Winning An Architecture Competition - The Gateway To Commissions And Career Success. Paul and Chris' story.

Back in 2015, Bee Breeders launched the Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition which tasked participants to create designs for a lung cancer care center in the heart of one of the most-polluted cities in the world.

Krakow’s terrible air quality has lead to high levels of lung cancer in the Polish city, and project submissions created a space within the city where those suffering could rest, recover, and socialise with others while receiving support during their treatment.

Second-prize winners Paul Jones and Chris Brown from the UK were recognised by the jury panel for their sensible siting and materiality. They designed a care center situated along a street between existing oncology center buildings, connected by a lattice roof structure that unifies the activity and function of the building while mediating environmental conditions.

“We participate in competitions primarily to test ideas, and challenge ourselves against others through the competition format. We also use them to help hone our drawing and communication skills; this is important when teaching our students. The architecture vision organisation sets provocative and engaging briefs that are interesting to undertake.”

Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition 2nd prize winners - Paul Jones and Chris Brown

Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition 2nd prize winners - Paul Jones and Chris Brown from United Kingdom

But it wasn’t just the jury panel that took notice. After having their designs published as winners on the competition website as well as several industry publications such as Dezeen and ArchDaily, Paul and Chris started to receive some favourable attention for their work.

Barbados government

The pair were contacted directly by an organisation called Project-C who arranged a meeting with representatives from the Barbados government.

Paul and Chris presented their project designs to the Barbados Cabinet, including the health minister, who were very keen to develop a health tourism project for cancer patients based on the ideas they explored in the Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition.

The Cabinet were especially interested in how Paul and Chris saw the architectural environment as medicine in itself, promoting wellbeing through thoughtful and inventive design.

Unfortunately, after some exciting momentum for the £400 million project, there was an election which resulted in a change of government, effectively putting all previously-approved projects on-hold.

Bradley Lowery House

The Bradley Lowery Foundation was founded in 2017 by Gemma Lowery after she lost her son to a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer. The charity has raised over £1.3 million, as well as raising awareness for neuroblastoma and childhood cancer in general.

Paul is currently collaborating with Richard Marsden, Director/Owner of Building Design North, to design a new “holiday home” for the foundation, looking to provide a state-of-the-art holiday-home for sick children who have life-shortening or life-threatening illnesses.

Paul presented his entry for the Krakow Oxygen Home competition when interviewing for the project, and in fact based the plans for the project on the same wellbeing principles and design concepts as his competition entry.

“This project will be influential in the UK, as the medical environment and the effect it has on patient wellbeing is growing in importance. Bradley’s battle with Neuroblastoma was shown on TV programmes across the UK, and high profile celebrities, footballers and large companies endorsed the project. Sadly, Bradley died last year of the illness. His legacy will live on in the house, so that other families can benefit.”

Where to enter architecture competitions

If you’re inspired by Paul and Chris’ story, you can take part in any of our open architecture competitions and potentially impress future clients when you win!

About the project authors: Paul and Chris currently teach together and run a live project office out of the university. The projects that they are working on include: the design of 10 bespoke eco-houses in the North East of England (the construction of which begins in Feb 2016); the refurbishment of 28 World War II bunkers, outside of Durham (again in the North East of England; construction is likely to be in Autumn of 2016); and a visitor and information centre in a historic landscape, for Gateshead Council, also in the Northeast of England. Check out Paul and Chris’ Krakow Oxygen Home architecture competition submission here.

A call to all our former competition participants! Get in touch with us and share your experience.

We want to hear from all of our past competition participants about your experiences with our architecture competitions and how taking part has impacted your career and professional development.

Did you get a job interview, a commission or got into better university because of the publicity that was generated by your competition entry?

We want to know about it. Get in touch and tell us your story so that we can share it with the world and get you and your upcoming projects even more well-deserved media attention.

Contact us now!

Open architecture competitions

  • Closest Deadline first
  • Project competitions first
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project COMPETITION
Legendary Bird Home 2020

Design a bird home to fund wildlife charities

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PRODUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Dec 13
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ideas COMPETITION
SKYHIVE 2020 Skyscraper Challenge

Redefine the modern-day skyscraper

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Dec 17
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ideas COMPETITION
San Francisco Affordable Housing Challenge

Design solutions for San Francisco affordable housing problem

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

registration deadlines

Dec 20
Feb 18
May 21
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Vale De Moses Meditation Cabins

Design meditation cabins in Portugal

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 10
Feb 21
May 24
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Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center

Design an iconic visitor center for Abu Dhabi’s unique wetlands natural reserve

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 14
Feb 25
May 28
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Mega Dunes Eco Lodges - Abu Dhabi

Design comfortable, sustainable visitor huts for the Abu Dhabi protected nature reserve

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 17
Feb 28
Jun 01
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project COMPETITION
Monte d'Oiro Wine Tasting Room

Design an iconic space for guests to enjoy the wines and the views of this Portuguese vineyard

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 21
Mar 03
Jun 05
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project COMPETITION
Kurgi Observation Tower

Design an eco-farm observation tower in UNESCO biosphere reserve

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 24
Mar 06
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ideas COMPETITION
RE-Stock London Housing

Submit affordable housing solutions for the one of the world’s most iconic and expensive cities

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

registration deadlines

Jan 28
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