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Architecture competitions are a popular method that have long been used to generate a pool of designs for specific projects, as well as hypothetical ideas.

Architecture competitions are a way to quickly collate different perspectives and concepts that could not be generated by a single firm or architect.

Add to that the sense of public input and community collaboration that architecture competitions can achieve, and it’s clear to see why they have been used to create some of the world’s greatest architectural gems.

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What are architecture competitions?

Architecture competitions are a type of design competition in which participants are invited to submit design proposals for a new building, structure, or development. The winning project design is selected by a jury panel of professionals in the design and architecture fields, as well as stakeholders in the projects, such as government bodies, charity organisations, or local representatives.

Using architecture competitions to generate ideas.

Architecture competitions are a popular way of generating ideas for new building designs, and as a way to stimulate public debate and publicity for a project. The process of holding a competition - especially in the case of open architecture competitions - allows new and inexperienced designers to gain exposure on the same level as established architects and designers.

Architecture competitions used to design public buildings

Architecture competitions are frequently used to award commissions for public buildings, especially those with strong emotional ties to the community. Organising an open competition allows the public to feel more involved in the say of the design, which is a popular method for buildings and structures that the public use on a regular basis. In fact, some countries have rules in place stating that public building contracts require some form of mandatory open architectural competition.

The long history of architecture competitions

The history of architecture competitions dates back over 2,500 years to the time of the ancient Greeks. Major monuments and landmarks throughout history have been the result of architecture competitions, with the first thought to be the Acropolis in Athens all the way back in 448 B.C.E. The Renaissance saw competitions run regularly, creating a public buzz around historical architectural works of art.

Project or ideas architecture competition:

There are a wide variety of architecture competitions that are popular around the world, each with its own set of specifications as to what the final result will be and who is allowed to enter.

Project competitions focus specifically on creating designs for a project or building that is planned for construction.
Ideas competitions focus on creative concepts, out of the box thinking, and using architecture as means for discussion.
If you’re thinking of launching an architecture competition, choosing the right type of competition is crucial in order to achieve the desired outcome. Are you looking to create actual plans for a new structure or development? Do you have a budget for said project in mind and a list of specific criteria? Then you might be best to consider a project competition.

In contrast, if you’re looking to explore creative solutions to a problem, or want to create publicity and excitement around a project, then an ideas competition might be more suitable.

Not sure about what you could achieve from organising an architecture competition?

Get in touch with Bee Breeders to discuss options and learn more about previous successful competitions we’ve run or explore our SERVICES & CONSULTING page for more information.

Open architecture competitions

  • All competitions
  • Project competitions
  • Ideas competitions
Paris Affordable Housing Challenge

Design solutions for Paris’ affordable housing problem

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jun 11
Jul 16
Oct 15
Register now
Archhive Books' Portable Reading Rooms

Create an intimate meditative public space for people to read and exchange books in

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jun 14
Jul 19
Oct 18
Register now
Iceland Black Lava Fields Visitor Center

Design a visitor center for the mysterious black lava fields of Iceland

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jun 18
Jul 23
Oct 22
Register now
MICROHOME2019 - Small living, huge impact!

Design a new concept of small-scale architecture with the first annual Microhomes competition

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jun 21
Jul 26
Oct 25
Register now
Iceland Thermal Springs Guest House

Design an exclusive addition to an Icelandic organic farm resort

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jun 25
Jul 30
Oct 29
Register now
Iceland Volcano Museum

Design an exhibition hall in the Northern Lights capital of Iceland

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jun 28
Aug 02
Nov 01
Register now

Architecture text competitions

Poems of a Modern Day Architect

Express your passion for architecture and what it means to be an architect in the poetry competition

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Oct 08
Nov 05
Dec 11
Register now
What is Small-Scale Architecture?

Submit your essay on small-scale architecture and its impact on the industry

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Sep 12
Oct 11
Nov 20
Register now

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