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Somewhere to call home is a fundamental human need.

An obvious solution to homelessness is more homes. But until those homes are built, more and more people are in urgent need of a place of shelter.

In the UK and Eire in 2022, increasing numbers of people are homeless or perilously close to it. In England in 2022, Shelter reported an 11% increase between January and March, with 74,230 people becoming homeless or being at imminent risk – including 25,610 families with children.

Since the abolition of workhouses in Britain in 1948 and Ireland in 1925, interim solutions for homelessness have varied widely from large-scale dormitories accommodating 1,000 people or more to bed and breakfast accommodation or expensive short-term rentals from buy-to-let landlords. Today, while some schemes such as Holmes Road by Peter Barber Architects for the London Borough of Camden provide a place of dignified refuge for people with extra care needs, elsewhere hostel provision can be less than hospitable.

Other contemporary ‘solutions’ may uproot people from existing networks of support including school, family and community. On top of this, homelessness accommodation often comes with stigma attached, and may fail to provide safety or privacy while being isolated from opportunities for work, meaningful occupation or social engagement.

As discussed by philosophers over the centuries, dwelling is fundamental to human existence – and few interim solutions meet the essence of ‘home’ encapsulated by American poet Robert Frost in the line ‘Something you somehow haven’t to deserve’.

How can people struggling with housing security ever feel truly at home?

The 2023 Davidson Prize asks you to imagine for a moment an amnesty on land ownership and a ban on empty buildings. Choose a brownfield or greenfield site or an unused building in any location in the UK or Eire and design a home community where people who have experienced the trauma of homelessness and housing insecurity are given time to settle, recover and find their bearings.

Your submission should identify one or more target demographic/s and respond to the specific needs of the group/s in relation to support as well as space for living. Examples include, but are not limited to, teenagers leaving the care system, people leaving the armed forces, ex-prisoners, families fleeing domestic abuse, asylum seekers and people requiring extra support for mental health and/or dependency issues or because of past trauma, as well as increasing numbers of people made homeless by rising rents and the cost-of-living crisis.

Your proposed home community will need to accommodate around 50 people in a variety of household sizes to suit the chosen demographic/s – ranging from single person to group and family living – plus shared space that addresses the specific needs of the target demographic/s.

Key considerations include design that:

  • Engenders a sense of home
  • Ensures privacy, security and safety
  • Promotes a sense of a community and shared purpose – such as a social service or revenue-generating activity
  • Engages with wider communities
  • Promotes health and wellbeing
  • Is inclusive and sustainable

Entries should:

  • Clearly communicate how the proposed design idea offers a solution to challenges faced by specific user group/s
  • Show the benefits of multi-disciplinary collaboration
  • Demonstrate effective communication of design ideas to lay audiences.


Download the brief here.

See ‘Submission Requirements’ and ‘Judging’ below for further information.


Registration has ended as of 12:00 GMT on Tuesday 24 January 2023.

The Davidson Prize is open to multi-disciplinary creative teams. Each team must include an architect registered with ARB (UK) or RIAI (Eire).

Teams were asked to provide the following details:

  1. Your team’s nominated main contact (name / email / contact no.)
  2. Name of your team’s architect (if different to main contact)
  3. ARB or RIAI registration no. of your team’s architect
  4. Names of additional team members (if known – n.b. if you have not created a team when registering your interest you can provide these details at the Stage 1 submission).

Once registered, competitors were issued with details for uploading their entry to the 2023 Davidson Prize.


The 2023 Davidson Prize Theme and Judges were announced on Tuesday 10 January 2023.

Following registration (deadline 12:00 GMT on Tuesday 24 January 2024), the competition is organised in TWO STAGES leading to the announcement of a winner.


  • Submissions closed on 18:00 GMT on Tuesday 28 February 2023
  • All submissions will be reviewed by the 2023 Davidson Prize jury leading to the selection of a longlist


  • A Stage 2 shortlist of three finalist teams will be selected by the 2023 Davidson Prize jury panel in April 2023
  • Each finalist team will then be awarded an honorarium of £5,000 to develop their design ideas
  • The Stage 2 submission deadline is 18:00 GMT on Wednesday 31 May 2023
  • After submitting their developed concepts, the teams will be invited to present to the jury
  • Stage 2 interviews will take place in June 2023

The winner of the £10,000 Davidson Prize will be announced in June 2023


Stage 1 submissions included:

  • 1 x A2 landscape poster selling your design concept – suitable for exhibition and website display. Your poster should speak for itself, using minimal wording in the form of captions and titles (PNG format of less than 5MB)
  • 1–3 square-format images showcasing aspects of your design (1080x1080 pixels)
  • A completed submission form (this will be sent to you upon registration) providing full details of your team including the ARB or RIAI number of one registered architect plus a 250-word statement explaining how your concept addresses the 2023 theme.

The above will be used for shortlisting and may be used for exhibition and publicity purposes, including social media.

At Stage 2, the three shortlisted teams will each receive an honorarium of £5,000 to work on their next stage and will be asked to submit the following for judging, exhibition and publicity purposes:

  • A two-minute film – content might include drawings, models, animation, talking heads, VR, or other media to communicate design ideas
  • 3 x landscape-format hero images exploring your concept (these should be original images and not stills from your film)
  • A written design statement of up to 500 words setting out your concept and approach

Each of the three finalists will then be invited to give a 10-minute presentation to the jury panel followed by a Q&A.

The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced in June 2023 during a celebratory event.


The 2023 Davidson Prize jury panel comprises:

  • Sadie Morgan OBE, BA (HONS), MA, DU LSBU (HON.), FRSA, HON FRIBA (Chair), Co-founder of dRMM and Founder of the Quality of Life Foundation
  • Yemí Aládérun, Senior Development Manager at Meridian Water for Enfield Council
  • Osama Bhutta, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Communications at Shelter
  • Charles Holland, Principal of Charles Holland Architects (winner of the 2022 Davidson Prize)
  • Priya Khanchandani MA (Cantab) MA (RCA) FRSA, Head of Curatorial & Interpretation at the Design Museum

Judges will be looking for:

  • Approaches that advance discussion around solutions to homelessness
  • Evidence of multi-disciplinary collaboration with other creatives e.g. visualisers, filmmakers, artists, researchers, engineers
  • Interesting and effective ways of communicating architectural ideas to wide audiences

Please note that visual material that has previously been paid for by any party may not form part of your submission.

Stage 1 submissions will be reviewed by a committee, leading to a longlist. The committee will comprise industry professionals and representatives from the Alan Davidson Foundation and the jury panel.

Stage 2 submissions will be reviewed by the 2023 Davidson Prize jury panel.

At both stages, submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • The quality of the design ideas
  • The effectiveness of visual communication
  • Evidence of multidisciplinary collaborative approaches.

Please note that the committee and jury panel’s decisions are final.


Launched in 2020, The Davidson Prize has been established in memory of Alan Davidson (1960–2018) – architect, artist, technologist, innovator and founder of London-based architecture visualisation studio Hayes Davidson.

The annual design ideas competition rewards architectural ideas that imaginatively rethink the design of the contemporary home. The prize is administered by the Alan Davidson Foundation.

Alan Davidson was a passionate believer in the power of storytelling, and the prize celebrates traditional and new ways of communicating architectural ideas from drawing to film and immersive technologies.

Each year, entrants are asked to consider a different aspect of future living. Three finalists receive £5,000 to develop their ideas. The overall winner receives a prize of £10,000.