New design for sustainable Enel Primary Substation

17/05/2022 - Enel

Enel Global Infrastructure Networks is looking for a new design and architectural concept for the construction of a new and innovative sustainable building system dedicated to primary substations.

Expires: 31 August 2022


Meet the challenge

Enel Global Infrastructure & Networks is looking for a new design and architectural concept for the construction of a new and innovative sustainable building system dedicated to primary substations. The new sustainable Enel Primary Substation must have innovative features in terms of design, materials and construction, incorporating principles of sustainability within a circular design approach; the substation must fully integrate in and garner the acceptance of the environmental and social contexts it is installed in.

The new design must allow the observance of the technical and safety regulations currently complied with as well as maintaining the full functionality of the substation and equipment installed inside.


Primary substations are infrastructures dedicated to the interconnection between high voltage and medium voltage in the electrical system and can be built in different environmental contexts whenever energy demand makes a primary substation needed. Therefore, primary substation can be inserted in urban contexts, both in the city center or peripheral quarters, or in rural environments belonging to different natural contexts (countryside, seaside, mountains etc.).

Integration of such an industrial facility in different environments can be critical and requires reconciling sustainability and technical aspects.

Enel is committed to a sustainable business model, with a marked acceleration on decarbonization that foresees becoming zero-carbon within 2040. This approach is adopted by all the Group’s businesses and leverages on circular economy as the way to boost the Net Zero through sustainable material, modularity to extend useful life, circular processes across and beyond the value chain, starting from the design and procurement phases up to production and end-of-life management.

To maximize the value creation and to ensure full implementation of each solution, a sustainable by design approach must be applied. This means starting from the context analysis and from the identification of all solutions to avoid or minimize environmental and social impact, in order to guide the design of the architectural concept dedicated to primary substations.

For questions about the challenge and your proposal, contact



The purpose of this challenge is the creation of new sustainable architectural concepts dedicated to primary substations. The primary goal of the challenge is the creation of a sustainable architectonic modular system that allows a high degree of versatility and replicability, a necessary requirement to adapt the buildings and architectural elements to the different contexts of use present in the territory. This system must be able to house all the required electrical equipments of the Primary Substations and at the same time shall improve the visual, functional and spatial impact of these installations and their surrounding areas.

Researching architectural concepts in relation with the natural and anthropized contexts where they are inserted means aiming to combine innovative formal research, technological skills and performance of components and materials with the lowest possible ecological footprint.

The desired result does not relate to a mere mimesis with the local landscape, rather, to the ability to integrate electricity assets with the natural and social environment, promoting a process of open dialogue that is capable of accompanying the energy transition.

With the redesign of the primary substations, parts of the sites occupied by the actual buildings, electrical infrastructure or local generation, will be released for new uses, and opened to the local communities as public spaces, green areas, playgrounds, charging stations etc.

In conclusion, the interventions - also of an innovative nature - must be inspired by key concepts, such as: industrial architectural innovation; eco-sustainable and socio-cultural development, environment-territory integration, business-territory relationship; corporate identity and image; communication of corporate values.

The proposed strategy of intervention must be innovative and focused on the key concept that is leading this transition of Enel towards a sustainable business model: the Grid Futurability.

In Enel's Grid Futurability® vision grids are at the center of an urban ecosystem and will have to became more and more inclusive and participatory platforms, fostering the engagement and interaction of all stakeholders, as well as unlocking new opportunities in terms of innovative business models, services and shared value. Furthermore, grids must truly be sustainable, adopting a circular-economy approach implies introducing as many sustainable and recyclable raw materials as possible to maximize their economic value and reduce their environmental impact, as well as CO2 emissions from assets.

The jury that will evaluate the proposal will include representatives of EGI&N and a number of high-level personalities from universities, institutions and the design and architecture field.Reward: Up to 40,000 euros.


Given the great variety of contexts to which the primary substations have to relate, the challenge is proposing four case-study sites where to apply the proposed architectural concepts and strategies. These sites have been chosen as examples of four different contexts of use. In each site the reorganization of the technical areas will free up a portion where the competitors are asked to propose new programs with the appropriate architectural elements to reinvent a relation between the stations and the context.



The competitors are asked to design architectural solutions for the visual impact of the technical area and at the same time rethink the relation between the primary substation and the context, proposing new programs and arrangements for the space available from the reorganization of the technical areas. The proposals should reimagine the primary substations as a whole, with a design consistent throughout all its components, from the buildings of the technical area to the fences surrounding them, to the elements serving the new programs. 



The architectural projects must take into account the layouts given as documentation in the Annexes, respecting the technical functionality of the equipment and safety distances.

Presence of an underground earthing grid, usually exceeding the “Technical Area” for safety reasons shall be taken into account.



This Challenge provides contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

  • SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

  • SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Challenge rules

This Challenge is reserved to engineers, architects, designers, startups, scaleups and SMEs, industrials incorporated in any country, acting both as natural and/or legal persons.

Please note that:

  • the employees of Enel Global Infrastructures & Networks and of the other Companies of the Enel Group; and
  • the individuals who are involved in the organization and management of the Challenge or admitted to the Open Innovability® Portal back office, as well as the spouses, partners and relatives up to the fourth degree of the individuals listed under (1) and (2) above are not eligible for participation in this Challenge. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to verify with the members of his/her kinship or spouse or partners (or with regard to his/her team members’) whether any of them is connected in any way to the Challenge or the Open Innovability® Portal and request (by e-mail to, if necessary, any additional information to EGI&N to fulfill such obligation.

By applying to the Challenge, the Applicant shall represent and warrant that it is eligible to participate in the Challenge according to the provisions of the present CTC. Moreover, the Applicant shall represent and warrant that:

  • all the information contained in the Proposal is true, accurate and complete and it will maintain and update the Applicant’s information to keep it true, accurate, current and complete;
  • has viewed and accepted the privacy policy of the Platform;
  • has not breached any laws in the country of residence regarding the legality of registration and participation in the Challenge;
  • in case of natural person, he/she is at least 18 years old;
  • in case of representative of a business or other entity, it is authorized to enter into this CTC on behalf of that business or entity;
  • to the best of his/her knowledge, is not in a position of conflict of interest with the subject matter of the Challenge and with any component of the evaluation team;
  • the Proposal does not: (i) violate the rights - including, but not limited to, copyrights, trademark rights, patent rights, trade secrets or privacy rights - of any third party; (ii) prominently feature any trademarks or logos;
  • it releases and undertakes to hold harmless EGI&N and all the companies of Enel Group from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the Challenge and/or the implementation of the activities related to the Challenge.

EGI&N reminds all Applicants that Enel Group has adopted and adheres to the principles set out in Enel’s Ethics Code (available at, the Zero Tolerance Plan against corruption (available at, the Enel’s Human Right Policy (available at, the Organizational Model pursuant to Legislative Decree 231/01, as subsequently amended and supplemented, (available at

The Applicant hereby confirms to refer to the same principles adopted by Enel Group. The Applicant also acknowledges that Enel Group has adopted the Enel Global Compliance Program, which was drafted taking into account the main international conventions against corruption (i.e., Bribery Act; Foreign Corrupt Practice Act etc.) and which shall be adopted by all non-Italian subsidiaries of the Enel Group.

EGI&N reserves the right to reject any proposal that does not comply with these Terms and Conditions. If the Challenge is won by an Applicant not meeting the cited requirements, the Applicant will lose the right to the Award.


Proposals will be submitted exclusively online through the Platform.

The Applicants are requested to submit their Proposals in English or Italian. Proposals submitted by any other means or in any other language will not be considered.

The Applicants are further requested to disclose whether they have participated with the same or substantially similar proposal in any other challenge promoted on the Open Innovability® Platform.

Proposals shall be submitted in a single stage and shall include the following sections:

1. A written description (only text, no images, or drawings) on A4 vertical document, containing the following content:

1.1 Description of the design principles and elements of the proposed architectural solution with an explanation of how the Applicant proposes to address the requirements listed in the challenge brief.

1.2 An overview of the materials and technologies of the design proposal.

1.3 An overview of the technical and economic feasibility of the design proposal.

1.4 The compiled ENVISION scoring system table.

1.5 Description of how the Applicant proposes to address the sustainability requirements.

1.6 Confirmation of adherence to all the requirements or declaration of the requirement not respected.

2. For each of the 4 case-study sites:

2.1 3D visualizations (rendering) walkthrough of the proposed architectural concept and development areas.

2.2 Technical drawings with all maximum dimensions, plans and elevations in dwg and pdf format.

The Applicants can upload up to 3 file of 25Mb each.

EGI&N will recognize:

  • to the Applicant selected as winner of the Challenge an amount of 40,000 euros;
  • to the Applicants who will be selected for the conclusion of option award an amount of 10,000 euros.


Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on August 31st, 2022.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Specific regulation in the CSA attached on this page.

What happens next?

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s).All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions.

Enel will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria:

  • Degree of innovation (design research)

  • Appearance and communication quality

  • Integration into the installation context

  • Adoption of circular economy and sustainability principles

  • Technical and normative compliance

  • Replicability and modularity

  • Economic and realization feasibility

In addition to the payment of the Awards, Enel reserves the right, at its complete discretion, to entrust the Winning Applicant with the artistic direction and executive design of one or more specific primary substations.

Upon completion of the evaluation, you will receive feedback.

In case of success, an Enel contact person will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps.

Tipologia: Challenge prize


Paese: Brasile, Messico, ITALIA, Svizzera, Spagna, Australia, Norvegia, Repubblica Ceca, India, Regno Unito, Danimarca, Cina, Cile, Sudafrica, Serbia, Francia, Finlandia, Giappone, Vietnam, Federazione Russa, Paesi Bassi, Egitto, Argentina, Singapore, Malesia, Lituania, Svezia, Israele, Canada, Corea del Sud, Stati Uniti d'America, Belgio

SSD: 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche, 02 - Scienze fisiche, 03 - Scienze chimiche, 04 - Scienze della terra, 05 - Scienze biologiche, 06 - Scienze mediche, 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie, 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura, 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione, 10 - Scienze dell'antichità, filologico-letterarie e storico-artistiche, 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche, 12 - Scienze giuridiche, 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche, 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali