2020 Competition notice

Fassa Bortolo Italian Prize for Sustainable Architecture

Graduation theses, PhD, and post-graduate Master dissertations

XIV Edition – 2020 Competition Notice  



The International Prize for Sustainable Architecture, founded and promoted since 2003 by Fassa S.p.A. registered holder of the trademark “Fassa Bortolo”, and the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara, on the occasion of its tenth anniversary aims to reward and promote to a wider public valuable architectural projects environmentally conscious and sustainable, designed for satisfying the needs of men and therefore able to fulfill the needs of future generations also by limiting pollution and the indiscriminate consumption of resources.

Since the 2014 Edition, the “International Prize for Sustainable Architecture” alternates each year the international professionals competition with the “Fassa Bortolo Italian Prize for Sustainable Architecture": a new section open to young authors of Graduation theses, PhD, and post-graduate Master dissertations carried out in Italian Universities.

For the XIV Edition in 2020, the event will welcome the participation of Graduation theses, Postgraduate and PhD works, Master and Continuing education courses dissertations which focus on: the realization of new buildings, the re-qualification and/or extension of existing buildings, urban and landscape design works, as well as industrial design elements or any other aspect of the planning and construction fields particularly relevant in terms of sustainability.


Applications to the Prize for Sustainable Architecture may be submitted both by individuals or groups of students that have presented:

  • Graduation theses (Bachelor's degree or Master's degree);
  • Doctoral theses;
  • Masters theses or other post-graduate and continuing education courses ones.

during the last 3 years (therefore not before February 2017) in an Italian Department or Faculty of Architecture, Design or Engineering, or equivalent national training institutes.

Projects that have already been presented at previous editions of the Prize may not be re-submitted.


The " Fassa Bortolo Italian Prize for Sustainable Architecture " is biennial. During the XIV Edition of 2020 “Graduation theses, PhD, and post-graduate Master dissertations” three Prizes will be bestowed, one for each of the following sections:

  • Sustainable Architecture and Technologies;
  • Sustainable Urban and Landscape Design;
  • Sustainable Industrial Design.

Each winner will be rewarded with a gold medal; the panel of judges may also assign for each section a silver medal. Furthermore, there will be a 9.000,00 € prize money that the panel may share among the gold and silver medals' winners at its discretion. If suitable, the panel of judges may also select further projects for each section worthy of Honorable Mentions.

The panel reserves the right to not reward any project in one or more categories, whether the contributions were not considered laudable.


Entries for the Prize can be submitted by completing the special electronic form at the website www.premioarchitettura.it  before the deadline set to February 3rd 2020. Postponed to February 25th 2020


To participate in the selection (the panel of judges will be represented by internationally acclaimed experts) the authors are invited to submit:

  • 2 A1 panels (portrait) saved as *.pdf e *.jpg at 300 dpi di resolution (see the template on the award website); including the information stated as follow and materials;
  • 1 100x70 cm panel  (landscape) saved as *.pdf e *.jpg at 300 dpi di resolution (see the template on the award website) where the candidates have to place the 2 A1 panels adapting them to the format;
  • all the digital documentation (single text and images files) used to create the 2 panels the additional material included in the folders that are not presented in the 2 A1 panels will not be taken into consideration by the Jury;

Panel's contents will have to be a summary of the thesis topics, paying attention to emphasizing the quality and sustainability aspects of each project.

All texts within the panels - including captions - will have to be only in English, with a minimum font of 11 points to allow a correct reading by the international committee; all projects that will not meet these dispositions will be excluded from the competition.

Panels' contents legibility (drawings, diagrams, texts, captions, etc.) must also be guaranteed for any possible A3 printing (therefore, candidates are invited to make some printing tests in order to verify the actual legibility of their work).

List of contents for participation, to send digitally to the Secretariat (premioarchitettura@unife.it) must be organized as the template available to download on the homepage of the site www.premioarchitettura.it, divided into many folders in alphabetical order as shown below and placed into a parent folder named with the surname-name of the candidate or the referent person in case of a group.

Folder a) form (*.doc format) to be filled in using the template file available for download in the Prize website (www.premioarchitettura.it) exclusively in English with:

- Identification data of the thesis project (University, Department, Author(s), Rapporteur(s), Academic Year); the candidate will also identify the section in which his project belongs and may choose between:  "Sustainable Architecture and Technologies", "Sustainable Urban and Landscape Design" and "Sustainable Design".

-   Abstract of the following peculiar aspects of the thesis (the writing of a single sentence is allowed for each aspect):

• Location of the project (to be indicated if significant for the evaluation)

• Research topic

• Aims and objectives of the research

• Sustainability criteria of the research

- General and technical report describing the project in English (maximum 3000 characters of text, spaces included for each language), with particular attention to the technical description of the solutions identified, so as to highlight the actual sustainability of the project idea.

The text, short and concise, must describe only what is strictly necessary for the understanding of the project. Projects with descriptive reports longer than that permitted by this paragraph will not be evaluated.

Folder b) graphic description of the project: project layout, plans, cross sections, façades, perspective views, project drafts, concept schemes, etc. (all images must be in *.jpeg format with a 300 dpi resolution); each single file must be named with the progressive alphanumeric code b_01, b_02, b_03 etc.

Folder c) maximum 10 rendering images or high quality pictures of the project's scale model (smaller side of the image not less than 15 cm at 300dpi); each single files must be named with the progressive alphanumeric code c_01, c_02, c_03 etc.

Folder d)

  • 2 vertical ISO A1 panels with texts only in English freely put together using the materials of the folders a, b e c and using the template available for download from the home page of the prize www.premioarchitettura.it . The layout files of the 2 A1 panels must be sent both in *.pdf  format saved as 300 dpi resolution, quality 12, RGB;
  • 1 100x70 cm panel (landscape) saved as *.pdf e *.jpg at 150 dpi di resolution (see the template on the award website) where the candidates have to place the 2 A1 panels adapting them to the format;

Projects not following each of the above directions will not be considered by the panel of judges.


The above-listed documentation must be digitally submitted to the Prize Secretariat (premioarchitettura@unife.it) through the use of large format e-mail systems (we generally have not encountered any issues with the use of  Yousendit, WeTransfer, Hightail or Libero's Jumbo mail) within 11.00 pm on 03/02/2020 (March 2nd 2020). Postponed to March 16th 2020

The total size of the digital material sent must not exceed 1 GB.

The failure to meet the deadline, the lack of one or more participation requirements, the dissimilarity of the submitted materials from the provisions of Art. 5 of this very call, all constitute grounds for exclusion from the competition by the selection committee.

The participation to the competition requires the payment of a registration fee, in order to enable the organizers to support technical and management costs, mainly related to files printing and assemblage on stiff supports for exposition.

The participation fee is 80,00 € per project, regardless the number of members that make up the project group; the payment must be done within 11:00pm on 03/02/2020 (March 2nd 2020)  (postponed to March 16th 2020) through the link that will be sent by email to all participants, after the registration’s deadline. At the same time as the email, the link will be published on the homepage of the official website of the Prize (www.premioarchitecture.it) which will redirect to the IT system of the Consorzio Futuro in Ricerca in charge of collecting the fee. In case of a project submitted by a group, this payment must be made in the name of the group  referent (the person who has made on-line registration on behalf of the group).


The panel is determined every two years grounding on the information provided by the Scientific Committee of the Prize, chaired by Prof. Thomas Herzog and composed by internationally renowned architects.

The board Secretary will be a non-voting member of the Department of Architecture, University of Ferrara.

Panel's judgments and decisions will be final and irrevocable. The committee reserves itself the right to change the project section proposed by the participant at the time of the registration.


The ending of the selection process, with the identification of winners and honorable mentions, will be communicated to all participants by the end of June 2020; the committee memorandum and motivations for the assigned awards will also be published on the official Prize website (www.premioarchitettura.it) and on the Fassa S.r.l. Company's website (www.fassabortolo.com), as well as on trade journals.


Winning projects, along with all those considered honorable of mention, will be published in a booklet dedicated to the edition of the Prize, which will be distributed during the awards ceremony, scheduled in Ferrara on a date still to be announced.


By submitting the materials required for admittance to the competition, candidates:

  • declare on their own responsibility that they are the exclusive owners of the presented projects' copyright;
  • accept and abide by all the rules specified in this call;
  • allow the non-return of the material sent;
  • authorize the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara and Fassa S.r.l., promoters of the Prize, to use and publish the contents listed at Art. 6 (preceding the panels, list of the materials used, including the contents required by letter a) to h) describing the submitted project) in part or in full, in hard or soft copy, for any purposes even not related to the Prize, including for advertising purposes, citing the source, without making any claims in relation to copyright;

It is expressly understood that no compensation is provided for this authorization and, therefore, the participants will have nothing to claim for any reason, including copyrights, as well as for the uses that the University of Ferrara and / or Fassa Srl will be able to make with the documentation indicated above; the participants will commit themselves to hold undamaged the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara and Fassa S.r.l. from any disputes, claims or judgments concerning the contents of the projects that can be used and disclosed in the publications indicated in the previous point.

The Secretariat reserves the right to request integrations and/or additional materials to the candidates, for the best realization of publications or exhibitions of the competing projects.


For any further information and explanation, the address of the Secretariat is as follows:


Dipartimento di Architettura Università di Ferrara

Via Quartieri 8, 44121 Ferrara

e-mail: premioarchitettura@unife.it




Fassa Bortolo S.r.l.

> download the 2020 Competition notice of the Italian Award for Sustainable Architecture - Thesis section