The Annual Architectural Design Competition for High School Students


52nd Annual AFSF High School Design Competition

The Architectural Foundation of San Francisco’s announces the 52nd Annual AFSF High School Design Competition. All High School students in both public and private schools in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and globally are encouraged to participate. This year’s 2021 competition is sponsored by Forge Development Partners.

This year students are challenged to design a public waterfront “playground” at South Beach Piers 38-40 along San Francisco’s Embarcadero. As part of the Port of San Francisco’s Historic Rehabilitation Program, this part building, part park design intervention will service the greater community in an effort to establish an adaptive reuse of the piers and to introduce publicly-oriented mixed uses.

This year’s competition will have an online submission process. There are three ways in which participants may choose to enter the competition: as an Individual Entry participant, as a Group Entry participant or as a Design Process Entry participant. Design Process category entrants may choose to enter as either an individual or as a group. All deliverables (drawings, model, and design description) must be captured in a Google Slide deck for presentation. To better explain the participants thinking to the judges, we are also requiring the submission a brief video describing the project (no more than 2 minutes maximum). This as an opportunity to talk about the overall goals and aspirations for the design, the design process, and what the entrant enjoyed most about undertaking this challenge.


Enclosed is a copy of this year’s program, and we ask that you duplicate and distribute as needed. Teachers, please note that this PDF includes live links to the resources listed throughout the document as well as to the email contacts listed prior so it is to your students’ advantage to distribute a soft copy to them. There is a lot of linked material in there that could really benefit the students if they click through. 


Final entries must be submitted on FRIDAY, May 21st at 6:00pm PST.  The awards presentation reception will take place on SUNDAY, May 23rd. Details for a virtual Awards Ceremony will be communicated to all when we get closer to the date and will be posted on AFSF’s website. 


Please e-mail me at so I will have your e-mail address to send you program updates.


This year we are awarding prizes in 3 categories: 1) Best Design (single entrant), 2) Best Group entry, and 3) Best Digital entry.   Please note that depending on which option your students choose to enter, they will only be eligible for certain awards.  In addition to the standard prizes, the first place winner in the overall superiority category will receive a four week Summer Pre-college Scholarship at the California College of the Arts.  


Ryan Lee of Wood Bagot is this year’s Competition Chair and Author. He will be available to virtually visit classrooms and discuss the program with students. You may call him directly at 415-277-3041 or e-mail him at to set up a classroom visit. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Ryan.


Thank you in advance for your continued interest and support of this program.