CBDX Borderlands exhibition

What can designers do to intervene in borders?


International Design Ideas Competition 

Exhibition runs until November 10, 2021
Location: Stantec Gallery and online
Opening September 8, 2021 →

Borders are spaces of transition. Whether political and imposed through human agency, or natural and made manifest through geographical features, borders are associated with civilization’s greatest challenges. How we choose to choreograph and intersect these transitional spaces will reveal much about our priorities. The theme for the second CBDX international design competition, BORDERLANDS, invited participants to consider: How can designers intervene in borders? View the exhibition of top 25 proposals.

    View news release, March 23 2021 →

    Congratulations to all winning teams!


    • Joel Schülin (DE), Bauhaus University Weimar
      Charlotte Flügger (DE), Bauhaus University Weimar
    • Mahla Ebrahimpour (IR), Msc Sustainable Urban Planning and Design
      Agnieszka Lula (PL), Msc Sustainable Urban Planning and Design
    • Sonny Meng Qi Xu (CA), Stoss Landscape Urbanism


    Honourable Mentions

    • Wanyu Liang (CA), Politecnico di Milano
      Shuai Pa (CN), Politecnico di Milano
    • Amiradel Shamshirgaran (IR), University of Tehran
      Nazanin Hariri (IR), Melal Hotel Group
      Zahra Shoja Shafiei (IR), University of Tehran
      Avideh Kamrani (IR), Iran University of Science and Technology
    • Fionn Byrne (CA), University of British Columbia
      Roxane Grégoire (CA), University of British Columbia
      Noora Hijra (CA), University of British Columbia
      Kendra Scanlon (CA), University of British Columbia 
      Jordan Yule (CA), University of British Columbia
    • Alaa Misto (LB), Lebanese American University
    • Yoon Chai (CA) University of Toronto
      Lhanzi Gyaltsan (CA), University of Toronto
      Young Liu (CN), University of Toronto
      Kathy Zhu (CA), University of Toronto
    • Jake Heffington (US)
      Ezgi Balkanay (TR), NC State University
      Emily Fiedler (US) 
    • Kaitlyn Pelletier (CA), BCSLA Registered Landscape Architect



    • Yuzhuo Wu (CN) 
    • Julio Rodas (US), Cal Poly Pomona
    • Jiawei Zheng (CN), Politecnico di Milano, Xu Zhou (CN), Politecnico di Milano
      Lixuan Zhu (CN), Politecnico di Milano
      Yanghongyi Shi  (CN), Politecnico di Milano
    • Alissa North (CA), North Design Office/ University of Toronto
      Pete North (CA), North Design Office/ University of Toronto
      Matt Arnott (CA), University of Toronto
      Diana Pop (CA), University of Toronto
      Ozy Videlia (CA), University of Toronto 
    • Haoxian Cai (CN), Guangxi Arts University
      Yucan Zhang (CN), Guangxi Arts University
      Qilin Huang (CN), Guangxi Arts University
    • Jesse Martyn (CA) 
    • Zhao Yuanye (CN), Shenzhen University
      Lin zhenyu (CN), Shenzhen University
    • Padmini Unni (CA/US), McGill University
      Zoe Goodman (CA/US), McGill University
    • Sharareh Faryadi (IR) 
    • Danielle Callan (CA), University of Calgary
    • Shaheed H. Karim (CA), The C+D Lab
      Karim Manji (CA), The C+D Lab
      Natasha Karim-Manji (CA), The C+D Lab
    • Danyang Lei (CN), The Chinese University of Hong Kong
      Keyi Chen (CN), The Chinese University of Hong Kong
      Junwei Li (CN), The Chinese University of Hong Kong 
    • Chan Chun Kit (SG), National University of Singapore
      Vikram Kannappan (SG), National University of Singapore
      Zhang Wei Hao (SG), National University of Singapore 
    • Weng,Yeh-Ju (TW), National United University
    • Yu-Hao Chen (TW), National United University


    Thank you to the jurors

    • Luis Callejas, Director and Founder, LCLA Office (Medellin, Colombia) and Professor of Landscape Architecture, Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Oslo, Norway)
    • Danika Cooper, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley (Berkeley, USA)
    • Clare Lyster, Founder and Principal, CLUAA and Associate Professor of Architecture, UIC School of Architecture (Chicago, USA)
    • Dima Rachid, Founding Partner, Studio Libani and Lecturer at the American University of Beirut (Beirut, Lebanon)
    • Lola Sheppard, Founding Partner, Lateral Office (Toronto, Canada) and Professor, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Canada)
    • Rania Ghosn, Founding Partner, Design Earth and Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, MIT (Cambridge, USA)
    • Niall Kirkwood, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Harvard GSD (Cambridge, USA)
    • Alberto de Salvatierra, Director, Center for Civilization and Assistant Professor of Urbanism and Data in Architecture, University of Calgary SAPL (Calgary, Canada)

    About CBDX

    Launched in 2020, City Building Design Experiments and Exhibitions (CBDX) is an initiative of the University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. CBDX is primarily concerned with the future of city building—tackling critical design issues, initiating change, fostering new ideas and showcasing innovation.The initiative explores timely design issues through two annual international design ideas competitions, resulting in exhibitions and a summative publication.

    Confronted with an unprecedented number of calamities and injustices, we need to reconsider how design can challenge the nature of borders and participate in their reconsideration. We have a responsibility to understand and shepherd positive future change that questions and potentially bridges these lines of division. We’re pleased with the ideas generated from our previous competition, CITIES FOR ALL, which speculated on new approaches for equitable, diverse and inclusive cities; we challenge everyone — including designers, planners, policy-makers, humanitarians and social scientists — to respond to the global condition of borderlands.

    Dr. John L. Brown, PhD, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape


    Brewing Flower Power: An Ice Teaporium Celebrating Women’s Rights, London, United Kingdom

    Diana Guo (Canada), Tian Wei Li (Canada), Joanne Li (China)

    The first CBDX competition invited participants to reimagine inclusive, equitable ‘City for All’.

    The theme for the first competition — equity, diversity and inclusion — was determined in response to the global Black Lives Matters movement reignited by the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. CITIES FOR ALL also respond to the University of Calgary’s new draft strategy, UNSTOPPABLE: Growth Through Focus, and SAPL's grand challenge themes.

    CBDX: CITIES FOR ALL, asked entrants to submit design proposals for places, structures, things, systems, processes or relationships that increase inclusion, belonging, and well-being for a group who is typically underrepresented or undervalued in the prevailing design discourse. The competition all, released in October 2020, sparked international discussion around equitable, inclusive cities. 

    Organized in teams of one to five, 405 people from around the world participated. The competition elicited 145 submissions from 108 cities representing 26 different countries. Winning entries were announced at virtual panel event on February 10, 2021. 

    More than 300 people from across the world gathered virtually via Zoom to hear the jury speak about the competition entries. Nicola Johnson, marketing specialist with SAPL, reports on the winning entries and some the most interesting design proposals →

    Cities—which often ossify systemic inequities through the built environment—have become the fulcrum upon which movements for equity and justice have found increasing leverage. Solutions must come from, and be for, everyone. This competition provides a platform to highlight how architects and designers might address underrepresented and marginalized voices.

    Alberto de Salvatierra, Assistant Professor, inaugural faculty lead and CBDX chair

    2050 LAGOS: Amphibious City, Lagos, Nigeria

    Gi chul Choe (South Korea), Joanne Li (China)

    How might matters of equity and activism, ecology and environment, and health and wellness converge, and unfold, within our future cities?

    The 145 design proposals addressed a wide range of themes, like Social Housing, COVID-19, Social Justice, Sustainability, Isolation and Food Security, confirming that no matter where in the world they were located, people were grappling with similar challenges.

    Top entries — three winners, 15 honourable mentions and 26 finalists — are being exhibited virtually at cbdxcitiesforall.com and in downtown Calgary at SAPL’s City Building Design Lab and City Hall until the end of April 2021. Entries will also be published in the inaugural annual volume later this year.

    Read the competition winners announcement, Feb 10, 2021 → 

    Process, not Product, Washington DC, USA

    Mattie Wong (USA)

    The climate crisis and social inequality have converged against the backdrop of a pandemic, prompting us to rethink the way cities are being designed, built and operated. It is an opportunity for architects, planners, landscape architects, and other creative practitioners and students to imagine how we can make our futures better for everyone. The ideas generated from this competition offer a glimpse into how a city for all might look, how it might operate, and how it might come into being.

    Dean John Brown, SAPL

    The CBDX Series is made possible through the generous support of Stantec.

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