Meet the winners of the Urban Design Award 2021 student projects

A record 60 projects have entered the 25th annual competition for the best urban development project, organised by the Czech University Faculty of Architecture's Department of Spatial Planning for students of the architecture of eight university cities in Europe. Of the 15 projects that made it to the second round, the jury eventually selected six to whom they virtually presented awards when the winners were announced online on 24 March 2021. Franziska Schenk, a student at the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University in Brno, won with the Green Clusters project.
Vítězové a ocenění Urban Design Award 2019/2020 (ke stažení)
"I view very positively the diverse composition of the jury, which included foreign participants," says jury chairman Petra Kunarová of the Faculty of Architecture of CTU. "Even though the jury could not meet, given the current situation, there was no lack of discussion over concrete proposals and what the jury considers to be essential in student work - whether preparedness for the profession or just the overlap - a message from students to society. It is certainly no coincidence that most of the award-winning projects emphasize the environmental and social transcendence of architecture and urban planning," explains Petra Kunarová.
In their evaluation, the judges took into account not only the resulting project, its quality and method of presentation, but also the author's imaginativeness and the degree to which the project responded to current world problems. An important parameter was the overall grasp of the subject under consideration and the clarity of the proposal. For the next years of the competition, the judges recommended creating competitive categories with regard to the type of award.
  • Ing. arch. Petra KUNAROVÁ (FA CTU), chairman
  • doc. Ing. arch. Gabriel KOPÁČIK, Dr. (FA VUT Brno)
  • Ing. arch. Jiří KUGL (FSv CTU)
  • Szábó Árpád DLA (FA BME Budapest)
  • B. Arch. Peter BEDNÁR (Jakub Cigler Architekti)
  • Ing. arch. Ivan GOGOLÁK (Gogolák+Grasse)
  • Ing. arch. Antonín KANTA (PDM Group a. s.)
  • Ing. arch. Josef MORKUS, Ph.D. (Ministery of Regional Development CZ)
  • Ing. arch. Jiří PRÁŠIL (architect)

During their meeting, the jusy considered 60 applications from nine faculties of eight universities.

  • 15 projects from FA VUT Brno
  • 14 projects from FA CTU Praha
  • 9 projects from FA STU Bratislava
  • 9 projects from FSv CTU Praha
  • 6 projects from FA BME Budapest
  • 3 projects from FA PW Vratislav
  • 2 projects from FSv TU Ostrava
  • 1 project from FA PG Gdaňsk
  • 1 projects from Sao Paolo Madrid


In the end, the judges agreed on six awards and, on the basis of another vote, selected their ranking, awarded 3rd place to two projects and rewarded two projects.

1. place: Franziska Schenk from FA VUT Brno with her project Green Clusters

2. place: Norbert Lichý with his project Humpolec – centrum – sídliště, from FA CTU in Prague

3. place: Sára Roeselová with her project Hradební okruh – Prachatice, from FA CTU in Prague

3. place: Márton Zacher and ZSombor Hernádi with their project JALTP Additions, FA BME Budapest


Lukáš Bím and Jakub Čerešník from FA STU Bratislava for their project Ružinov Tomášiková_Trnavská

Sophia Ariadne Thomas, Ilham Farah Al-Hajjar, Diana Negoescu and Gabriella Dalita Brix Monteiro for their project WIMCY – Welcome into My Church Yard.


Details of winning projects:

1. place

Franziska Schenk from FA VUT Brno with her project Green Clusters

The head of the project: Nicol Galeová, Department of Experimental Creation, FA VUT Brno

The goal of this urban design is socially mixed neighborhood living in a sustainable neighborhood close to nature. The project responds to the current change in contemporary housing structures and shows the possibilities of community living without denial of privacy. It is based on the idea of living in harmony with nature and highlights an environmentally sustainable way of life. The ‘Nová Valcha’ development area is currently being built on the outskirts of Pilsen. The green clusters mark the final appearance of the new area and clearly distance themselves from the typical suburban residential structure. There are no typical family homes that are not sustainable as a form of settlement. The project will encourage residents to move closer together, which will also encourage the creation of more free spaces for everyone.

Jury evaluation:

In the context of the competition, ‘Green Clusters’ sounds like an unequivocal view of a systematic approach to the concept of similar entities in the future. The micro urbanism of clusters stands out among other integrations of the now “traditional” sustainable principles in a compelling whole. This is almost banal, but unfortunately a similar approach is still not standard today. The very convincingly presented project partly defeats the scale of the controversy, the lack of reflection on today's transport situation in more remote urbanised locations, or the expected uncontextuality of a similar systematic approach.

Nevertheless, all of these ills are surpluses of emphasis on residential and environmental detail (from private veranda areas to common public spaces), social interaction (the composition of individual "families"), energy issues and its decentralization, the life cycle of the structure, and "blue-green" solutions (a combination of housing solutions and public spaces). A similar approach should be the start of a longer journey towards the future of urban planning in terms of teaching and access to our environment.

2. place

Norbert Lichý from FA CTU in Prague with his project Humpolec – centrum – sídliště.

The head of the project: Tomáš Novotný from Department of Architectural Design I, FA CTU

Two historic centers cut by a prefabricated housing estate. The demise of the city's historical fabric. Low density of development, high degree of public spaces. Loss of urban character. The aim of the proposal was to create a functioning urban structure, building on historic centres and settlements. The city's main problem is the loss of its urban character in its very centre, created by the disappearance of its historical density and the creation of a housing estate with too much public space. In the southern part of the city centre, an adjacent site of former engineering works. Today, dysfunctional, impenetrable territory. The proposal links existing focal points of the city centre (history - business - recreation) and touches on a new focal point (sports centre). The proposal envisages the concentration of the city centre and the creation of a new working structure on the site of the former industrial site.

Jury evaluation:

Norbert Lichý's student project is concerned with the urban restructuring of Humpolec city centre. It identifies the loss of traditional urban character as a major site problem and addresses the fragmentation of the city centre caused by the realised housing estate and the remaining former industrial sites. It aims to restore continuity to the functional urban fabric by introducing new elements in particular to under-utilised public zones and by reactivating the industrial site with a new sports centre.

The main spatial backbone of the project is a new network of public space north-south with very fine proportions of public space and smaller and larger green public squares. This network is defined by a unique functional combination of housing, office space and public functions.

The project addresses the urban problem in a very sensible way. It creates a well-scaled but tight network of urban spaces where, in addition to the spatial logic of public spaces, the designer also designs a spatial framework and building masses of new elements. The project creates adequate urban design for a complex urban problem and seamlessly complements the existing historic urban network. The graphic representation of the project is simple yet highly intelligent and reasonable.

In support of the proposal, it would be great to use (or show) a more analytical part of the existing urban space and use a more convincing (and more important) visualisation from a human perspective.

3. place

Sára Roeselová from FA CTU in Prague with her project Hradební okruh – Prachatice

The head of the project: Boris Redčenkov from Department of Building Theory, FA CTU

The project is developing an urban design for the South Bohemian city Prachatice. The city has a beautiful and very nicely preserved historical core, surrounded by walls, directly linked by modernist units of apartment blocks and panel housing estates. It is the interface between these two worlds that the project addresses, creating the missing layer of the 19th century.

The proposal has two objectives. The first is to define a very vague outer boundary of the circuit and to create a hierarchically clear set of public spaces connected by streets of different characters. The main point on the circuit remains the Small Square, which is restored to its function by significant interventions. The green counterpart to it is the "Štěpánčin Park" dedicated to cultural constructions. These main points are supplemented by two more squares and several residential areas. Last but not least, there is a marked slowing down, flattening and greening of the streets forming the perimeter. Even with its many opportunities to stop, it is becoming a coherent and residential-friendly layer of the city.

Jury evaluation:

A successful student project should be a balancing act between feasibility and distance from the normal forces that shape an urban environment more than a designer's intention or talent. The Prachatice circuit is one such project, compelling, practical, and, for the purposes of urban design, much more bureaucratic than we would like, even beautiful. The author focuses on spaces just outside the medieval city walls, which at the time of their creation divided the urban fabric between a compact settlement on one side and a desolate no-man's-land on the outside for defence purposes. Then, during subsequent construction, long after the city walls had dropped their significance, this terrain between historical and new developments was transformed once again into a land without people, this time through neglect, under-investment and a lack of a vocabulary of cities among historical and modern development models. These remaining suitable sites, small but strategically located, are designed for sensible development and linked to an area that may not yet be built enough to impress, but enough to imagine its potential.

Cities like Prachatice are permanently disadvantaged. Too small to provide a strong labour market and housing opportunities, but too valuable to do anything about. This project provides a clear strategy for implementing the necessary changes presented in a way that cannot reasonably be challenged. Putting a project into practice could be broken down into phases, while still being open to possible interpretations. This could finally bring the city not only a better urban area, but also a new mission.

3. place

Márton Zacher and Zsombor Hernádi from FA BME Budapest with their project JALTP Additions

The heads of the project: György Alföldi and Árpád Szabó from Department of Urban design, FA BME Budapest

The József Attila housing estate (József Attila Lakótelep, short for JALTP) is one of Budapest's largest socialist housing estates. This is an urban environment with a long and varied history. It was created as an experimental settlement, representing the latest technologies in mass production from decade to decade. Today, however, they suffer from the same diseases as any other complexes of the time. With our proposal, we wish JALTP to once again show the way for progress not only in construction technology, but also by laying the foundation for a new sustainable paradigm to address similar urban problems in "changing climates." In line with green principles and population growth, we decided to choose a simple addition procedure. By selecting three common typologies, we created three solutions, each based on participatory design and symbiosis between residents and other parties.

Jury evaluation:

The project addresses the highly topical and still outstanding issue of the future of the panelled housing estates, in this case in Budapest. It is based on a strong and thoroughly developed analysis, which includes mapping the views of residents, individual types of apartment buildings, their layout and design solutions. Based on their findings, the authors conclude that it would be preferable to use existing buildings instead of designing new buildings. To this end, they propose three types of solutions to achieve a denser urban fabric, the creation of new housing units and increased comfort for the residents of these houses, including offering missing private or shared (community) outdoor spaces. The proposed solutions are rational, thoughtful, and solidly presented using graphic abbreviation as part of the task. It makes for an interesting, systematic and comprehensive author's work that gives a fairly convincing answer to the problems it has chosen to solve.


Lukáš Bím and Jakub Čerešník from FA STU Bratislava for their project Ružinov Tomášiková_Trnavská

The head of the project: Viera Joklová, Department of Urban design, FA STU Bratislava

The proposal addresses the transformation of the Bratislava site with its share of industrial and warehouse buildings with good transport accessibility into a residential-administrative district with the necessary amenities, a topic that is very common in contemporary cities.

Jury evaluation:

The proposal addresses the transformation of the Bratislava site with its share of industrial and warehouse buildings with good transport accessibility into a residential-administrative district with the necessary amenities, a topic that is very common in contemporary cities. The project progressed smoothly to the second round of the competition, where almost all the judges agreed on its qualities.

The work is processed from wider relationships to complex urban design to detailed solutions for blocks of buildings. The urban structure is logically ordered, interestingly composed, appropriate to the city's location, perhaps unnecessarily uncomplicated in places. The jury was positive about the work with the high-rise layout of the development. Despite some of the criticisms about the layout of the parterre, the jury appreciated the careful and thoughtful design of the public spaces and the excellent visualisations that make the atmosphere of the proposed spaces perfectly clear. The work was created in the third year and is the result of a three-hour urban design studio in which students had the first chance to process the urban design. Yet both the quality of the design and its processing and presentation are of a thoroughly professional standard that undoubtedly merits the award. The jury looks forward to further proposals and, before long, the realisation of both authors.


Sophia Ariadne Thomas, Ilham Farah Al-Hajjar, Diana Negoescu and Gabriella Dalita Brix Monteiro from FA BME Budapest with theri project WIMCY – Welcome into My Church Yard

The head of the project: Árpád Szabó from Department of Urban planning and design

Jury evaluation:

The project was created based on the guidelines of the international UIA 2020 Rio Ideas Competition for Architecture Students to design urban regeneration principles that take into account the UN's sustainable development principles. Specifically, it deals with the design of the urban regeneration of the Maré slum (favela) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Using concise short phrases, it analyses the current situation and also suggests a strategy for a solution - first, working with major local institutions such as the Church, to strengthen local communities. Individual ideas then materialize in sub-urban interventions. The basic building unit to be applied in the proposals is the cube, a simple modular and flexible unit to revitalise the identified sites. The strengths of the work are the topicality of the topic, the lapidality of the architectural/urban communication and the quality of the graphic processing. On the other hand, there is also the greatest weakness of this work in its simplicity and excessive schematicity.

The competition is organized by the Department of Spatial Planning of the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague under the auspices of the Association for Urbanism and Spatial Planning of the Czech Republic and the Czech Chamber of Architects. The Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, Faculty of Architecture of the Wroclaw Technical University, Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University in Gdansk, University of Opole, as well as, as of this year, Faculty of Architecture of the Technical and Economic University in Budapest, and studio Šindlerová : Felcman.

For the content of this site is responsible: Ing. arch. Kateřina Rottová, Ph.D.