Submissions are now closed

Thank you to all who participated in Initiative 99, a global architecture competition aimed at designing accessible, beautiful and dignified 3D-printed homes that can be built for under $99,000. Submissions are now closed. Winning designs will be announced on stage during SXSW at ICON's showcase event at The Long Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2024.

The multi-phase competition offers a total prize purse of $1 million (USD). A selection of winning designs will be built by ICON and showcased as a model for the future affordable housing.

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Initiative 99 Supporters

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Everyone deserves a safe and dignified place to call home, but for over 1.6 billion people in our world today, that’s just not the reality. Home ownership shouldn’t be a dream. A resilient, dignified and beautiful home should be accessible and affordable.

Dignified home 1 Dignified home 2

We invited designers and architects from around the world to help us solve this problem with new and novel 3D-printed home designs. This opportunity is poised to make a difference in people’s lives by creating home designs that leverage robotic construction.

The Challenge

Design a Home to Be
Built for $99,000 or Less

The Opportunity

Design Freedom

ICON’s advanced 3D-printing technology allows for designs that leave traditional flat walls and boring boxes behind to build entirely new types of homes. If you’re an architect, a designer, a builder, or just someone who cares, then we need your help to create a new, disruptive solution for affordable housing.

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The Tools

The Technology
That Makes it Possible

Robotic construction is faster, more efficient and allows for entirely new forms of architecture. Initiative 99 aims to create a new, disruptive solution for affordable housing.

The tools
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The competition offers a total prize fund of $1 million (USD). ICON is committed to building a selection of the winning designs at multiple locations to be announced in the future.

Initiative 99

The Submission Details

Download the full Rules, Terms, and Conditions by entering your email address in the field below. These documents contain the design brief, as well as the necessary terms and conditions that must be acknowledged upon submission. Submissions are now closed. Winning designs will be revealed on March 12, 2024.

Initiative 99 Jurors

Looking for Innovative Designs

The jury consists of an expert panel of architectural practitioners, academic leaders, policy makers and non-profit organizations committed to realizing affordable housing solutions.

I99 Michelle Addington 2023 06 27 203301 zfvy 1
Michelle Addington

Former Dean of Architecture @ University of Texas

I99 lucia athens
Lucia Athens

Austin's First Chief Sustainability Officer and author of The Sustainability Revolutionists @ City of Austin

I99 Michael Bell
Michael Bell

Professor & Founding Chair, Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials @ Columbia University

I99 Shajay Bhooshan
Shajay Bhooshan

Associate Director @ Zaha Hadid Architects

I99 Alejandra Guerrero
Alejandra Guerrero

Deputy Director @ CityLab, Department of Architecture @ UCLA

I99 Brett Hagler
Brett Hagler

CEO, Co-Founder @ New Story

I99 mariana ibanez
Mariana Ibañez

Chair and Associate Professor @ UCLA Architecture and Urban Design

I99 bjarke ingels
Bjarke Ingels

Founder & Creative Director @ BIG

I99 michael mcdaniel
Michael McDaniel

Director of Design & Strategy @ ICON

I99 Marc Norman
Marc Norman

Associate Dean of the Schack Institute of Real Estate @ New York University

I99 melodie yashar
Melodie Yashar

VP, Building Design & Performance @ ICON

The Schedule

Phase 01: Key Dates

Phase 01 Date
Rules & Regulations May 23, 2023
Submissions Open August 08, 2023
Submissions Close December 18, 2023
Judging Finalized February 28, 2024
Phase 1 Winners Announced March 12, 2024
Phase 2 Begins April 01, 2024
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Initiative 99 Categories

Student Requirements

  • All student entrants must be enrolled in an academic program of at least an undergraduate level.
  • A Student Entrant may be an individual, a group of students from the same university, or a group of students from a mix of universities.
  • Each Student Entrant member can only enter the Competition once and cannot be part of more than one team.
  • A Student Entrant may not submit an entry as an individual and as part of a team.

Open / Professional requirements

  • An individual (architect, artist, design professional, engineer, etc), group of individuals, or professional firm may enter this category.
  • Any Professional Entrant that is an architectural firm must have all their team members be employed with said firm or engaged as an independent contractor at least 90 days prior to the beginning of the Registration Period.
  • Any Professional Entrant who is an individual who is part of a firm but participating as an individual without affiliation to their firm must fulfill entry requirements during non-working times and use software or other equipment that does not belong to the firm, unless the Professional Entrant has written permission from their firm to do so. Professional Entrants who are part of a firm but participating as an individual and reside in any jurisdiction where an individual must obtain written permission from their firm in order to participate in a competition like the Competition, must obtain and provide such consent to enter the Competition.
  • A Professional Entrant may not submit an entry as an individual and as part of a team.

In the News

Articles & News

News cnn

A 3D-printing company is preparing to build on the lunar surface. But first, a moonshot at home

A thread running through ICON’s work is building homes for disadvantaged people, including accommodation for the long-term homeless, often in collaboration with non-profits. Creating affordable housing is also an objective, which led the company to launch design competition Initiative 99 last month.

News designboom

ICON announces 'initiative 99' competition to design 3D printable affordable housing

ICON has announced a global architecture competition ‘Initiative 99,’ calling on designers to create homes that are at once beautiful and affordable — meaning they can be built for no more than $99,000 USD. Initiative 99 is offering a total prize of $1 million USD to the winning design teams at the end of the year-long competition.

News dezeen

ICON announces a global competitionto reimagine affordable housing

Texan construction technology company ICON has announced a global competition calling on the architecture community to submit home designs that can be built for under $99,000 (USD).

News austin american statesman

$99,000 to build a house? 3D-printing company Icon announces affordable housing contest at SXSW

Designing a house that could be built for under $99,000 might seem difficult or even impossible, but it's the idea behind a contest by Austin-based Icon, a 3D-printing construction company, this year at South by Southwest.

News cbs austin

$1 million prize announced at SXSW for new designs that reimagine affordable housing

Architects from around the world are being called on to help solve the affordable housing crisis. South by Southwest is the launch pad for a $1 million competition to get the best and brightest to create affordable designs that make homeownership more attainable for more people.


Do the competition materials need to be anonymous? Can we identify ourselves in the video?

No, competition materials do not need to be anonymous and teams may identify themselves in the video if needed. The Rules, Terms & Conditions have been updated to reflect this.

Is there an entry fee to participate in Initiative 99?

No, there is no required fee to participate in the global architecture competition.

Why does ICON retain a license for Initiative 99 submissions?

The purpose of the Initiative 99 competition is to help address the housing shortage by inspiring affordable designs made possible by 3D printing. ICON has committed to making designs available to the public in furtherance of this mission. In order to be able to grant licenses to the public for this purpose, ICON requires a royalty-free license from applicants. ICON intends to provide select designs in an "open source" repository to make the designs available to the wider public. Under the license, ICON agrees to use reasonable efforts to provide the applicant attribution in connection with any use of a submission whether or not it is selected as a winning design.

Will applicants be compensated if their designs are not selected as winners in the competition?

Prize money is guaranteed to winners of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the competition, irrespective of whether one or all designs are constructed.

Who owns the design submissions?

As an Initiative 99 participant, you retain ownership of your design and the right to use it and to charge others a fee for its use when they receive a license directly from you. ICON intends to include digital submissions of all designs, regardless of whether they are winners, in an open source online repository shared with the world.

The total purse in Phase 1 is $320,000 but the competition is touting a $1 million prize. Where is the other $680,000 in prize money?

Initiative 99 design challenge consists of two phases, and the total prize purse of $1 million USD will be allocated to the two phases; $320,000 will be provided in Phase 1 and $680,000 in Phase 2.

What is the correct target for cost estimates / the recommended cost per square foot for designs?

The previously stated values of $220/sf and $250/sf, mentioned separately in two locations in the Rules, Terms and Conditions, have been rectified to $250/sf consistently throughout the document.

Is there a maximum number of team members per team?

There is no predefined limit on the number of team members allowed per team. Each team is asked to designate a team leader and single point of contact responsible for communications with ICON, team registration, entry submission and document uploading, and distribution of prize funds among respective team members.

Section 1.6 mentions a “Registration Form”, what is this referring to?

The submission process will ask team leaders and team members to complete relevant sections of the "Registration Form", consisting of required information outlined in Section 3.1, as well as agreement to the Terms & Conditions specified in Part 4.

Is there a separate interior design component to the competition?

While there is no specific interior design category within the competition, we encourage interior designers to compete. All contestants are encouraged to thoughtfully consider the design of interior living spaces, especially how 3D printing can be utilized in creative and impactful ways.

Are there more technical details available pertaining to printability? For example, understanding the level of precision with printing, the height of each printing pass, etc. Will more precise cost estimating figures be made available? Mobilization and demobilization costs? Printed cost per CF?

The level of detail currently shared within the rules is sufficient for and representative of the level of detail we anticipate from contestants’ submissions and deliverables to score highly in Phase 1. Additional information will be shared in Phase 2.

Is it possible to design lofts?

Lofts are certainly not discouraged and can be included as long as the criteria under Section 2.2 - Printability Constraints are met.

How does the prize money get divided between a group of students from either the same or different universities entering under the Student Category?

To enter, each team must appoint a team leader who will be the single point of contact with ICON. The team leader will be responsible for disseminating any information provided by ICON to the other members of the team. In the case of a student team composed of entrants from multiple universities, the team leader will be responsible for disseminating all information, and should the team win, also the prize money. For students of the same university, ICON will provide funds to a university representative unless the university prefers or agrees that the prize money be transferred directly to the team leader.

Under what conditions will the winning projects of the competition be realized, will the winning teams be able to be involved in the subsequent processes?

Winning teams will be invited to participate in a subsequent Phase of the Initiative 99 competition (Phase 2), where teams will have the opportunity to develop their projects to a greater level of detail with ICON. Winners of the subsequent Phase will ultimately be constructed and realized.

What should be included in the video submission?

The video submission should follow the deliverables listed under Section 3.1 - Entry Deliverables.

Can the video submissions include animation?

We encourage that the video submissions include animation, but this is not a requirement. All video submissions should follow the requirements outlined in Section 3.1 - Entry Deliverables.

Could we design structures that use concrete roofing? How is reinforcement in roofing suggested in submissions?

Yes, this is certainly an acceptable strategy. For the purposes of Phase 1, entrants may make their own assumptions on reinforcement strategies.

Where will a selection of winning designs be built?

Participants may select a site of their choosing for their submission as outlined in Section 2.1 - Program & Design Guidelines. A selection of winning designs will be invited to participate in a subsequent competition (Phase 2) to collaborate more closely on realizing their designs with ICON. A selection of Phase 2 designs are anticipated to be printed in the Austin, Texas area - details of which will be announced at a later date.

If a submitted design is over budget, would the submission be disqualified?

Entries which are over budget will not be disqualified, however, will be scored accordingly with fewer points in the "Order of Magnitude Cost Estimate Criteria."

Can we create our own cost estimation breakdown for our submissions?

For the purposes of Phase 1, and to ensure that all entrants have equal information, we will be providing only what is listed in the Rules, Terms & Conditions regarding cost estimation and pricing.

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Initiative 99

Stay Informed

Join the challenge and bring creativity, energy, and passion to make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world.

Let’s create a better future with affordable, dignified homes for everyone. Sign up to stay informed of deadlines and developments with Initiative 99.

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