Organising an Architectural Design Competition


There are two basic types of competitions:

  • The ideas competition, which demonstrates numerous conceptual approaches and proposals, without the intention of directly realising the task or project.
  • The project competition, which demonstrates numerous solutions for the intended realization of a project.

Ideas competitions seek to elucidate certain approaches to architectural and/or planning problems. The winning project is not generally destined for realization and its author is therefore not commissioned as the architect. If the client intends to make use of the winning or any other scheme, he/she shall undertake some form of formal collaboration with its author. In certain cases, a contract with the winner as architect-consultant may be envisaged.


The objective of a project competition is to find the best solution for the project to be realized, with the author of the winning submission commissioned as architect for its realisation.



Competitions can be conducted as single-stage competitions, two-stage competitions or, in rare circumstances, multiple stage competitions.

Ideas competitions are usually single-stage competitions. In some instances, ideas competitions may be the first stage of a two-stage competition in which the second stage is a project competition. Project competitions may be organized as one or two-stage competitions. This must be clearly stated in the brief. When possible, project competitions should be organized as one-stage competitions.

Two-stage competitions require a substantial, additional commitment for both the client and the participants and therefore their use is advised only for particularly complex architectural tasks. In two-stage competitions, the first stage should have reasonably light submission requirements, consisting of a general approach, usually an overall conceptual plan accompanied by schematic drawings and sketches sufficient to demonstrate the intentions of the competitor.



Competitions can be organized in the following three forms: as open, restricted, or invited.


Open procedures permit all eligible professionals to submit entries.

Restricted procedures permit a pre-selection of participants after an open call.

Procedures by invitation allow contracting authorities to determine which participants will be invited to take part in the competition. Invited competitions are only possible below the EU threshold.

Knowledge and Innovation Center in Tripoli, Lebanon

International Architectural Design Competition

The UIA is endorsing the International Architectural Design Competition for the Knowledge and Innovation Center in Tripoli, Lebanon. The competition is managed by the Lebanese Federation of Engineers and Architects on behalf of the Tripoli Special Economic Zone and the Government of the Republic of Lebanon.

The proposed construction site is located within the Rachid Karami International Fair, designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the 1960s. The Knowledge and Innovation Centre will be a business and technology park that accommodates and fosters the growth of entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs in the city of Tripoli and the surrounding region.

Its goal is to become an inclusive collaborative platform attracting companies from a wide variety of sectors.

Competition participants will be required to provide an urban and architectural concept for the Knowledge and Innovation Center that preserves and integrates the existing modern heritage buildings.


The prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • 1st Prize: 60,000 USD
  • 2nd Prize: 30,000 USD
  • 3rd Prize: 15,000 USD

Additionally, honourable mentions could be conferred on works of exceptional merit in a specific area of innovation or creativity.


  1. Raya Al Hassan, Minister of Interior, Former Chairperson TSEZ, Lebanon
  2. Jad Tabet, Head, Lebanese Federation of Engineers and Architects, Beirut, Lebanon
  3. Bassam Ziadeh, Head, Order of Engineers and Architect, Tripoli, Lebanon
  4. George Kunihiro, Architect, T-Life Environmental Lab, Past President ARCASIA, Japan (UIA representative)
  5. Antonio Raffaele Riverso, Former UIA Region I Vice President, Italy (UMAR Representative)
  6. Francesco Bandarin, Former Director of World Heritage Centre and Former Assistant Director General for Culture at UNESCO, Italy
  7. Ana Tostoes, Chair, Docomomo International, Portugal
  8. Fares Dahdah, Director of the Humanities Research Center at Rice University, member of Fundação Oscar Niemeyer Board, USA
  9. Suha Ozkan, Former Secretary General of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Turkey

Alternate jurors

  1. Amale Andraos, Dean, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, USA, and advisor to the Chairperson
  2. Gustavo Utrabo, Architect, Aleph Zero, Brazil


  • 18 February 2019: Competition Launch
  • 18 March 2019: Registration Deadline
  • 15 April 2019: Deadline for Questions
  • 18 April 2019: Deadline for Answers
  • 17 June 2019: Final Submission Deadline
  • 27-28 June 2019: Jury Deliberation
  • 28 June 2019: Announcement of Winners
  • 5 July 2019: Awards Ceremony
  • 5 – 7 July 2019: Exhibition


For more information, visit the competition website


Call for Projects in Conflict Zone or Post-Conflict Situations

The International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) has a mandate to offer concrete support for the protection and reconstruction of cultural heritage in conflict zones or post-conflict situations.

ALIPH aims to financially support associations, foundations, cultural and heritage institutions, and international organisations working to preserve cultural heritage in the face of imminent conflict, or to intervene to rehabilitate it. ALIPH has set the objective of becoming a central actor in the protection of cultural heritage around the world within a three-year timeframe.

The organisation is already committed to the ambitious project of supporting the rehabilitation of the Mosul Museum in Iraq; restoring the Tomb of Askia in Gao, Mali; and rehabilitating the Mar Behnam Monastery in Northern Iraq.

ALIPH is now launching a worldwide call via its new website that will enable it to support prevention, protection and restoration projects on every scale, from the smallest local initiatives to ambitious long-term projects. ALIPH also aims to supply immediate aid wherever this is most urgently needed. Project proposals can be submitted up until 15 March 2019 on the ALIPH website :

“Too many places in the world know the suffering and destruction of armed conflict. Among the terrible casualties are the built embodiments of cultural heritage — the physical environments that define culture, creating and sustaining memories of place. Architects can help to protect cultural heritage in conflict zones, and to rebuild it when fighting subsides.  The UIA associates itself fully with the aims of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), and joins with the French National Council of the Order of Architects (CNOA) to promulgate this important worldwide call for projects.”

Thomas Vonier, UIA President


International Architectural Competition “SCIENCE CENTRE”

The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (Slovenia, EU), in cooperation with the Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning of Slovenia (ZAPS), has announced an international architectural competition for the “SCIENCE CENTRE”.

The central subject of the competition is the architectural design of the “Science Centre” building, the urban design of placement of the “Science Centre” building within the competition area, the survey solution for the entire OPPN 81 area and further in the process the acquirement of the designer of the project documentation for the “Science Centre”. The programme of the “Science Centre” will put the building at the crossroads of science, technology and culture by closely intertwining with economy, research activity and education. The “Science Centre” shall represent the interdisciplinary demonstration object and enable a test and presentation of new technological solutions or innovations, it shall be technologically advanced and innovative, a building, which will enable the placement of the latest technology and systems after the construction as well, and it shall be designed as an evolving building throughout a longer period of its life cycle.


rise in the city: call for architecture mentors

rise in the city is a unique international architecture competition for students and recent graduates worldwide. The challenge is to design affordable and sustainable housing solutions for Africa’s growing population.

We invite all innovative problem solvers in the built environment to design a low-income housing prototype in an effort to curb Lesotho’s housing problem in an environment challenged by:  increased urban migration, climate change and scarcity of resources.

How it works

Lesotho is a lower middle income country completely surrounded by South Africa. For this competition, its capital city, Maseru is being split into 100 virtual blocks. Virtual residency is being offered for 3 entities per block:

Phase One
100 Leading architecture and design firms are invited to take up virtual residence of one of the blocks for free.

In return, they mentor and critique the student competition entry who will also take up virtual residency of the same block. AND offer an architectural experience to the sponsor of their block.  This architectural experience can be a networking lunch with the senior design team or a tour of a building they have designed if one is located close to their office.

Phase Two
100 companies
 keen to gain a one-on-one networking opportunity, choose a Maseru block to sponsor for only $1,200 and get to enjoy the experience with the resident architecture firm in their block.

Phase Three
100 students and recent architecture graduates
 are invited to enter the architecture competition and design an affordable  residential house for low income families in an urban setting for Maseru.

A high profile jury will shortlist the best 10 entries that will be exhibited at various events internationally. There will be one International winner and one winner from Lesotho who will be announced at the end of January 2019.

100% of proceeds goes directly towards the project – a design & build training program for Lesotho unemployed youth who are constructing a residential center and entrepreneurship hub for vulnerable adolescents. If enough additional funding is raised from the competition, we will then build the prototype, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, so that people in Lesotho can see the design, get inspired and adapt to build houses that are equally as sustainable and made from locally sourced materials.

By getting involved with rise in the city, either by mentoring a student competition entry, sponsoring one of the city blocks or entering the competition, you will help give the people of Lesotho the opportunity to better their lives for themselves.

Centre for Literature and Language – Planet Lem Design Competition

The Krakow Festival Office, with the participation of the Association of Polish Architects, Krakow Branch, would like to announce an international two-stage architectural and urban development competition aimed at creating a multifunctional literary centre under the name of “Centrum Literatury i Języka – Planeta Lem” (Centre for Literature and Language – Planet Lem) in the former Salt Warehouse at Na Zjeździe 8 Street in Krakow. The competition was assigned SARP number 983.


The patron of the Centre for Literature and Language in Krakow will be Stanisław Lem – an outstanding Polish writer, philosopher and futurologist, the most popular Polish author in history, who was connected with Krakow throughout his life. An interactive exhibition inspired by Lem’s thought heritage will be a central element of the building. Apart from the exhibition, “Centre for Literature and Language – Planet Lem” will also house a modern multifunctional hall for hosting literary events in Krakow, a space for exhibitions devoted to literature and language, a publicly accessible media library, a multimedia studio, a café and a bookshop, as well as office spaces. The venue will be the operating centre for the Krakow – UNESCO City of Literature programme.


The goal of the Competition is the best possible architectural and urban planning solution for the “Centre for Literature and Language – Planet Lem”. It is assumed that the concept chosen by the Competition Jury will take into account the special nature of the project. Connect the applied solutions with distant and close (spatial, architectural and cultural) contexts of Małopolska and Krakow – the city of culture, science and art – is essential. The Krakow Festival Office expects a modern architectural form characterised by the highest quality, which may become the showpiece of the city and region built in the specified location. The aim of the Competition is to select a concept for the preparation of complete design documentation enabling the implementation of the investment.


The competition is conducted in Polish.


Competition Jury:

  1. Architect Piotr Lewicki, KSK SARP Krakow Branch, Chairman of the Jury
  2. Architect Marcin Brataniec, KSK SARP Krakow Branch, Reporting Judge
  3. Architect Zbigniew Maćków, KSK SARP Krakow Branch, Competition Judge
  4. Architect Alberto Veiga, Spain, Foreign Competition Judge


  1. Architect Grzegorz Lechowicz, Małopolska Regional Chamber of Architects representative, Competition Judge,
  2. Wojciech Zemek, representative of Stanisław Lem’s heir, Competition Judge,
  3. Jacek Dukaj, author of the permanent exhibition concept, Competition Judge,
  4. Agata Kwaśnicka-Janowicz, representative of the Foundation for the Museum of Polish Language, Competition Judge,
  5. Grzegorz Grabowski, Deputy Operations Director, Krakow Festival Office, Competition Judge
  6. Andrzej Kulig, 3rd Deputy Mayor of the City of Krakow for Social Policy, Culture and City Promotion, Krakow Municipal Office, Competition Judge,
  7. (Architect Marcin Włodarczyk, KSK SARP Krakow, Deputy Competition Judge)


Secretariat of the Competition:

  1. Architect Marek Kaszyński, SARP Krakow, Organising Secretary of the Competition,
  2. Magdalena Szreniawa, KBF, Supporting Secretary of the Competition,
  3. (Architect Benita Strzałka, SARP Krakow, Deputy Organising Secretary of the Competition)

Announcement of the Competition – 6.09.2018.

Submission of requests for clarification of the Terms and Conditions – through 14.09.2018 at 4:00 p.m.

Publication of clarifications to the Terms and Conditions – by 21.09.2018

Submission of applications for admission to the Competition – 28.09.2018, 4:00 p.m

Sending notices to Participants on their admission to the Competition – by 5.10.2018.

Submission of requests for clarification of the Terms and Conditions – through 12.10.2018.

Publication of clarifications to the Terms and Conditions – by 19.10.2018.

Submission of studies (Phase 1) – by 30.11.2018, 4:00 p.m.

Conclusion of Phase 1 of the Competition – by 14.12.2018.

Submission of requests for clarification of the Terms and Conditions – through 4.01.2019.

Publication of clarifications to the Terms and Conditions – by 11.01.2019.

Submission of competition works (Phase 2) – by 1.03.2019, 4:00 p.m.

Decision, public announcement of the Competition results and opening of the post-competition exhibition – by 15.03.2019.


Prizes (gross amounts):

Prize pool– PLN 200,000
First prize – PLN 75,000
Prize for participants of phase 2- PLN 25,000


More information on the competition is available at:,958,Konkurs_SARP_nr_983_Planeta_Lem_w_Krakowie.html


Ideas Competition: Innovative reuse of St Martin’s church in Brighton

A competitive challenge seeking practical, exciting and commercially viable ideas for the innovative reuse of St Martin’s church in Brighton.

Colander Associates is delighted to announce this intriguing competition to find new uses for this beautiful Grade II* church.

Creative solutions are sought that will respect the integrity of this beautiful listed structure whilst at the same time adding new life and economic sustainability.

A first prize of £10,000 and two runners up of £6,000 will be awarded for the best solutions.


St Martin’s church is an extraordinary building and it warrants a second lease of life. Given its location, its scale and its volume, it also has huge potential for redevelopment.

This competition invites teams to think creatively about St Martin’s church and generate innovative but commercially sustainable new uses for this building, which is currently under used and in danger of falling into disrepair. Whilst this is not a live project the competition hopes to bring forward solutions that could be implemented in the future.

The client, The Diocese of Chichester, supported by A Better Brighton & Hove, is looking to design teams which can include investors, developers or end users, who can demonstrate a viable and practical scheme which is creative and will be the springboard to restoration of this building with huge potential.

We are looking for practical regeneration solutions for this magnificent building.


Collaborations between Architects, Surveyors, Landscape Architects, Engineers, Developers, Entrepreneurs, Investors, End-Users and any other specialist with ideas to contribute are welcome.

Each team should include a registered architect supported by skills to demonstrate viability of ideas. There are no other restrictions on the composition of the team.


Teams intending to enter this competition are asked to register their intent by 17.00 hours on Wednesday 12 September.

For further information about the project, competitors should visit the St Martin’s Church competition pages at


This competition seeks design ideas and will be held in two stages. At stage one competitors will be asked to submit 2 x A2 design boards along with brief explanatory text. Three teams will be shortlisted to stage 2 to develop their ideas further and to attend an interview with the Jury Panel.

The three shortlisted teams will each receive a monetary prize. The winning team will receive a prize of £10,000 and the two Runners-Up will receive £6,000 each.


Stage 1 submission deadline: Monday 17th September 2018 at 1300 hours.


This competition is being managed by Colander Associates and all enquiries should be addressed to

Construction of a Służewiec Campus Student Dormitory

  University of Warsaw in cooperation with the Main Board of the Association of Polish Architects (SARP) and the Warsaw Branch of the Association of Polish Architects (SARP), announces architectural and urban competition for the architectural concept design and development plan, under the name “Construction of a student house on the Służewiec Campus”, implemented under […]

3 invited participants for the Urban settlement of the Financial District and The Marina at Colombo Port City

CHEC Port City Colombo Limited, a subsidiary of China Harbour Engineering Company, has launched an invited, single stage ideas competition for the longterm development of an innovative urban settlement adjoining the Colombo Fort to the East and Colombo South International Container Harbour to the North. The competition was launched on 6 March 2017 with the support of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects and the International Union of Architects. Finnish architect Trevor Harris will represent the UIA on the international jury.

The competition is a single-phase procedure with three invited participants, whose work will be evaluated anonymously according to the UNESCO Regulations for architecture competitions:

  • Gensler
  • Nikken Sekkei
  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)


The winner of the competition will be awarded 150 000 USD in addition to the sum of 150 000 USD provided to all three participants over the course of the competition.


  • Issuance of Brief:  4 March 2017
  • Site visit by participants: 31 March 2017
  • Deadline Questions/Answers: 7 April 2017
  • Submission Deadline:  Before 3 pm, 15 May 2017
  • Jury meeting: 16-19 May 2017
  • Announcement of results: No more than 2 weeks after the completion of the jury meeting
  • Awards Ceremony: TBA


• Dr. Deborah Dearing (Australia)
• David Dernie (United Kingdom)
• Trevor Harris (Finland)
• Calvin Tsao (USA)
• Pali Wijeratne (Sri Lanka)