Housing Unlocked is an Open Call for design ideas that will maximise housing potential in our towns and cities. Architects have an expertise in the complex framework for the delivery of housing in Ireland, and work within a broad range of codes and regulations. This places architects in a pivotal position to propose innovative ideas for improving housing supply and  affordability and to meet national objectives in relation to urban regeneration and compact growth.

Housing Unlocked is a one stage competition seeking submissions from multidisciplinary teams that will stimulate conversation and challenge current thinking. Submissions will be assessed by an international jury, who will select a shortlist to be invited and funded €7,500 (including VAT) per team to contribute to a significant public exhibition in Autumn 2022.

This Open Call is a collaboration between the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) and The Housing Agency (HA) and will result in an ambitious exhibition, website, public engagement programme and publication in Autumn 2022. The collaboration is driven by the need to apply innovation and expertise, not just to the final product, but to the integrated system that delivers our homes.

This call for ideas is focused on deliverability, design quality, affordability, and sustainability. For credibility and to ensure societal benefits however, the ideas must be workable and have the potential to be adopted and implemented.

There has never been a better time to rethink how we can deliver homes for sustainable communities.

‘Housing is the most beautiful challenge for architecture and for the architect.’

Jean Philippe Vassal, Lacaton Vassal speaking at the Irish Architecture Foundation 25.11.21

Unlocking our housing potential will involve many actors. Public contributions at recent IAF debates and the findings of the Housing Agency research in this area reveals an appetite for new thinking in this space. There is an expectation to improve affordability, flexibility, accessibility, community cohesion, town regeneration and climate response in our housing delivery to ensure happy and healthy neighbourhoods.

A new generation of multidisciplinary practitioners are transforming architectural practice, and responding to continued social and environmental needs with new methods of construction technology, social innovation and a deep consideration for placemaking.

This Open Call is an opportunity for people with a qualification in architecture and their collaborators to bring these new methodologies and ideas to bear and propose practical solutions to unlock our housing potential. Let’s start by considering places and neighbourhoods where people can and want to live.


 ‘First life, then spaces, then buildings – the other way around never works.’

Jan Gehl, Architect