One Drawing Challenge: 100 Drawings That Tell Powerful Stories About Architecture

Architizer is thrilled to reveal the 100 finalists for the 2020 One Drawing Challenge!

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

The wait is finally over — Architizer is thrilled to reveal the 100 Finalists for the 2020 One Drawing Challenge, architecture’s biggest drawing competition! Below, you’ll find every amazing drawing that made the Top 100, each of which remains in the running for 2 Grand Prizes of $2,500 and a range of professional drawing tools.

The judging process is officially underway, with our stellar line up of expert jurors reviewing each drawing in minute detail. They will be judging the drawings based on the competition criteria to come up with their top drawings. The jurors’ rankings will be converted into scores, which will then give us our two Top Winners and 10 Runners-up.

Without further ado, explore the 100 Finalists below (published across 4 posts and in no particular order), and tell us which is your favorite on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #OneDrawingChallenge! Below, “Part 1” presents the first 25 drawings — you can jump to part 2, 3 and 4 using these buttons:

Part 2     Part 3     Part 4


“The Warehouse of Unfinished Ideas” by Graham Kelman

“The nature of the creative process consists of a chain of smaller ideas, tangents, and design iterations. These concepts are essential stepping stones leading to the final output. Some might argue, they are meaningful works in their own right.I often imagine unfinished architectural ideas archived within a vast warehouse as a collection of physical prototypes and miniature models. They loom in their various scales and unfinished states, waiting for the opportunity to be applied to future projects.

These fragments are studied, reflected upon, and referenced. They exist prior to a project’s impetus, and remain long past it’s completion.Will these undeveloped ideas lie dormant for eternity, or will they one day have the ability to be deployed to their full potential? Do they truly matter if they are unseen or unfinished? For now they wait, eternally housed within the warehouse of the mind.”


“Mind Palace” by Mylan Thuroczy, Manchester School of Architecture

“My drawing shows architecture as existing in the mind, being the experience and memory of an individual living in the digital age.

Today, through the internet we are exposed to many imaginary worlds and architecture is highly visual. Our surroundings and the digital space we inhabit blend into each other. Through images we are exposed to extraordinary buildings from all around the world, however, find ourselves living our lives hardly noticing our close environment. There is also no common agenda on what is good architecture, it is an infinite scroll of endless possibilities.

The image reflects the visual nature of the field and would like to encourage to experience architecture involving more senses. It also proposes that to design we first have to make sense of all the information available and construct a ’Mind Palace’ which is worth to build from and build upon.”


Hacking Robin Hood Garden” by Ryan Wai Yin Tung, Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL)

““Hacking RHG” is a testbed showing how gaming can be used as a methodology to explore a different way that residents can engage with architecture. By playing against the rules, the algorithm of the game is turned into a planning system, capable of evaluating the best strategy of the collective bottom-up approach.

Under the strict building and maintenance rules of social housing in London, a lot of brutalist housing prototypes in London is being demolished so as to create more housing stock such as the Robin Hood Gardens. The approach translates design principles into a board game to reimagine, repurpose and reconfigure spaces and materials found on-site. Besides, it also incorporates a variety of building rules, new add ons, informal programs, and a new circulation system to reactive the lost dream “street in the sky” for Robin Hood Gardens.”


“Tech Company HQ” by Mariano Recalde, SHoP Architects

“Created for a competition for the design of a tech company’s new headquarters, this drawing depicts a central, semi-public space/atrium, where ideas can be exchanged within the company and with the public. Inspired by a modern interpretation of a science fair, the design incorporates aspects of biophilia and sustainability.

The drawing incorporates elements of fantasy, where robots walk among us and interact with humans in a workplace environment (or simply apply condiments to our lunch!). It illustrates the workplace of the future in a whimsical yet practical way, envisioning an adaptable space for working, interacting, and creating.”


“Secret Gardens” by Carol Hsiung, fxcollaborative

“As living with pandemics becomes the new normal, urban residents accept the need to enclose themselves into communal quarantine bubbles. New architectural growth is directed inward with city blocks reimagined into secure, self-contained communities. These new communities provide a comprehensive array of well-monitored, shared amenities while contact with the outside world is limited to virtual meetings and drone deliveries.

Architecture becomes alive with Nature. Wandering branches and creeping vines soften the concrete and steel lines of the urban landscape. The sound of water in gardens can be heard within buildings and from inner courtyards. Urban homes open to balconies bursting with vegetation that integrate into the architecture. Nature is treated with newfound respect, providing health, comfort, and joy. The idea of Biophilia – the love of nature – has bonded people together treasuring their ‘secret gardens’.”


Rotating City by Paweł Floryn, Major Architekci

“Two districts of a fictitious city are separated by a wall. The ecological enclave is surrounded by an industrial cityscape. But the walls are turning. It is not decided yet what the future will look like.”


Liberty Landfill Plaza” by James Wines, SITE New York Professor emeritus at Penn State University

“This work, entitled ‘Liberty Landfill Plaza’, shows the graphic section of a hypothetical commercial development proposal for Lower Manhattan. The landfill required to construct this project envelopes the Statue of Liberty; but. allows her torch to remain above ground as the centerpiece sculpture of a new public space. The drawing is also a special commentary on the Trump era’s impact on American culture and environment.”


“Here Everywhere” by Hans Villamayor

“The 2020 pandemic has shifted the paradigm of living. Quarantines and lockdowns physically limit people to the confines of their homes. Historically, patients requiring extended-care have experienced delirium, causing short attention-span, incoherence, poor orientation and cognition. Extended quarantine has led to a similar kind of lifestyle imbalance. Here Everywhere illustrates the delirious experiences of disturbed places at the height of lockdown.

Such unease can be teased with many (paradoxically relevant) cognitive dissonances:

social / distant
cozy / claustrophobic
isolated / connected
privacy / publicity

In the midst of “these strange times,” these paradoxes blur distinctions and dimensions, imbuing architecture (spaces, surfaces, objects) with a multiplicity of meanings:

The bed is
the couch is
the table is
the desk is
the counter is
the floor is….

When there is no place to go but everything to do, everywhere is here.
When everything is available but only from home, here is everywhere.”


Utopia” by Peter Wheatcroft, 10 Design

“Utopia’ depicts a dystopian urbanscape where citizens live and work in large scale steel and concrete mega structures.

The drawing is designed to be explored, enticing the viewer to spend time scanning the detail as they imagine themselves walking around the densely packed industrial city scape.

Drawn using drawing board and rotring pen.


“POENAPOLIS: A DYSTOPIAN PATH TOWARDS REDEMPTION” by Santiago Unda Venegas and Sergio Bellucci, Universidad de los Andes

“After witnessing nature manifesting and taking over cities during the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine, humanity has finally realized the impact we have had over the world’s ecosystems and territories.

Through an international agreement, the human race has decided to live underground in order to try and stop the Antrhopocene’s footprint on the surface of the Earth. The agreement states that every major city in the world must reside beneath the ground for 200 years while the surface recovers from centuries of human impact. Now, the city is an abandoned place and humanity lies below it’s ruins.

This is the “punishment” we have accepted. This is how humanity redeems itself. Will we make it? Will we want to go back to the surface? Maybe we will be eager to inhabit the surface once again. Maybe humanity will forget about the the old city and live in this new underground system for centuries.”


“Break and Float” by Michael Turner

“Contemporary architecture is built not from need but from want, a want to to distract ourselves from mundane daily routines. The architecture depicted is one that repudiates labor and consumption. Time is transformed into games that reward throwing office equipment into holes or pools. The equipment is chosen by a specialist able to identify a visitor’s exact needs.

Afterward, one can simply float oblivious in miles of lazy river and enjoy a cocktail. It is an architecture that encourages patrons to stay and explore the grounds. Programmatically, types of events are geographically spaced to provide the maximum number of activities at any given time. It is a place that cognitively reverts us back to before there was worry of social presentation or hierarchical climbing. It is a place where ritual sheds us of worldly concerns.”


“A story in my mind” by Sebastián Camacho, Martinez arquitectura

“Architecture is a human and historical event, evolution over the time is always linked between these two, depending on the time architecture adapts and manages to adjust these changes. Each design and built work tells us a unique story, either because of its experience building it or living in there.

All this makes me think that every day that there are new works, exciting experiences are born, which must be appreciated to remember them forever and this will reflect majestic buildings in the world.

Let’s enjoy architecture, walk through it and live experiences within it.”


“ELLITANIUM city” by Hosein Mosavi, LMIMOS studio

“What will be the human response to uninhabitable and remote areas due to the growing population and lack of space in densely populated cities in the future? What measures will be taken to maintain survival in other areas? Predicting an example of a suspended biomarker with mobility in the earth’s pits. Pits and crevices created by massive earthquakes or meteorite impacts in the heart of the planet. A vertical structural formation like the planet.

This biological habitat consists of a set of residential capsules that are controlled by the management headquarters. The spherical volumes, which are the control hub and the center of energy, provide the biological units’ suspension by generating electromagnetic waves..The ability to connect units and form a more massive colony is another feature of these suspended units a different definition of being in collective spaces between suspended buildings using future knowledge and technology.”


“The Built Pension” by Yehan Zheng, Architect

“The Built Pension is a radical model of a retirement-village that empowers autonomous urban retirees in crafting their very own personalized retirement through a considered spatial methodology.

Instead of defaulting to an inexplicable focus on leisure as the only means of retirement, urban retirees are free to position themselves on a spectrum that best represents their individual dispositions, thereby allowing them to oscillate between the two strands of leisure and profession. This new mode of progressive retirement references the emerging gig economy as the starting basis for a kit-of-parts approach towards employment and re-employment.

To this end, industrial and retired communities sited in Leyton collaborate on a series of retrofitted addendums on the rooftops of existing single-story masonry warehouses. The concept of the split level is further employed as a central mechanism to negotiate spatial and programmatic datums between the two communities, enacted in a progressive, open-ended fashion.”


The C.R.O.M.E.T by Mark Trance, HKS Inc.

“Imagine the Year 2050 – 165 miles east of Texas. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and N.A.S.A. built its first facility on a 35-acre lot in Lake Caddo called the C.R.O.M.E.T (Center for Research in Outer space Metallurgical Exploration Technology). After SpaceX triumph in 2020, the succeeding years of human exploration of space became a race to all parts of the solar system.

With each interplanetary mission, the bureau aimed to discover locally sourced building metals for further study. Space geologist collects all sort of specimens to bring back to earth and bring them in the C.R.O.M.E.T. These catalytic elements are then studied, tested, and harnessed by A.I. through a series combination with local metals aiming to produce new forms of alloys that will yield highly efficient and ultra-strong properties against planetary climate conditions.”


Zoo³ by Jimmy Hung, Ryerson University

“Zoo³ is a pandemic zoo of the future. Animals have always been caged to prevent the harming of humans. With the current and future virus driven climate, people are more likely to pass on contagious disease-causing fatality to animals and other humans. Architecture must be used as a means of protecting animals from humans in the future.

The proposal will be situated on the waterfront of Toronto, harvesting energy from the lake to offset the energy consumption as each hourglass structure houses a different climatic habitat. Water is pumped to an irrigation and pond system that flows back into the aquarium creating a large aquaponic system. The architecture provides a more expansive environment for the animals to roam throughout a spiral structure. carnivores and herbivores/omnivores will be separated by the viewing path. The viewers have two opportunities to view the animals at the same ground plane as well as above.”


“Along the Canals” by Jenny Jackson

“This drawing was inspired by envisioning a future where nature is allowed to run its course with limited human interference. A great olive tree wraps around the central column anchoring the viewer’s eye before venturing off to the many details of the canal buildings, hot-air balloons and arched St. Peter’s Basilica-inspired roof.

This is no dystopian society; this is a society bolstered by its love of the archaic, as seen in the neoclassical, Baroque and Renaissance influences. This place would be inhabited by adventurers of nostalgia daydreaming of bygone eras, of things un-lived in a world focused on technology.

There is a need in today’s modern world for clean, sterile lines dismissing nature’s organic shape and form so I took a different approach; art and architecture are combined to display that nature and the built environment can co-exist peacefully. This proposal would be located anywhere roots can take hold.”


“Owls and Vultures” by Dennis Allain, Dennis Allain ADI

“This concept was based on a design for a bird aviary contained within an abandoned hanger. We do not know how the door was left open. The explorer is also left to question why such a large cage was constructed in the first place. The detail in construction gives us a sense of purpose and the sheer scale of the vaulted ceiling provides the viewer scale. However the full meaning is mysterious and the secrets the cage once held are left up to the witnesses interpretation.”


“Tower of Tangier’s” by Ian Jones, University of Nebraska Lincoln

“Stranded. Left behind. Forgotten.

The survivors of Tangier’s Island have been deserted by the world, left to their own devices. Rising sea water continues to claim the island; its tides washing away the memories it once held.

Citizens-turned-scavengers stack on top of one another, climbing higher and higher, desperate for fresh air. Below, the waters of the Chesapeake grow fiercer and colder as the planet continues to melt.

Implementing an ad-hoc approach to living, the scavengers use the ruins of their past to piece together the unstable grounds of their future. A living, breathing piece of propaganda, their reality exists to fuel the debate over the devastating effects of climate change.

The Tower of Tangier’s is selectively sliced open to illustrate both the unique interior and exterior conditions on the island, stitched together through the method of composite image-making.

How long do they have?

When will it all collapse?”


“Winter sunset” by Misha Ponomarenko, EDSA,inc.

“A suspended mountain, supported by the city around it, was hovering over the flat lands in the eastern Ukraine. It was a sunny cold winter day. Aspiring photographer Alesha decided to go out to take sunset pictures of the city he loved so much. It took him quite a while to leave his apartment on platform 2 and get far enough so he could capture the whole mountain and all rings of the human settlement. What he saw was the place of opposition. Regular vs irregular, man-made vs nature-made, horizontal vs vertical and so on. And it was quite windy on the upper platform too!

Architecture, engineering and quantum physics all together helped to rephrase the famous English idiom “If Mahomet will not come to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mahomet” which became the motto of the city.”


“Concrete Atla(nti)s” by Hannah Christy and Craig Findlay, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Representing our capacity to maintain archaic infrastructure in an overwhelming environment overflowing with waste, occupied by a population complacent to unrest, this drawing is as complex as the topics it alludes to. It is set in one of the 72 decommissioned Atlas-F missile silos scattered across the United States. This drawing critiques the haphazard mismanagement of reusable commodities of varying scales ranging from abandoned infrastructure to recyclable materials.

Through the convention of a section, this drawing shows the activities in the depth of the repurposed missile silo. Figures sourced from The Age of Enlightenment depict radicals productively recycling materials into a built environment erecting towards the sky. Facilitated by the cold war era framework, the occupants build upon their neighbor’s successes allowing an innate desire for vertical growth to materialize.”


“Sailing in the sea of uncertainty of a pandemic” by Daniel Laredo, SMA

“My drawing is the story of how has been working at home office with the COVID situation. The buildings represent a home and a boat, and they are upside down beacuse the pandemic situation has the entire world upside down. In each house lives a family and a member of the office where i collaborate. Each house/boat is sailing in the sea of uncertainty but all of us are going in the same direction as a team that keeps together no matter how hard the situation is. We sail together through uncertainty.

The technique i used for my illustration is a combination of a hand drawing edited in Ps.”


The Metamorphosis of 401 North Wabash by Gregory Klosowski, Pappageorge Haymes Partners

“This series of conceptual sketches, dubbed “The Metamorphosis of 401 North Wabash”, contemplates a future where the last physical manifestations of a collapsed dynasty is reimagined by designers, fabricators, and artists, implementing autonomous equipment to strip the massing down to its skeletal remains, then reinforced, weatherproofed, and then organically overcome by an upward wave of idiosyncratic housing and vertical public spaces.

Ultimately, this is simply about how this new assemblage is clad in layers of wind diffusing materials, sculpted with flowing forms, referencing the serene nature of kites and streamers, sheer panels rippling in the wind, and ultimately images of “Angel Wing” counter protestors, concealing darkness with light forms. The markings of the spent brand, literally carried away down the streets along with the previous cladding, raw materials stripped free for distribution and reuse in neighborhoods most in need, leaving a billowing, glowing, and dynamic landmark in its spot.”


HIGH- RISE TOPOLOGY. Infrastructure for energy creation” by Daniel Garzon, Universidad de los Andes

“Is there a way to reconcile human activity and nature? How can we rethink the way cities work in order to chase development but also biodiversity? In a planet where cities and industries are expanding rapidly, decimating crucial ecosytems for ecological balance, humanity develops High-Rise Topology buildings as vertical machines that bind human industry and ecosystems as one natural and cyclical system.

With the urgency of thinking the new buildings as a way of bringing ecosystems to the cities, and not the cities to the ecosystems, these buildings are based on vertical reservoirs that, aside from expanding the public space to the sky, they serve as collectors of water and energy that feed an energetic core in charge of recycling and processing industrial waste.

Around the core, some programmatic volumes are attached, creating an environment of practical education, where people learn by sight and by getting involved in these processes.”


EU-topia by Tyler Thurston, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

“Climate change and other existential threats have exposed the fragility of the European Union’s strength in unity. Might children be the more imaginative champion of their own future to recalibrate the core aims and values of the EU? Could spatial engagements with nature enable them to be self-directive, and be authors of their own learning?
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The project places children in the driving seat of the EU in order to address the global water crisis. The drawing is of the arrival scene at ‘EU-topia’; a sustainable enterprise located in Crete, the birthplace of Europe. The hand-drawn perspective examines the thresholds between ideology and pragmatism when dealing with nature, landscape and weather and the children’s architectural responses utilise up-cycled loose parts as an encyclopaedia of the their ideas. The drawing captures the untainted speculations of childhood to cultivate symbiosis between nature and built forms to bring freshwater to the world.”

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