Open Ideas National Competition

The Open Ideas National competition on ‘Improving the Liveability of Small Houses’ was designed against the backdrop of the affordable housing scenario in India where there is an estimated shortage of 18.78 million houses of which 96% deficit is among those in economically weaker sections and lower income groups. The large number of houses that get built now and in the future therefore will likely be small, low cost and utilitarian to meet affordability criteria. Public sector and private sector efforts have contributed in part to numbers but the pace of change is slow and quality aspects have not always been addressed adequately. Most architects, in particular, have stayed away from the affordable housing sector.

Structured unconventionally, this competition therefore sought to sensitize, expose and orient young students and practicing designers to the challenge of making small affordable houses and apartments, being built in thousands in Indian cities, better places for the families to live and better buildings for the cities.

The competition sought to establish that:

  • Low income houses should not automatically mean low quality housing.
  • The principal of incremental growth can also be adopted in multi-floor buildings.
  • Smaller spaces conditioned by affordability could be overcome through creative design.
  • Design for sustainability must weigh more, not less in projects.
  • Most importantly, the people centeredness of design and liveability of houses must remain at the forefront.



Launched in August 2018, receiving 200 registrations and 20 final submissions. The following 3 winners were announced in April 2019:

First Place: Interior for the Most Vulnerable, Team SIAN, New Delhi

Second Place: Re-looking at In-situ Slum Redevelopment, Team ONEbyN, Chennai

Third Place: Questioning the High Rise Typology, Parag Udani, Rajkot


Launched in February 2020 but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Re-launched May 2021.


Season 1 – Supported by Gruh, Print media partners: Civil Society Magazine, Ifj Magazine, Inside Outside, Online media: Architexturez South Asia, Jury: Ajay Nayak, Ashok Lall, Chitranjan Kaushik, Jaxay Shah, Kirtee Shah, Laxmi Narayan, Marina Joseph, Rahul Mehrotra.

Season 2 – In partnership with INI Design Studio Pvt.Ltd, and Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), Jury: Anand Bhatt, Bijal Bhatt, Dr. Hari Haran, Jayesh Jariyani, Kirtee Shah, KT Ravindran, Medha Samant, Pavan Bakeri, Sandeep Virmani, Shirish Beri, Syed Khwaja Abid.