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Open call launches for Build Better Now, the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion

By June 27, 2021October 4th, 2021 News No Comments

A coalition of over 100 partner organisations have launched an international Open Call for projects and a centrepiece installation to form part of Build Better Now, the global COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion, which will be delivered as part of COP26 in November.

As announced last month, Build Better Now will explore key sustainability themes through a digital exhibition of global projects and places, as well as a major series of events and downloadable content. To ensure the very best and most impactful projects are chosen, an Open Call has been launched for entries to two elements of the Build Better Now – exemplary projects for the exhibition and a sustainability focused installation that will act as a centrepiece within the exhibition.

Exhibition Open Call

The Open Call is seeking global projects, built or planned, that best represent the built environment sector and its role in tackling the climate and ecological crisis. Submissions are expected to exhibit outstanding performance against at least one of the Virtual Pavilion’s environmental themes: climate mitigation, climate adaptation, natural resource use, and nature and biodiversity – whilst demonstrating how they also benefit people and communities. The final exhibition will feature a diversity of project types, with different contexts and geographies, each of which will have a virtual space within the exhibition.

Installation Open Call

The second opportunity to respond to the Open Call is with a design for an installation that will sit within the heart of the Virtual Pavilion and act as a centrepiece. The Open Call is looking for the best new or existing playful interventions, interactive spaces and abstract art pieces that demonstrate how or why the built environment is both part of the problem and part of the solution to climate change. The selected entrant will work with the Virtual Pavilion partners and technology team to bring the idea to (virtual) reality and will be explored by visitors in the Virtual Pavilion. It should capture people’s attention and help visitors understand the significance of the sustainability of our built environment.

The chosen projects for the Exhibition and Installation will be promoted as part of the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion communications campaign, and will be available to view long after COP26 ends. The deadline for entries is Monday 2nd August 2021 at 23:59 BST, giving individuals and teams within the built environment five weeks to complete their submission. Judging will take place during mid-August by an international team of built environment experts, with winners and commendations scheduled to be announced in late-August. Those interested in submitting projects and ideas should read through both Open Call briefs (for the exhibition and the installation) and decide where their project best fits.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC:

“The launch of today’s Open Call is a very exciting moment for Build Better Now. Each project that will be selected for the exhibition will help tell a story of sustainability in the built environment and enable those entering the virtual reality space to see just how important our industry is in the race to net zero. I look forward to submissions being received for the exhibition and the all-important centrepiece, and seeing the projects and creative ideas within our industry become a virtual reality.”


Katie Clemence-Jackson, Technology Committee Chair at CIBSE & Chair of the Built Environment Virtual Pavilion Exhibition Working Group:

“I am excited to be involved in the Virtual Pavilion to champion the amazing work that is happening throughout our industry. Build Better Now will promote the Built Environment Industry’s message widely, helping people to understand and implement their own steps to a more sustainable future. The Open Call provides a unique opportunity to showcase how your work is helping to mitigate climate change and the associated issues.  We are looking for projects from around the world, representing a diverse range of scales and typologies. Please consider submitting your work to help us showcase the breadth of sustainable innovation within our industry.”


Alan Vallance, Chief Executive at RIBA (the Organisation Chairing The Built Environment Virtual Pavilion Installation Working Group):

“The built environment has a key role to play in the fight against climate change. Architects have the education and skills needed to drive the sector towards net zero. Today’s Open Call launch is a fantastic opportunity for architects to demonstrate their vision and role in creating a more sustainable future.”


Download the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion Open Call and find out more about entry requirements here.

For further details on the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion, including the organisations supporting the design and delivery of the project see here.