The EU-funded project SOAR stands for ‘Strengthening the security and resilience of at-risk religious sites and communities’. It aims at increasing the awareness of, and capacity to prevent and mitigate physical and human security threats to places of worship through Security by Design (SBD). The concept of ‘Security by Design’ incorporates security features into the design and fabric of the building and its urban context.

The project partners Enhancing Faith Institutions (EFI), the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, and the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) cooperate in this endeavour with an extensive network of professionals, including representatives from all majority and minority faiths practicing within the EU. The project is supported by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations. SOAR provides a unique knowledge base on security by design to its our audiences. This includes training, guidance, and online resources, with the opportunity for engagement and the evolution of virtual networks and communities of practice. Security training is delivered across the full spectrum of the project at EU, national, regional and local settings. The project team works first in seven pilot EU member states: France, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark. Experts in the fields of SBD such as public authority planners, architects, and designers, as well as faith leaders provide support, training and risk assessments in the seven pilot countries.


As part of its endeavour to promote security by design principles, the Architects’ Council of Europe collaborates with Enhancing Faith Institutions (EFI) and Network of Religious and traditional peacemakers in the SOAR programme. The project is supported by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations. The call for best practice architectural examples is meant as a vehicle to promote and advance the expertise of European architects in Security by Design of public spaces and in particular religious buildings in their urban context. It is also a way to enhance the ACE policy positions on for instance the quality of architecture and urban spaces for cultural and social use.

The call for best practice examples of religious architecture as part of public space in Europe invites entries of new buildings and ensembles, as well as conservation, restoration, and interventions on existing structures. Works must have been completed under the oversight of a qualified architectural team. The submitted projects will be assessed by the professional jury appointed within the SOAR programme. The selected projects will be exhibited and featured in a booklet of ‘Best Practice Examples’ and on the SOAR project website. Additionally, they will assist in developing design guidelines to improve security of religious sites.


Architectural practices of any size are welcome to join and submit their best built project (one project per firm maximum). The projects can be places of worship of any faith (synagogue, church, mosque, temple etc.), which demonstrate the application of SBD concepts and can be either new constructions or renovations. The buildings must be completed and should be located in Europe, in any country which is eligible for participation within the EU funding scheme for the SOAR programme. (1)

(1) Countries eligible: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden + Norway, Switzerland and UK.

Evaluation Critera

The jury will select up to 20 projects, based on the following general criteria:

  • Quality of the architectural design based on the Davos Declaration: functionality, environment, economy, diversity, context, sense of place and beauty (2)
  • Governance, illustrated by the religious community in charge of the project; (2)
  • Effective (visible and invisible) security design elements for the benefit of users, worshipers and the general public;
  • Whenever possible, the architects considering a submission should reflect current advice and guidelines available or published through EC sources. (3)

(2) For further information please check this website:

(3) For further information please check the following EC sources:



Submission Material

  • Short presentation of the project explaining the security needs and how your concept responds to it, including geographical context, architectural concept, selection of relevant plans, sections, and photos. Format accepted: PDF. Maximum 10 A4 pages.
  • One A1 vertical will be requested in case your project is selected for the exhibition.
  • Please do not include any security-sensitive information in your submission.
  • A consent form by the community person in charge of the religious is highly recommended.
  • Submitted material should be in English or French.

Important Information and Timeline

  • January 2022: Launch of the call
  • 30 April 2022, 12:00 CET: Submission Deadline
  • June 2022: Winners to be announced at a SOAR event
  • End 2022: Publication and exhibition

Please submit your project on the form below.

Jury Members