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Ideas competition

Call for applications 2019

The underground, a space of innovations

 (International) ideas competition for students and young graduates 1

Ideas competition theme The Underground, a space of innovations

On the occasion of the 16th International AFTES Congress which will be held in Paris at the Palais des Congrès from 21 to 23 September 2020, the French Tunnelling and Underground Space Association is launching a new ideas competition for students and/or young graduates in architecture, urban planning, urban engineering, design, etc. on the theme: The underground, a space of innovations..

The call for an ideas competition The underground, a space of innovations aims to spark thinking and the emergence of issues and proposals from students and/or young graduates, architects, urban planners and engineers, on their forward-looking vision of the urban and peri-urban underground. This competition wishes to encourage a real multidisciplinary approach, in which the diversity of the underground spaces available, their use and reuse, is a great opportunity to demonstrate a range of knowledge and skills (architecture, urban planning, design, engineering, etc.) while leaving plenty of room for creativity.

The innovative, forward-looking, utopian proposals must be based on existing underground spaces, buried (or semi-buried) sites.

The winners of the ideas competition will receive a prize; €6,000 in prize money will be awarded to the 3 finalist projects at the 16th International AFTES Congress.

Ideas competition theme The Underground, a space of innovations (bis)

  • Choose an underground space which will be used as the medium for the proposals; and justify this choice.
  • Present the ideas, visions, proposals for the use, reuse of cavities, buried sites, underground spaces, etc.

General program of the ideas competition

Opening of the call for applications on the congress website 21 May 2019
Competition applications deadline 30 October 21 November 2019
Deadline for validation of applications by AFTES 28 November 2019
Deadline for submission of competition folder                           21 June 2020
Communication of the list of finalists 1st September 2020
Presentation of the work AFTES Congress (21 to 23 September 2020)
Announcement of the Winners Congress gala evening (23 September 2020)

Applications accepted

The competition is open to students in architecture, urban planning, planning engineers, design, etc. and to young graduates (diploma obtained within less than three years of the submission date).
Applications can be individual or collective.

How to apply - Before 21 November 2019

The application folders must be uploaded onto the website of 16th Congress of the AFTES ( by 21 November 2019 at the latest.

Applications are made in 2 steps:

Online registration on the Congress website:

  • Name of the team (Mandatory)
  • Institution of the team (Optional) - for example Urban Planning School of Paris
  • Category (young professionals or students)
  • Person 1 (Mandatory) - Last name / first name / email
  • Person 2 (Optional) - Last name / first name / email
  • Person 3 (Optional) - Last name / first name / email
  • Person 4 (Optional) - Last name / first name / email
  • Person 5 (Optional) - Last name / first name / email
  • Person 6 (Optional) - Last name / first name / email

To upload onto the Congress website:

The documents below must be uploaded in PDF format.

  • Cover letter explaining the motivation and intention of the candidate or team presenting the site selected (if it is already identified) and the main elements of the project (a maximum of 2 pages)
  • References (CV of the candidate or candidates) - 1/2 pages maximum per person
  • A handwritten letter of commitment signed by all the members of the team, authorising the dissemination and reproduction of the submissions, by the AFTES (AFTES website and magazine). Letter to download here

Clik here to deposit your documents

Terms of final submission of the folder - by 21 June 2020 at the latest

Complete folder (written in French or in English) to be uploaded onto a dedicated platform

  • Folder of 5 to 10 pages maximum in A4 format (digital submission in pdf format) including text and visuals.
  • 1 text of 5,000 signs maximum (including spaces) in Word format + 2 to 4 images (HD) for the purpose of publication in the Tunnels and Underground Space journal (digital submission in pdf format).
  • 1 poster, A0 size in HD (digital submission if possible in pdf).

The platform dedicated to submission of the final folder will be communicated at a later date to candidates (by email). Note that for the teams who wish to submit different media, short videos (180 seconds maximum) may be added to the submission and possibly included in the poster (e-poster). This may not in any case replace the folder, the text and the poster.

Deadline: project submissions: 21 June 2020

Prizes and promotion

The competition The underground, a space of innovations of the AFTES has prize money of 6,000 euros.. The finalists will be invited to submit their proposals to the 16th AFTES Congress, which will be held from 21 to 23 September 2020, at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. The prize money will be divided among the three competition winners, 3,000 euros being awarded for the first prize, 2,000 euros for the second prize and 1,000 euros for the third.

The Tunnels et Espace Souterrain magazine (a peer-reviewed magazine) will publish a special feature devoted to the competition finalists, with an English translation by the magazine.

All of the entries will be published on the AFTES website.


The ideas competition jury of The underground, a space of innovations will be composed of well-known figures of the underground, architecture and urban planning fields including teachers and researchers. Mr Dominique Perrault will be its Honorary Chairman.

1Graduated for fewer than three years