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Build It: Recyclable Design Competition



The Build It: Recyclable Design Competition is a prompt-based contest for anyone in grades K-12. Using recyclable materials follow the provided themes to make fantastic creations and submit them for real architects and artists to review.

Three prizes will be awarded for participants in each category: grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

In partnership with the Alexandria Library, American Institute of Architects Northern Virginia Chapter, and the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Pick one or more prompts and submit a design:

1. Design a kinetic component (something that moves)
2. Design using an unconventional building material
3. Design a part inspired by a famous artwork
4. Design a space that is compatible for both humans and animals
5. Design a space with the perfect reading area




Categories for middle and high school:

  • 1st place - Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • 2nd place - Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • 3rd place - Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • 1st place - Middle School (grades 6-8)
  • 2nd place - Middle School (grades 6-8)
  • 3rd place - Middle School (grades 6-8)
  • 1st place - High School (grades 9-12)
  • 2nd place - High School (grades 9-12)
  • 3rd place - High School (grades 9-12)

Alexandria Library will distribute prizes in each category.

  • 1st Prize - TBA
  • 2nd Prize - TBA
  • 3rd Prize - TBA

Each participant will receive a certificate of award, merit or participation.




1) All entries must be by students in elementary, middle or high school (grades K-12).

2) All work submitted must be original work.

3) One entry per student.

4) Entrants must be a resident of Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia.

5) Only 2D (two-dimensional) digital works or a digital image of a 3D work is accepted. We cannot accept physical items. Please attach the digital file of your entry in the form below.

6) All entries must be received by Alexandria Library by 11:59PM on Monday, April 26, 2021.

7) All entrants will be notified of the contest results by May 6, 2021 at the virtual award ceremony followed by an email notification.

8) For questions, please email




Not quite sure what to write about?  Need some extra help when it comes to creating art?  Check out these resources from the library:

Britannica Online Library Edition
An easy to use, online learning resource for children and adults.

Elementary (Kids Infobits)
Covers geography, current events, the arts, science, health, people, government, history and sports! (K-5)

Fine Arts and Music
Extensive resource for serious students of drama, music, art history, and filmmaking.

High School Edition
Offers information on current events, the arts, science, popular culture, health, people, government, history, sports, and more. (Grades 9-12)

Pop Culture
Useful resources that both analyze and contribute to popular culture.

Architecture Books
Books and eBooks

Art Books
Books and eBooks





Last udpated: March 2021