Initiative Shelter Competition

Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria


Bassa, Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Riyom, Jos North and South Local Government Areas of Plateau State Nigeria.


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.

 Nigeria and other sub-saharan African countries have been experiencing communal clashes for an extended period. In the last two decades, the situation has worsened, particularly in the north central part of Nigeria. This is due to multiple factors among which is the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east of Nigeria, global warming and population explosion. Consequently hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. 

Improving security has resulted in relative peace, thereby bringing about the need to resettle and rehouse the displaced, as they are keen to return to their farms and livelihood.

Sculpted pillar at the Jos Museum and Monuments’ Centre for Earth Construction Technology (CECTECH)


Bassa, Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Riyom, Jos North and South Local Government Areas of Plateau State Nigeria.

Map of Africa and map of Nigeria respectively (Source: Google Images)

Putative pilot site for design competition (Source: Google Earth)

Snapshot of Competition Information


New designs/constructions that are innovative, bold, affordable, modular and sustainable but informed by context, culture, and vernacular.


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.                

Target audience

Nigerian undergraduate architecture students

Sample Site plan - Wuzhu, Miango Bassa, LGA Plateau State, Nigeria

(USD equivalent)
  • Medallion and mention in both print and online publications.
  • Display of team name on each building using the design.
(USD equivalent)
  • Medallion and mention in both print and online publications.
  • Display of team name on each building using the design
(USD equivalent)
  • Medallion and mention in both print and online publications.
  • Display of team name on each building using the design.

Top 10 designs

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.

Admission Fees

There are no admission fees.


1st February 2020

Registration opens

31st March 2020

Registration deadline

31st August 2020

Submission deadline

05th October 2020

Announcement (of winners)/Ceremony date

Competition Statement

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.

Participants must adhere very strictly to the guidelines set out in this brief and maintain standards set, which are positively representative of the students’ Architecture School.

Introduction/ Background

Plateau State Nigeria is largely agrarian. It is known for its peace loving and welcoming nature. In fact, the slogan of the state is “home of peace and tourism.”

Due to multiple historical, sociological, environmental and political factors, this region has been convulsed in violence long before the colonial period. This has persisted and escalated in recent times. The escalation is due to a combination of the increased herdsmen/farmers militia attacks complicated by harsh economic realities and global warming.

This design initiative is aimed at reducing the effects of psychological and physical trauma through the provision of one of the most basic human needs – shelter. Relative peace is returning to the area thereby allowing considerations for the return and resettlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

An adobe house destroyed in one of the attacks

Crumbling adobe structures, note the central granary which is typical of the area​

Project site

In the first phase, the project site will be within the North and Central Senatorial districts of the state. While no specific site is indicated by the organizers, thought should be given to (which will attract points accordingly) identifying existing locations where the participant’s design may be situated within the district. The design will be culturally appropriate and suitable for the terrain. A key emphasis will be the use of locally sourced materials and affordability. Beneficiaries are predominantly small scale farmers who have tended to live in small isolated communities.

An adobe granary used for crop storage & an attempt at modernising the traditional adobe building respectively

The project

The competition is to design  modern yet simple, affordable, easily replicable, and culturally 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 objectives of the design competition are as follows;

  • High quality affordable housing
  • Culturally acceptable design
  • Functional spaces
  • Comparatively easy to construct, replicate, and maintain
  • Durable and sustainable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Psychologically meaningful
  • Assess, build, and showcase intangibles such as:
    • The education level within the participating Schools of Architecture,
    • The profile of the participating Schools particularly the School with the winning participant(s)
    • Ability to balance competing prioritites and work/design within a budget

Calendar & deadlines

1st February 2020

Registration opens

31st March 2020

Registration closes

31st August 2020

Submission deadline

15th September 2020

Announcement  of Winners

28th October 2020

Award Ceremony

Winners will be announced and notified via email and on the website.


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. An individual cannot belong to a team and at the same time apply as an individual. Participants are required to complete an online registration form, which will be used strictly for the competition administration purposes.

As part of the registration process, participants must provide some personal information as well as a photograph of themselves or of the team for the competition website.

The Savannah grassland