School of
Architecture + Art
A part of the College of Professional Schools

Norwich University Architecture + Design Competition

Saturday, September 10, 2022 until Sunday, November 6, 2022 at 11:59 PM

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Norwich University is proud to announce Story Space: two places for storytelling, the 2022 High School Architecture Design Competition.


Open to all high school/secondary school students as well as college-level transfer students, who will be judged in a separate category. Students may register and compete either as individuals or as teams.

Story Space:

Architecture is about solving problems for people through the composition of light, space, and material. It is about embracing the way space can be sculpted to improve how we live. Many standards of normalcy have changed considerably over the last two years, especially with regard to how we gather. While outdoor performance and gathering spaces are not a wholly new idea, they have become essential over the past few years. With this design competition, we are seeking your thoughtful solutions to making dynamic and functional outdoor spaces for performance and gathering.

How many ways do we share the stories of our lives through storytelling? Whether in-person, by phone, or through Zoom, a lot can be shared through the stories we tell. Like many things in our lives, this activity can happen spontaneously wherever we may be, but at other times we have the advantage of a stage, an enclosure, or even just a quiet space from which to engage an audience. There is a reason we communicate differently on video, in person, in a large grand theater, in a smaller local theater, or out on the sidewalk. We connect with an audience differently, emote differently, and project our voices differently when speaking in an intimate setting or a grand setting.

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In these situations, the architect asks, “How can the built environment best accommodate this interaction, this communication?” For this year’s competition, we are asking you to think about how an open-air structure might answer this question, not just one way but two. You are to design an outdoor performance space to accommodate two different kinds of storytelling for a small intimate gathering of 5 people and a large public gathering of 50. There are many precedents in architecture for buildings to accommodate both large and small gatherings. To be clear, the intent is not to create one space for either situation but rather one structure with two different spaces.

Your outdoor Story Space structure should include:

  • A place for the audience to sit
  • A canopy or roof to provide shade and shelter from the rain, at least for the storytellers
  • A place (a stage?) to accommodate the storyteller for each of the two spaces: a small intimate gathering of 5 people and a large public gathering of 50

The project may be located on any relatively flat location in your home town. The site does not have to be empty, if you wish to reimagine a location that already has another structure. A location with some protection of nearby noise pollution, such as the protection of a hillside would be logical.


The total area of your Story Space should fit within a 100-foot by 62-foot area.

As you develop your design think about:

  • What does it mean to design a place with two distinct but related parts?
  • What needs to be different in each setting and what is the same?
  • We don’t need a structure to tell a story, but how can a well-designed structure improve the storytelling experience, for the storyteller and their audience?
  • What might you do differently in a space that could accommodate a whisper?

Individuals and Teams:

Competing students or teams will submit an innovative and unique design for a Story Space no later than midnight on November 6, 2022. Faculty of the Norwich University School of Architecture + Art will be available to provide advice and guidance to registered competitors during the competition. Any questions for feedback prior to the submission deadline should be submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Friday, October 14th.


First Prize: An $8,000 scholarship to Norwich University ($2,000 per year for four years)
Second Prize: A $4,000 scholarship to Norwich University ($1,000 per year for four years)
Complete Entry Submission: A $2,000 scholarship to Norwich University ($500 per year for four years)

Scholarships and other gift aid awarded by Norwich University can be applied to tuition, fees, room and board, as well as other Norwich University expenses. Norwich scholarships and awards are not transferable to other institutions. This scholarship may be combined with some, but not all, other Norwich scholarship offers. Find more information on this and other Norwich scholarships here.

If competing as a team (up to 4 team members), all members of the team will receive the same scholarship award based on their final placement.

Submission Requirements:

A) At least 4 critical views of your design Provide at least 4 illustrations of your design. Your submission can include drawings, sketches, photographs of a physical model and/or renderings of a digital model. You can work by hand, with digital design software, or a combination. We are most interested in the quality of your ideas and the way you use the tools at your disposal. A thoughtful sketch can communicate as much as a digital model.

B) A narrative description, up to 500 words, of your Story Space. IMPORTANT: All material must be submitted in a single pdf document. Competitors will receive a link to submit their entry along with contact information for the Norwich University School of Architecture + Art for questions or guidance.

Questions? Please contact Tolya Stonorov, Associate Director of Architecture + Art, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Ready to compete?  Click the button below to fill out the registration form.


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