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Comprehensive support packages put together in 2021 for the next generation of architects


Since it was founded in 2005, the non-profit Sto Foundation has primarily supported young people receiving vocational training and/or an academic education by funding a variety of projects. On the one hand, these projects are intended to provide more in-depth training in the relevant area.

On the other, they are meant to allow the supported individuals to see the big picture, i.e. gain valuable experiences that go beyond the classic content of traditional training or courses of education. The desire to further optimise the connection between "head" and "hand", and to better understand the other perspective of the joint construction task are always at the forefront of the projects.

Support according to the “research – teaching – practice” principle

Through its "summer school competition, and based on this principle, the Foundation has for many years supported excursions for students all over the world to carry out do-it-yourself projects. Interestingly, in spite of the current pandemic, the Foundation has already received a significant number of funding applications in this area over the past few months.

Since queries concerning the support for architectural research projects – and that for written reflections on those already implemented – had been received alongside funding applications for classic do-it-yourself projects, Prof. Ralf Pasel of TU Berlin, the Foundation’s new head of architecture, decided on a new, integrated competition format: “With our new, three-tiered DesignBuild competition focusing on projects, reflections and architectural research, we are able to showcase the entire spectrum of work within the faculties. The initial response has been extremely positive!”

“DesignBuild Project” and “DesignBuild Reflect” supplemented by “DesignBuild Research”

In spite of the current pandemic, the “DesignBuild Project” has allowed the funding of students’ do-it-yourself projects all over the world to remain an intrinsic component of the Sto Foundation’s support initiative. And justifiably so – the record number of submitted funding requests was evidence of an unexpectedly strong response to this year’s competition against the backdrop of the pandemic. On 12 April, the jury members selected a multitude of exciting projects from all over Europe and beyond (details at

During the course of the student-led do-it-yourself projects, the participants – both students and instructors – gain diverse and valuable experiences which are not only useful for themselves as individuals, but can also be crucially important for the planning of future DesignBuild projects. Therefore, the Sto Foundation decided to expand its repertoire with the exciting, trailblazing “DesignBuild Reflect” category.

Prof. Ralf Pasel: “Because of the restrictions imposed as a result of the spread of coronavirus, it is perhaps now the right time to reflect on the entire spectrum of the “DesignBuild” topic area and open it up to discussion. This includes the evaluation of exemplary projects and the discussion of theoretical/practical objectives as well as their achievement, such as theory-building or comparative project studies.”

This new category of the DesignBuild competition was also met with a glowingly positive response, and the jury subsequently recommended a number of promising contributions to be explored further. (For details, go to

The Sto Foundation is often receiving inquiries regarding the funding of research and training research projects from architecture faculties. As part of the DesignBuild competition, several applications were assigned projects pertaining to architectural research. In order to give this important category the recognition it deserves, the “DesignBuild Research” category was added to the DesignBuild competition for the first time.

Prof. Ralf Pasel: Primarily, young talents - particularly those from the ranks of the non-professional academic teaching staff - will be financially supported so that they can pursue their creative technical, design and process ideas. Because good ideas often require an initial spark, i.e. an impulse, in order to be developed, tested, modelled and built into prototypes. – It makes no difference whether the subject is rather academic basic research or aimed at developing new methods, models and technologies or specific applications. Regardless of whether the focus is on coming up with innovative design topics or specific constructive planning solutions or whether the research emphasises the optimisation of specific construction components, building types or building materials with regard to more sustainable life cycles”.

Online applications can be filed at The "DesignBuild Research" competition's application deadline is 31 May 2021.

A prestigious group of jurors will announce the winners in June. The respective funds will be made available immediately afterwards.

Overall, €250,000 have been set aside for this three-tiered DesignBuild competition.

Press release and images to download