Board | Modular Student Hostel


Posted on: January 23rd, 2022

Board | Modular Student Hostel

Board, an architectural challenge to design a modular hostel for the students of an educational institute in the country of Nepal. The design of the hostel must be modular and made with locally available material and technology. It must be inexpensive and easy to build with local labor. The living facility must be of minimal standards, with care taken to ensure the well-being of its inhabitants.

Board Image 1

Fig: 1 –  Villages and cities are set in the diverse topography of Nepal, far and wide.


Nepal is a landlocked nation that is known for its diverse terrain, with many mountain ranges that are the highest in the world. It is home to various tourist attractions, fuelling the economic progress in the region.

Like any developing nation, its economic development is shaped by the social, political and cultural factors of the region. The internal landscape of Nepal is on occasions, in turmoil, but the education crisis is a constant issue. Out of a population of 29 million, only a little more than half of the population is literate.

While the political instability and environmental disasters of earthquakes have had the deepest impact on the education system in the country, the policies and infrastructure of this system are also found to be seriously lacking. While the facilities are adequate in urban areas, they are of little importance since as of 2018, 80.26% of the population in Nepal was residing in rural areas.

Board Image 2

Fig: 2 –  There is a  lack of supplies, teachers and shelters for students of education institutes throughout Nepal. (Credits: Nepal Nash)


Besides being a mostly rural country, the education services in many areas are sufficient, but the continuance of education among the students is a real challenge. The drop-out rates of lower secondary and secondary students are on the rise even in present times.

Access to education facilities is a primary issue in the nation. Since institutes are lesser in number and located at a fixed site, children are required to travel far and wide to avail these services.

Most people living in and around the area are ridden with poverty, and acquiring a home or shelter is their highest priority. Here, the education of dependents gets neglected. The travel costs and time are high and this investment is seldom afforded by local people.

How can we solve the issue of access to educational services?

Fig: 3 –  The boost in literacy rates will eventually lead to economic progress in the country. (Credits: UNICEF Nepa/2017/NShrestha)

Can we build a space that serves as a medium of easy accessibility?



Brief: The challenge is to design a modular hostel for the students of an educational institute in the country of Nepal.

The design of the hostel must be modular and made with locally available material and technology. It must be inexpensive and easy to build with local labor. The living facility must be of minimal standards, with care taken to ensure the well-being of its inhabitants.

The design is proposed in the earthquake-prone country of Nepal, so preventive measures are to be undertaken in the hostel design. The comfort of occupants and convenience of use must be achieved in this minimalistic design. The aim of the challenge is to help increase the enrolment and attendance of students of rural areas in Nepal.

The users occupying this facility are mostly children from primary to high school so the design must incorporate features of safety and security as a priority.




Modular: The design of the structure has to be customizable to different contexts and requirements.

Agile: The construction of the structure can be done with local labor and minimum time.

Cost-effective: Local materials and techniques must be used so that the construction requires fewer funds but operates at maximum efficiency.

Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.

Upgradable: The design must be expandable or transformable, if required, under certain circumstances.



Bhaktapur, Nepal

The city is in the Kathmandu Valley about 13 kilometres from the capital city. The culture is vibrant with many landmarks, temples and spots around attracting visitors. The governmental schools in Bhaktapur are making remarkable improvements in their educational quality.

The government schools have been starting to facilitate students by teaching in both English and Nepali mediums. The area of the space is to be restricted to 200 square meters. This site area is mentioned as per the context of the building. The design must be modular so that it can be replicated in different locations across the country as per the occupancy requirement.



The hostel is to be designed for students coming from all over the capital city of Nepal and nearby villages/regions for a stay of 8 months. The recommended age band we propose is 5yrs – 15yrs. You may flexibly choose an age band of your choice based on the concept – but the quantities shall be met.

Children: Age group of 5yrs – 15yrs (Suggested)- 60-80 children (Expandable to 100)

Managers/supervisors: 1-2

Support: 2-3 support personnel or more depending on the design.

Services/Security: 4-6 service personnel or more depending on the design.

Space ideas:

Spaces to stay 50%: Rooms (with study area, sleeping area) ~ 60 rooms

Common washrooms 20%

Recreational 15%: Cafeteria, Outdoor/Play areas

Administration 10%:  Office, Guard offices, Meeting area

Maintenance and Utility 5%

The following programmatic outline is the point to begin your design at. You can add more functions and activities in relevance or modify the given design programme.


Additional Resources

This competition contains additional resources that contain a set of files useful to complete the competition submission. This folder is made available on your profile dashboard automatically as soon as you register.

This additional resource folder of this competition contains:

Submission Format files in PSD | AI | InDD,
Guide to Journal Section + Questions,
Site Images,
High-Resolution Site Map, and
CAD file of the Site plan.

Submission Requirements

You have to deliver an architecture design outcome on the following site, based on the given outlines.

  1. Recommended number of sheets/presentation images/boards:
    3 (Three)of size [2800px x 3500px] in portrait digital format (JPEG only).
  2. Minimum 3 (Three) & No maximum sheet limit. Each image should be less than 15MB. (Do not submit PNG format)
  3. Minimum requisite submission are sheets/boards + Cover image containing:
    1. Site plan
    2. 1 x Key concept section
    3. 3D views x 4
    4. Additional cover image of 2000px x 1000px
    5. Write an article/story in the Journal section#of the project (of about 700-1000 words) answering the questions given in the guide pdf you receive in the additional resources.


Submission Guidelines

  • Under additional resources, which you will receive after registration, you will be provided with a submission sheets template.
  • Submit JPEG images only.
  • Ensure that the final sheets submitted do not include your name or any other mark of identification.
  • Mention sheet number on the corner of every sheet.
  • All the sheets or images will be viewed on a digital device. e.g. Laptop screen or projector. Uploaded sheets or images will not be physically printed for evaluation. The submission hence should be prepared for digital viewing only.
  • Tip: Remember that your sheets will have to convey your ideas. Try using comprehensive presentation techniques; use images, illustrations, sketches, views, diagrams, text, etc. to express the design fully. For example, use exploded views to discuss multi-leveled conceptual models better.



  • The minimum eligible age for participation is 18 years.
  • The competitions are open worldwide for designers from any discipline.
  • You can participate as an individual or as a team of a maximum of 4 members.
  • All students and professionals can participate in the competitions.
  • For Students: A student is someone who is currently enrolled in a full-time graduate/undergraduate program at a university anywhere in the world on the date of registration. We will need proof of identity upon the result declaration. The proof of identity should clearly state that you were enrolled in the institution at the time of registration. You may also produce a bonafide/authorized certificate from the institution as proof of identity. Students are allowed to involve one mentor/professor/guide in their team provided the mentor has been authorized via a bonafide certificate of the University.
  • All the participants who do not belong to the student category will be considered professionals by default. Ph.D. candidates will also be considered professionals.
  • Institutional access is a program for students only if they are participating in the competition as a group of 20 people and want to submit 5-20 entries together. Institutional access has to be done under the guidance of a mentor/professor.
  • A team with even one professional will be considered as a professional entry.


Base Rules

  • You can submit more than one project but they have to be registered separately.
  • Your submission as part of any competition is linked to your UNI user account which stands as your identification. We do not have any identification codes.
  • Hence, your submission sheets should not include any form of identification or personal information such as your names, organization, city, etc.
  • This is a design idea challenge only. There is no built commission/realization associated with the problem.
  • Each competition requires submission of original work. If referring to an existing work like text, theory, images, or ideas, giving due credit is mandatory. Otherwise, it will be counted as plagiarism.
  • The official language of the competitions is English.
  • The registration fee is non-refundable. Therefore, should a participant or team change their mind, refuse or fail to submit an entry after registering, the registration amount will not be refunded. Read the cancellation policy for more information.
  • If there are any changes in competition brief or schedule, they shall be updated on the website.
  • When you register for a competition, you are automatically agreeing to the terms and conditions of UNI.
  • Anybody working with UNI or associated with us are not eligible to participate or receive awards in competitions hosted on UNI. That includes currently working employees at UNI, jury members, community moderators or contract agencies, and their direct relatives.


Judging Criteria

The entries will be judged by an international jury of the competition on the following criteria:

Presentation: The fundamental to a good entry is a visual delivery of ideas.

Concept/Idea: Quality of thought and intent in pre-design phase.

Programme/Spaces: How the spaces are conceived along with the programme.

Design Outcome: The final architectural outcome of the solution.

The judging panel can also add other criteria based on their internal discussions – which will be in line with the problem statement. Participants are advised to fulfill above given criteria first in their design. Names of the jury panel will be announced soon.

The decision of the Judges Panel is final, no appeals will be entertained and no further correspondence shall be entered into.

Please note that the jury scores are NOT affected by the number of likes on a project. Every submission is evaluated based on the judging criteria. However, ‘Likes’ play a role in determining the People’s Choice Awards.



Registration Deadline: 28 March 2022

Submission Deadline:  29 March 2022

Result Announcements: 26 May 2022


For more details, please visit here.

Read More: Architecture Competitions | Residential Architecture | Institutional Architecture | Nepal