The Legendary Highway 14 Tower Design Competition invites individuals and teams to De Smet, South Dakota, to showcase their creativity and skills in architecture and design. Here’s an opportunity to leave a mark in the rich tapestry of this region.

Participants will focus on designing an observation tower and landscape features that not only fit the natural and historical context of the area but also elevate the visitor experience. The site, positioned at the north edge of the Big Slough transitioning to Silver Lake, serves as an inspiration canvas for innovation.

The core objectives are clear: focus on the user experience, ensure accessibility and safety, uphold sustainability, and aim to boost local and regional tourism. Every design should not just exist in the space but should enhance and complement the natural and historical essence of the area.

The Legendary 
Highway 14 Tower
Official partner
The Legendary 
Highway 14 Tower

Joining this competition means contributing to the Legendary Highway 14 Tower Trail project. It’s more than a contest; it’s a chance to be part of a community and regional development. The winning design is expected to be a blend of aesthetic appeal and functional innovation, and there’s potential for the design to be brought to life, changing the landscape of South Dakota.

Download full competition brief for more information!


Competition is open to all. No professional qualification is required. Design proposals can be developed individually or by teams (4 team members maximum). Correspondence with organizers must be conducted in English; All information submitted by participants must be in English.

The full competition brief

The full competition brief can be downloaded as often as required; no additional information will be provided after registration.




10,000 € + Potential to be realised


5,000 €


2,500 €


1,000 €


1,000 €

(more details)

+ 50 € ARCHHIVE BOOKS Gift Card  + 50 Points BUILDNER Architecture University Rankings 

500 €

(more details)

6 Honourable mentions & certificates

Buildner will acknowledge the outstanding performance of all winners and honourable mentions with Certificates of Achievement.

Publicity campaign

The Buildner’s extensive global publicity campaign for the competition winners:


Results published on - one of the leading websites in the industry and is visited by over one million unique visitors each year.

"SEEN BY" 800 000 MORE

Publications on Buildner's social networks (over 600,000 followers) and newsletter campaigns (over 200,000 subscribers).


Exclusive interview published with the results and shared on Buildner's social networks.


The competition winners will be granted an opportunity to submit a movie about themselves. The video will be published on Buildner's website and social networks.


The competition results will get international art and design media coverage and will be featured in the world’s leading architecture media outlets.

Key dates

Send reminders


Jury members shall under no circumstances be contacted by competition participants or their representatives. Participants who attempt to contact jury members, shall be disqualified.

All jury members are involved in the evaluation based on their availability at that time. All communication regarding the competition should only be carried out with Buildner staff. For any questions please contact us on [email protected]   

Nina Aalbers

Cofounder at Architectuur MAKEN


Xuanru Chen

architect at ZJJZ Atelier


Tue Foged

Founding Partner at EFFEKT


Anne Cecilie Haug

Senior Architect, Snøhetta


Euan Millar

Cofounder at Icosis Architects


Rok Oman

OFIS Architects


Tom Schroeder

Patkau Architects


Jan Vondrák

Cofounder at Mjölk


Kyle Lee

Kingsbury County Commissioner


Each observation platform should have a floor space between 8 to 12 square meters. While the maximum square meterage for individual platforms is specified, the overall tower coverage would be dependent on the number of platforms and the design. Ensure the design meets the safety and accessibility guidelines while optimizing the viewing experience.
No ticket office is specifically required. However, consider designs that intuitively help in managing visitor flow, keeping in mind the stipulated visitor capacity.
Insulation is not explicitly required. The design should, however, provide protection against wind and direct exposure to rain or snow. Safety considerations, especially under extreme weather conditions, should be paramount. Consideration should be given to materials, ventilation, and other design elements to protect visitors from both hot and cold conditions.
While the provided DWG plan offers a foundational understanding of the site, participants are free to build upon this information. Proposing your own enhanced site plan is acceptable as long as it is grounded in the realities of the site and enhances the overall design proposal.
There is no specific indication given about the use of local materials in the provided details. However, using local materials, such as regional wood species or other resources, can be advantageous for sustainability, cost, and blending the structure into the local environment. Research into local resources and their incorporation would likely be viewed favorably.
Participants can assume the site as a flatland for the purpose of their designs. Any specific nuances related to landscaping can be inferred from the provided topographic data, but for the design's purpose, a flatland assumption is permissible.
Click on "register now", fill in all the required fields, choose your payment method and submit your information. You will be forwarded to Paypal or CPS secure payment gateway, to cover the competition fee. Once we receive your payment, we'll send you an email with your username and password to upload your submission directly to the website.
You can add/remove/edit team member information as often as you want in the upload panel, up until the submission deadline.
Yes we are in the process of negotiating with multiple international industry-related media representatives. The list of media partners is constantly updated on our website, please check it regularly to find latest updates.
Yes. If the jury panel selects a Student award's submission for the top 3, it will automatically be awarded both prizes.
Yes. If the jury panel selects a Sustainability award's submission for the top 3, it will automatically be awarded both prizes.
No. Competition entries are evaluated anonymously. The participant registration type is only revealed upon the announcement of the results.
Please contact us – [email protected] and we will address the problem directly.
The short answer is yes, you may submit a previously published design concept as long as you are the author. Before re-submitting your project, please carefully read the following clarification points listed here -
As AI-generated images may be based on pre-existing work or generated using proprietary algorithms, it is best to check the specific terms and conditions of the AI tool used to generate the image to determine its ownership status. It may also be necessary to seek legal advice to fully understand the ownership rights and any restrictions that may apply. In general, it is not recommended to consider AI-generated images as your sole work or intellectual property unless you have obtained explicit permission to do so.