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rise Up - be part of the solution for Africa's housing crisis

Sponsors are cheering on their student/architect teams working to find low-cost, sustainable housing solutions - but there are still teams that need sponsorship. Join those who are already reaping the rewards of the partnerships!

November 28, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: As in 2017, is, once again, delighted to serve as a media partner for rise in the city 2018. Click here to review some of the spectacular art created and donated by architects, designers, artists, and sponsors from around the world, and auctioned as part of rise in the city 2017.



The international student architecture competition rise in the city 2018, organized by rise international (Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise), BOND Events’ social responsibility program, is gathering momentum around the globe as an unprecedented number of applicants from 39 countries have sought to take part.


Sponsors who have already signed on are realizing the true value of the exceptional networking opportunity and kudos this competition brings. Adding to their satisfaction is knowing that 100% of their tax-deductible sponsorship fee of $1,200 will go towards rise’s design-build training program for unemployed youths in Lesotho, Southern Africa.


All 100 available student openings have been filled and paired with top-notch architect/mentors, each working together in a bid to find low-cost, sustainable solutions to Africa’s housing crisis. Sponsorships for the student/architect teams are selling fast, but more are needed – by December 15, 2018. Click here for details about how to participate.  


It is hoped there will be enough funds raised to work with the local government to build and exhibit prototypes of the winning designs. The goal is to inspire the local population to build more of their own homes from sustainable, locally sourced, and affordable materials.


 Those who have registered their sponsorships are already reaping the rewards of the partnership. Mike Granatowski, Director of Architectural & Commercial Projects, MAPEI, which is sponsoring several student/architect teams, says: “As a sponsor, we have a unique and valuable opportunity to meet with the architectural firms that we select in an informal setting. This allows us to introduce ourselves and our products and services. In turn, we learn about the firms’ needs and the services that they supply. This year, we’ve gotten so much out of our two rise in the city sponsorships that we’re sponsoring a third team.”


“There are many worthy causes, but a precious few are as intimate and immediate as rise, directly benefitting the people of Lesotho,” says rise sponsor Richard J. Ruppert, Manager, Architectural Services, dormakaba USA Inc. “The building design community continually pursues positive social change, and here it is more than just money or words. The rise in the city competition is genius in that it brings together world-leading companies, architects, and students (oft times from Lesotho itself) with a truly vested interest to focus on a key project or need. The result is not just a simple business transaction. It is a bonded relationship that pays dividends as a sustainable future for the entire Lesotho community.”


Education, self-sufficiency, and care of community are core to the values of rise, which rings true for the A/E/C community, as well. Affordable housing is a challenge all over the world. Jeffrey Job, Sr. Specifier Services Representative, Insulation Systems at Johns Manville, realizes this, and was keen to support rise in the city as a way to “encourage creative, localized solutions to the housing challenges present in Lesotho.” He adds: “Having a safe place you can go home to at the end of the day is important for a person’s physical and psychological wellbeing.” Johns Manville is sponsoring a city block occupied by SOM and Iranian-born student competitor Hossein Goudarzi, a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, USA. “The team at SOM has been very receptive and engaging!” Job says. “They were kind enough to host us at their office in New York City, and provided a tour of their North Tower project at Hudson Yards. It was a fun experience that was a far cry from the typical architect/BPM encounter.”


The world-class jury includes Peter Rich, FAIA, IntFRIBA, PRich Style & Design, Johannesburg; Mariam Kamara, atelier masōmī and united4design, Niger; and Sam Óghale Oboh, FAIA, FRAIC, AECOM Canada Architects Ltd., Edmonton.



Daniela Gusman teamed up with Oliver Needs, president of BOND Events, to found rise in 2016. BOND’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program underwrites rise’s operational costs so that rise can be a self-funding organization. rise is a not-for-profit working towards a world where sustainable social enterprises created by local entrepreneurs from low-income countries are the norm.


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For further information, contact:

Daniela Gusman

rise Founder and Executive Director

+1 954 296 9889 /




(click on pictures to enlarge)

OER Africa (Open Educational Resources)

Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, in Southern Africa

rise International

Maseru, Lesotho