Glass doors with KU Institute of Health + Wellness Design logo in white decals on it.

Using AI to Design Healthy Spaces

Design competition open to ArcD students in any program.

Cash prizes for top three projects
Submissions due January 24, 2024

Submit Work

The topic of the 2024 Health & Wellness Symposium will be “Artificial Intelligence and the Design of Healthy Environments.”

To start the conversation about this topic before the symposium, the faculty of the KU Institute of Health & Wellness Design are sponsoring a student design competition to explore how AI technologies can be employed by students to enhance, accelerate, jump-start or otherwise alter their abilities to design and present ideas for a simple healthcare-focused problem. The goal of the competition is to generate a variety of ways students can learn and communicate with others about the application of AI in the design of a healthy environmental prototype. 

Competition Challenge

Design a space that can fit within an eight-foot cubed volume and be transported to a variety of sites on a college campus anywhere in the world. The project might be called the “Healthy Box.” The design should provide a place for students to go to enhance and improve their health and well-being for short periods of time. It could be a space to relax and refresh between classes, a place of solitude and quiet, a refuge from stress, an information source for healthcare services. Each competitor will be expected to define the nature of healthy spaces as well as presenting their design solutions by using AI tools. 

Competition Criteria

The jury will use four criteria (equally weighted) to evaluate all submissions:  
  • The degree to which the “Healthy Box” improves the health and well-being of college students.  
  • The ways the designer thought “outside the box” to define what “health” means to college students.  
  • How AI techniques and methods were used to define and present the design process and product.  
  • A self-critique by the designer on how well or poorly AI affected their ability to think creatively. 


Design Limitations

The “Healthy Box” can be singular and stand alone or it can be modular and expandable. It can be plugged into an external power grid or self-powered. It must use current and available materials and technologies. There is no budget, but the design must be environmentally sustainable and sensitive to the needs of all people. It should be able to be transported to any college in the world and positioned in place with a minimum of skilled labor. 

Focus on AI

The results of the competition will be presented during the 2024 Health & Wellness Symposium at the University of Kansas on February 19th. The keynote address will be given by Dean Phil Bernstein of the Yale University School of Architecture and focused on his latest book, Machine Learning: Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Students are encouraged to experiment with a variety of AI applications (text to text, text to image, image to image, image to text) to enhance their design abilities and to critique their experience using those programs. The fundamental question of the competition is “Can I use AI to better define and design healthy spaces for college students?” 


The top three entrants of the competition will be awarded cash prizes of $1,000, $500, and $300. 


The competition is open to any student in the School of Architecture & Design who is enrolled during the spring 2024 semester. Submissions may be individual or teams. There are no entry fees. Each student is limited to one competition entry. Entrants agree to allow their submissions to be displayed publicly during the symposium and by the KU Institute of Health & Wellness Design. 


December 1, 2023 Competition opens  

January 24, 2024 Competition submittals due at 5:00 PM CST  

February 19, 2024 Winners announced at symposium dinner 

Competition Submittal

Each entrant will present their design on four (4) high-resolution 11” x 17” landscape sheets in a single PDF file. The PDF file will be titled EntrantLastName,EntrantFirstName.AI2024. The entrant name(s) will not be identified on any of the PDF sheets.

The PDF submittal must be less than 25 MB in size and submitted to the following SharePoint link above using a email address


Mohammad Dastmalchi, KU Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture  

Kurt Hong, KU Assistant Professor of Architecture  

Eddy Tavio, KU Instructor in Architecture and Senior Associate at Populous  

Callum Vierthaler, KU Instructor in Architecture and Associate Principal at Pulse Design Group