MAB Student Awards

The MEDIA ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE – MAB20 invites students to send in their projects for the MAB Student Awards. An internationally acclaimed jury will select nominees and winners in five categories. A selection of projects will also be presented in an online exhibition to be displayed on the MAB Student Awards website. []

Nominees and awards are going to be presented in a web live cast during MAB20. We especially encourage submissions that address the Biennale’s theme of Futures Implied and demonstrate the implications of media technologies for urban development, the planning of our public spaces, and therefore the well-being of the ecosystem at large.


Submissions open: 1 October 2020
Submissions close – sharp: 1 April 2021
Selections announced: 22 April 2021
MAB Awards Livecast: to be announced


Our cities and lifestyle are increasingly shaped by the emergence of digital technologies like digital platforms, geolocated services and online maps, sensor technology, Internet of Things, responsive technologies also as surveillance systems. None of those technologies brought into the town are neutral enablers, mere decorative structures or simply simple marketplaces connecting demand and provide in fields as diverse as energy and transport to commerce and leisure. they’re built upon numerous spoken and unspoken assumptions about urban life, each with their own implications for both social relations also as their effect on the natural ecosystem. it’s time therefore for the discipline of media architecture to deal with the implied futures of latest technologies.

We are thus witnessing an unprecedented and multifaceted transformation that’s not only changing the way during which cities are designed and managed but also the way during which we as humans behave, communicate and connect with one another and our surroundings . This emerging spectrum of interactive technologies often appears within the sort of top-down smart city solutions getting to optimize flows, efficiency, and safety. The introduction of those technologies often compromises public values; they’ll interfere with citizen’s rights or be detrimental to the ecosystem. This might, within the end of the day , set the bottom for techno-deterministic dystopian futures. it’s time therefore to ‘leap’ into the longer term and further explore the possible outcomes, paths and challenges of the technologization of cities and its implied futures.

Embracing the spectrum between innovation and important thinking, speculation and pragmatism, the scholar awards aim to spark and materialize conversations on current and future urban paradigms. Projects can range from speculative future visions to concrete solutions getting to showcase innovative ideas or uncover potential pitfalls of urban transformation. they will take a good spectrum of formats and shapes: from responsive public spaces, urban screens, media facades, media kiosks and displays, to digitally mediated urban games, media art installations, area people platforms, mapping and navigation tools, also as technologies that monitor, construct, design, manage and structure the utilization of urban resources.

The student awards, being an experimental space, encourages a critical also as a constructive approach to the above themes. the subsequent open questions aim to kick-start a discussion oscillating between utopia and dystopia, speculation and pragmatism.

– Is technology made to support social structures and circular urban systems or resulting in a rise in consumption also as a waste of resources?

– Does it enable a balanced interaction of humans and their environment or does it cause uncontrolled development and exploitation of scarce resources?

– Can these technologies activate and recreate public places for communities or are they more likely to get passive spaces that wake up only within the digital sphere?

– Could online participation cause more inclusive engagement in cities, or wouldn’t it cause tokenism in disguise guided by vested interests?


The competition is hospitable students and up to date graduates from round the world. Students can enter individually or as a gaggle who have collaborated on the project. The project should be the result of a course, internship, graduation project, education or other assignment/ initiative at an academic institution, and is produced in 2019, 2020 or 2021. Submission is freed from charge.

Submissions contains an outline of the project, a series of images, a billboard (free design format, A1 format) explaining the project. A video explaining or documenting the project in action is suggested but not required.

Projects are often submitted in one among five categories that relate to MAB20’s main theme of Futures Implied. These categories are:

– The Aesthetics and Poetics of Responsive Urban Spaces
– Citizen’s Digital Eights within the Era of Platform Ecologies
– Playful & Artistic Civic Engagement
– Restorative Cities
– More-Than-Human Cities

To read the complete curatorial statement and learn more about these themes, visit


The projects are going to be evaluated by a world jury and three nominees are going to be selected for every category.

All selected nominees will have their projects permanently showcased on the MAB Student Awards website and promoted via MAB20’s social media channels.

Nominees also will be interviewed about their projects and featured as a series of articles on KooZA/rch. This series are going to be published in May as a collaboration between MAB20 and KooZA/arch.

Aside from that, nominees will receive full access to the whole MAB20 Program for free of charge , which can enable networking opportunities with industry professionals and academics from the sector .

The awarded participants of every category, additionally to the above, will get access to exclusive networking sessions with MAB Chairs and/or members of the jury. Additionally, they’re going to be invited to speak about their work during the MAB Student Awards online livecast.


To register and submit your projects, visit


The Media Architecture Biennale is the world’s premier event on media architecture, urban interaction design, and urban informatics. It brings together architects, artists and designers, leading thinkers on urban design, key industry and government representatives as well as community activists. Together, they explore the design and role of media in the built environment and its implications for urban communities and ecosystems.

The MAB20, originally planned for the fall of 2020, will take place on June 28th – July 2nd, 2021 in an online format. All of the major events such as workshops, keynotes, awards and paper sessions will be accessible online from locations throughout the world. We still hope to be able to accompany these with some smaller scale, on-site meet-ups in Amsterdam and Utrecht, depending on Covid regulations at that time. Our goal is to ensure we provide an exciting and safe experience to the MAB-Community.


MAB Student Awards Chairs

Juan Carlos Carvajal Bermúdez, Media Architecture Institute |
Olina Terzi, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences –

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The Media Architecture Biennale 20 is organized by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Utrecht University.

Download the information related to this competition here.

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