International VELUX Award 2020

Procedure : OpenCategory : Student
Region I - Western Europe | Denmark

The VELUX Group has announced the global winners for the 2020 Edition of the International VELUX Award for students of architecture. This biennial competition, endorsed by the UIA since 2004, invites participants to explore daylight in one of 2 categories: Daylight in Buildings and Daylight Investigations.

The jury selected the winners from among the 10 regional winners chosen  at their first round meeting in July 2020. A total of 579 daylight projects were submitted by students from 250 schools of architecture in 60 countries. The final round of the competition, consisting of presentations by finalists to the jury, was postponed twice due to the pandemic.

For more information, visit the competition website.








Keywords : Daylight

Theme and objectives


“Light of Tomorrow” is the overall theme of the International VELUX Award. The award seeks to challenge the future of daylight in the built environment with an open-minded and experimental approach. Therefore, the award seeks to widen the boundaries of daylight in architecture, including aesthetics, functionality, sustainability, and the interaction between buildings and environment.

  1. Daylight in buildings

Projects that demonstrate applicable principles for providing daylight and sunlight into buildings – including the effects of building construction and context of the site, shape and dimensions, window openings, screens, shadings, interior divisions, materials and external conditions.

Specific focus on architecture for health and well-being and projects that address challenges faced by cities, communities and modern societies, and where daylight and architecture can help create change through better and healthier living environments.

  1. Daylight investigations

Projects that look at the physical properties of light, basics of optics and materials, as well as technological developments, new materials, storage or transportation of daylight.

The use of daylight in public space for functional, recreational, cultural or spiritual use and the effect of daylight on state of mind, health and well-being as well as the dynamics and temporal quality of daylight and its effects on behaviour and spaces over time and seasons.


The award is open to any registered student of architecture – individual or team – all over the world. We encourage multi-disciplinary teams including e.g. engineering, design and landscaping. Every student or student team must be backed and granted submission by a teacher from a school of architecture.

The award welcomes projects from individuals or groups of students, who are students during the study year 2021/22.

There is no limit to the number of entries from each school, but participating schools should ensure the quality of submitted study projects, e.g. by making a prejudgment. VELUX employees cannot participate.


Jury Members

UIA Representative Nóra Demeter (USA/Hungary)

Martin Pors Jepsen (Denmark)

Juri Troy (Austria)

Sebastián Adamo (Argentina)

Odile Decq (France)


Solar Desalination Skylight, a project by Henry Glogau from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Denmark), under the supervision of Professor David Garcia, was selected winner in the Daylight in Buildings category.

This project provides a “holistic approach to providing Chile’s informal coastal settlements with water, light and energy” using solar energy and seawater to create a solar desalination skylight, which emits natural diffused light to produce drinking water and uses leftover salt brine for energy creation.  “The jury was impressed by the proposed solution to an important societal issue,” according to Nóra Demeter, jury chair.

The Theatre of Light, a project by Polish team of Julia GiżewskaDominik Kowalski and Paweł Białas from the Silesian University of Technology (Poland), under the supervision of Professor Jerzy Wojewódka, was declared winner in the Daylight Investigations category.

The project, set in Poland’s Izera Dark Sky Park, one of the last darkest places in Europe, addresses the problem of artificial light pollution and the disruption of the diurnal cycle for humans, animals, and plants.  The students sought to create a circular theatre of light over a kilometre of land, symbolising cyclicality: earth, sky and eternal connection.

The jury admired the elegance, coherence and sensitivity of the project’s ‘dialogue’ between natural light and nature and addressed the modern problem of not experiencing the dark night sky. The project demonstrated convincingly that “big architecture” isn’t necessary to make a clear architectural statement. “This project informed us about the value of our proximity to nature, which resonated strongly with us,” according to jury member Martin Pors Jepsen.


The total prize money is up to 30,000 €. Depending on the results of the international jury, a Grand Prize of 5,000 € per category will be awarded (4,000 € to the student and 1,000 € to the teacher) for the most outstanding projects. Depending on the results for each region, a prize of 1,250 € per category will be awarded for the best projects (1,000 € to the student and 250 € to the teacher). The jury will be allowed to award a number of special prizes, including prizes for innovative use of VELUX products.