The Guggenheim Helsinki design competition in 2014 is an example of a time-wasting dynamic, a huge amount of time, budget and resources iasspent on the competition of 1,715 entries – each with an average of 4 team members contributing to 1 month worth of work. Collectively, that would make up more than 600 hours of work per entry for a total of over €10,000 invested per entry. This amounts to over €18 million invested in total in unrecognized and unrealized projects. What if we could redirect these immense resources to act towards urgent urban challenges?

As an architectural TimeBank and Kickstarting Tool, Time For Impact is an online platform that promotes urgent challenges in the built environment that are in need of design expertise, spatial know-how and budget. The idea of the platform stemmed from the desire to reallocate time and resources that are spent on architecture competitions into a collaborative and effective effort. It is common practice for architecture offices to invest time and energy on international competitions by devoting a certain amount of their working hours to a specific project. The project is straightforward in its structure: on one side, professionals pledge their time; on the other side, design missions are collected.

Time for impact campaign spreading around the city. Urban action with the big banner in Piazza San Marco. Photo by Francesco Ceola

Time For Impact aims to bring together architects, creative practitioners and resources in order to collectively support socially relevant projects. Creative people from all over the world are invited to submit a project, pledge their time and knowledge to transform ideas into realization. An innovative program, a design issue, a conscious act of rewriting the great challenges that architecture has to actively take on today. Time For Impact has been initiated by a team made up of Italian and Dutch professionals including Itinerant Office, New Generations, Space&Matter, and is supported by the Creative Industries Funds NL and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Italy. The project, presented at the opening of the 15th Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, announced the need to define new possible paths for architects and their social role. Many professionals joined the cause, that announces a changing direction in the use of time in architectural design.



A local campaign took place around Venice to spread the word about the initiative, and to attempt to collect as many hours as possible from potential participants.

Balloons before ‘Time for Impact’ Opening Event on 26th May 2015, at Serra dei Giardini, Venice. Photograph by Jade Eleonoire©


Time For Impact is one of 7 projects that were financed by Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands titled ‘Sfide delle Città‘. Its objectives were announced during the vernissage of the 15th Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, on Thursday May 26th, in an open discussion at the Serra dei Giardini.

Presentation by Gianpiero Venturini. Photographs by Jade Eleonoire©

The official presentation of our initiative was paired with a public campaign to collect as many working hours as possible. The debate saw the participation of: Floris Alkemade (Dutch chief government architect and former partner at OMA), Ole Bouman (Founding Director of the Shekou Design Museum in Shenzhen), Beatrice Galilee (curator of architecture and design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City), Joseph Grima (founder at Space Caviar), Luca Molinari (architecture critic and curator), Rogier van den Berg (project leader of the Urban Planning and Design LAB at UN-Habitat) with Marco Brizzi (founder and director at Image and The Architecture Player) as moderator.


Following the launch of the open call at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016, the platform received a variety of projects from all over the world, addressing topics ranging from affordable housing, urban renewal proposals, smart and empowering design solutions to innovative educational models and cultural collaborations.

Breakfast Event on 26th May 2015, at Serra dei Giardini, Venice. Photograph by Jade Eleonoire©



 Working as an Architectural Time Bank and Kickstarting Tool, the OpenCall was launched, receiving more than 30 challenges. The platform collected different projects, proposals and key information from various different architects and specialists.

Time For Impact online platform portal

Left: Funding the Cooperative City, drawings by Eutropian: Daniela Patti (IT), Levente Polyak (HU), Right: Time for Impact Challenge, photo by Esteban Cadena

Left: ZO!City Online participatory urban dashboard by TransformCity, Right: SottaninRete by Esperimenti Architettonici



After the Biennale, a presentation of the results happened at a public event held at the Casa dell’Architettura in Rome. This event was an opportunity for the participants and other professionals to come together to collaborate, inspire and cooperate. Following series of presentations, selected experts and participants were interviewed.

Left: Presentation by Saskia Beer on Zo!City. Right: Presentation Casa dell’Architettura in Rome with Bas Arnst, Alfonso Giancotti and Gianpiero Venturini. Photographs by Rosamaria Faralli©

You can watch these interviews here

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