Frequently Asked Questions

Download a PDF with detailed
submission instructions.


General Questions about the competition

Q: How do I enter?
A: Complete the submission form and enter all required information indicated with an asterisk below (unmarked items are optional). All images and text submitted as part of the entry may be used for marketing and promotional purposes and will not be returned. Entries must be submitted during the submission period (June 8–August 23, 2009) to be considered.

  • Google 3D Warehouse model URL*
  • Shelter title*
  • Your name*
  • Your e-mail*
  • City where you reside*
  • Age* (Entrants must be 13 years or older as of June 8, 2009)
  • Country where you reside*
  • Shelter description* (No more than 70 words)
  • Country where your shelter is located*
  • Image of your shelter*
  • 2nd image of your shelter
  • 3rd image of your shelter
  • 4th image of your shelter
  • YouTube video URL

All entries must be in English. You must read and accept the official rules prior to submitting your form.

Q: Why doesn't my shelter appear on the Guggenheim website after I submit it?
A: It may take up to 72 hours for your shelter to appear on the Guggenheim website. You will receive an e-mail notification on whether your submission has been accepted or rejected if it does not meet competition specifications.

Q: How does the judging work?
A. There are two competition prizes: a Juried Prize and a People’s Prize. Qualified entrants are eligible to win only one prize, either the Juried Prize or the People’s Prize.

For the Juried Prize, a panel of independent experts will select a Juried Prize winner from all qualified entries.

For the People's Prize, a panel of students currently enrolled at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture will select ten finalists from all qualified entries. The People’s Prize winner will then be selected from this pool of finalists by public vote via the competition website. Voting will be open from 9:00 am EST September 7, 2009 through 11 pm EST on October 10, 2009. Visit the Jury and Prizes page for more information.

Q: What are the judges looking for?
A. Qualified entries will be judged on a variety of qualities, including:

  • The relationship of the shelter to the built or natural environment around it. How does the architecture of your shelter relate to physical location you have chosen for it? How is your shelter placed on the site? In what ways does your shelter take into account the site’s weather?
  • Innovative design. How does your shelter organize space? How does the design of your shelter provide space to live and work? Both practical and fanciful ideas are welcome. The jury will not take into account whether a shelter could physically be built in real life.
  • Thoughtful use of materials. Why did you choose the materials that you used? How do the materials enhance the design of your shelters?
  • Adherence to the project specs. The interior/sheltered space can be can be no larger than 100 square feet, and entire shelter no taller than 12 feet high. The structure should not include water pipes, gas lines, or electrical wiring.
  • Quality of the SketchUp model. Well-built models that visually represent your design ideas will catch the eye of the jury.

Your written description of your shelter will help the jury (as well as visitors to the site) to understand your thought process and your design. Take this opportunity to explain your ideas and decisions, so that viewers will know that your choices were made purposefully and for specific reasons. You also have the ability to upload up to 4 still images and 1 animation of your shelter. Although only one still image is required, the additional views can be helpful in giving a sense of the space in and around your shelter.

Q: What are the prizes?
A: The Juried Prize winner and one guest will be flown to New York City (economy class) for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Google Offices. The Juried Prize also includes two nights accommodation for two, complimentary admission to selected New York City museums, a Google SketchUp Pro license (USD $495 value), and a USD $1000 cash award.

The People’s Prize winner and one guest will be flown to New York City (economy class) for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Google Offices. The People’s Prize also includes two nights accommodation for two, complimentary admission to selected New York City museums and a Google SketchUp Pro license (USD $495 value).

Q: How will the winners be announced?
A: The winners will be announced on the Guggenheim's website and at the Guggenheim Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 21, 2009. Winners will also be announced on the same day on the Google SketchUp blog, Lat Long, and other official Google blogs.

Q. Can I submit more than one shelter?
A: Yes.

Q: How old do I have to be to enter?
A: You must be 13 years of age or older on or before June 8, 2009.

Q: May I work collaboratively with other people?
A: Yes, you may seek assistance from others, but there can only be one official entrant and one winner per prize.

Q: How many times can I vote for the People's Prize winner?
A: You may vote only once.



Questions about the tools

Q: Do I need the Pro versions of SketchUp or Earth to model for this competition?
A: No. The free versions of Google SketchUp and Google Earth will work just fine.

Q: What is the difference between SketchUp and SketchUp Pro? Will I be able to make a better model if I buy the Pro version?
A: You don't need to have the Pro version of SketchUp in order to enter this competition. The model-making features of both the Free and Pro versions are very similar, and both can upload files to the Google 3D Warehouse and create models which can be viewed in Google Earth. Read this article to learn more about the differences between the two versions of SketchUp.

Q: How do I submit my models?
A: Models must be submitted via the submission form.

Q: My model appears in the wrong city when I place it in Google Earth. How do I fix this?
A: If you create a model without first getting the current view from Google Earth and then place your model in Google Earth, the model uses the coordinates of the default location. Please read this article to find out how to resolve this issue.

Q: How do I learn to use Google SketchUp?
A: See the Google SketchUp Tutorial page for instructions and resources. Read this article for a list of ways to get up and running quickly. The Guggenheim is also offering two summer Google SketchUp workshops at the museum's Sackler Center for Arts Education.

Q: Is there a list of keyboard command short-cuts for SketchUp?
A: Yes. Keyboard command short-cuts for SketchUp are available as a PDF download on this page.

Q: What are the design constraints for my shelter?
A: You can build your shelter anywhere on Earth: from city to desert, hill to valley. You cannot remove any existing buildings, but you can add on to existing structures. Keep your shelter small—it can be no larger than 100 square feet (9.3 square meters), and no taller than 12 feet (3.6 meters). Your shelter must offer protection from the elements and provide a space for one person to study and sleep. Keep it simple—no water, gas or electricity allowed.

Q: What types of file type and size are required for the still images?
A: JPEGs at a minimum of 235 pixels wide but no larger than 720 pixels wide at 72 dpi.

Q: If I build a physical shelter in real life, can I submit photos of that in addition to the SketchUp model?
A: Yes, you may use one (or more) of the images in the submission form to include shots of the physical structure.

Q: Do I have to use Google SketchUp to model my shelter?
A: You can use any 3-D modeling software you prefer to design your shelter, but you must upload your model to the Google 3D Warehouse, and this can only be done from inside Google SketchUp. If you decide to use another tool to do your modeling, know that SketchUp imports 3-D model data in DXF, DWG and 3DS format. Read this article for more information about importing data into SketchUp.

Q: I forgot to tell SketchUp where to place my model on Google Earth. Now that my model is complete, how can I have it appear in the location on Google Earth?
A: You can import a Google Earth terrain "snapshot" into your SketchUp file at any time, then position your model in the right place. Doing so gives your model a geographic location. Read this article for more information.

Q: Can I make changes to my model after I've submitted it?
A: No, you may not make changes to your model after submitting it.

Q: I was able to make some changes to my model in the Google SketchUp 3D Warehouse after I submitted, but I do not see the updated changes on the Guggenheim competition site.
A: Once you submitted your model to the competition, you are no longer permitted to make changes.