Choices will be provided with an honorary certificate.

The competition is open to everyone in the world (architects, students, engineers etc.). You can participate individually or in a team. A team can have a maximum of three members only.
Standard registration: – 15th September 2021 – 15th November 2021
• For International participants: 60 EUR + Taxes (per team)
• For Indian participants: 1800 + Taxes (per team)
Late registration: – 16th November 2021 – 14th December 2021
• For International participants: 80 EUR + Taxes (per team)
• For Indian participants: 2100 INR + Taxes (per team)
Submission deadline: 15th December 2021
Result: 15th -18th January 2022

Group discounts apply for a minimum of 5 teams from one particular architecture school/university as our initiative to promote more participation from students. Send us the following details at to avail the offer.

Organizer: Switch Competitions
Category: Design/Architecture
Prize: Cash
Region: Global
Eligibility: Open to everyone
Deadline: 2021-12-15

What They Say

Manish Sonal, India
Winner of KTH Masters Challenge 2015 – Full Scholarship and living costs paid for at KTH
“I was always reluctant in applying to foreign Universities due to my financial constraints. Today I am pursuing my Master’s in a subject which I love and feel more confident about my future.”
Saravanan Yuvaraja, India
Winner of GE Light the way Challenge
“GE Light the Way Concepts for the future of Office Lighting Innovation Challenge Competition was one of my best life time experiences. This challenge had given me a chance to know exactly, what the organization is looking from the innovative student community for creating smart and sustainable world in the future.”
Arlisa Febriani, Indonesia
Winner of the Blue Bag Competition 2015 – Full Scholarship and living costs paid for at Lund University
Arlisa’s story is very unique and proof that given the right opportunity, the greatest ideas will succeed. By developing a revolutionary water cleansing system, she proved that anything is possible. This is great news for her, the people of Jakarta, and quite possibly the rest of the world who live in places with little or no access to clean water!
Avon Haughton, USA
Winner of The New School Competition 2014 – Scholarship at The New School in New York
“Winning the competition has been one of my greatest achievements thus far and participating was the most fun I’ve had in a while. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to go to The New School!”