An architectural design competition is a method in which an Organizer/Client invites architects to submit their design proposals under specific requirements.

In this process there are benefits for both parties.

Parties involved

Competitions provide to the Organizer/Client a choice from a variety of approaches with a wide range of options, in the same time frame and under same conditions. This would not be possible with other selection methods.

So, the architectural design competitions are opportunity for professionals to present their design ideas, to become recognized. Architectural competitions are often the first step to a successful career for many participants. Several significant architects have launched their careers because their designs were selected as the winning solutions. There are many examples which confirm this.

Arab World Institute designed by Jean Nouvel
Arab World Institute, Paris designed by Jean Nouvel

*Status :Finalised
Dates:1981 - 1987
Clients:Institut du Monde Arabe
Types of assignment: Competition, Full mission
Program:Museum of the Arab civilization and Islamic Art: Temporary exhibition galleries, library,
documentation center, news rooms, hypostyle, 450-seat auditorium.Habitable area / Surface area
16,917 m² / 25,263 m²

In 1981, Jean Nouvel, together with Architecture-Studio, won the design competition for the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) building in Paris, whose construction was completed in 1987 and brought Nouvel international glory. The similar happens to Frank Gehry after he winned the competition for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Bilbao1991)

Many competitions offer opportunities for young architects that are not always available through other selection methods.

Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Schirac, Paris designed by Jean Nouvel
Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Schirac, Paris designed by Jean Nouvel

*Status: Finalised
Dates: 1999 - 2006
Clients : Etablissement public du Musée du Quai Branly
Types of assignment: Competition, Full mission, Interior design, Museography
Habitable area / Surface area:76,478 m² / 40,660 m²Types of assignment

The winning design is usually chosen by a Jury consisting of design professionals and other stakeholders.

Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Schirac, Paris designed by Jean Nouvel (north facade)
Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Schirac, Paris designed by Jean Nouvel (north facade)

Competition guidelines

Competition guidelines define the relation of parties involved in the process: the Organizer/Client and the Competitor and protect their interests.

The concise descriptions of the content of the Competition Guidelines are below. The final content of this document will vary according to the specific needs of the competition (type …).

The success of the competition often depends on the clarity and the completeness of the Competition guidelines.


  • Introduction with an overview of the type of competition, purpose, scope, location, and other important facts.
  • Participants

Organizer/Client and his team: Necessary information about Organizer/Client and his team responsible for managing the competition and the key personnel, their role and responsibilities (professional advisor, Jury, Other Advisors if necessary)

Competitors and Eligibility: participation conditions (who is allowed to participate and if the competition will be open, limited, or invited).

2. COMPETITION and all instructions to Competitors for participating in a competition:

  • Objectives of the Competition-clearly defining purpose of the competition (what to select architect; design and architect)
  • Procedural Rules and Conditions defined by the Organizer: processes and procedures within a competition
  • Competition Schedule and kay dates (competition launch, the date for registration, final dates for questions and answers, submission deadline (stages if any), Public exhibition (winners announced)
  • Competition deliverables and requirements depending on the Project (media, content, content by stages-if any, submission address…)
  • Cost conditions (if any) and Competition Budget (to the specific competition)
  • Submission with all information (address, time frame, mode of delivery...) and procedure (Anonymous or cooperative procedures) about submission
  • About the Jury:  judging process and criteria to judge if the design selected meets with the Organizer/Client requirements, preparation and release of the jury report
  • Prize Awards and Payment to Competitors
  • Competition closure Activities: the announcement of the winners, media releases, the award of the commission, an exhibition of submissions, a publication of submissions, and the return of submissions.

3.PROJECT and main information about the project

  • Context
  • Background information about the Project
  • The brief is the most important document consisting of: sufficient information on the project depending on the deliverables requirements: criteria and data for a project ( design objectives, site requirements and constraints/existing buildings, spatial requirements and relationships, building systems and equipment…other if necessary)
  • Other: whilst competitors are welcome to visit the site, ...

Available information about the competitions

There are many architectural sites with all information about the current Architectural competitions

Some of them are:

  1. Arhitecture Competitions /Opportunities
  2. Competition updates
  3. All competitions

At the moment I would recommend following consents

This ideas competition, sponsored by New Horizons Youth Centre in London, challenges designers and architects to propose innovative approaches to decent housing for homeless young people in London. The competition seeks proposals that are demonstrably durable, functional and serviceable, because there is potential to build the best designs on suitable sites.

Architectural Competition: Hidden Homeless: an ideas competition for homeless young people
Architectural Competition: Hidden Homeless: an ideas competition for homeless young people

Key dates
08.06.18 Competition launch
29.06.18 Closing date for queries
31.07.18 Submission deadline
28.09.18 Public exhibition (winners announced)

The purpose of the Competition is to expand the typologies of apartment layouts of medium and large size, which comply with modern requirements for providing for the comfort and security of the living environment, and which will be completed with the use of advanced construction technologies. Competition participants have the task of creating optimal planning solutions that will be easily adapted to the needs of various users groups and climate conditions in Russia, as well as to the changes introduced during the project implementation phase.

Title :Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing
Type: Competition Announcement (Ideas)
Organizers :Strelka KB
Submission Deadline: 03/08/2018 23:30
Price: Free

Architectural Competition: Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing
Architectural Competition: Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing

Submission: November 05, 2018
Registration: October 09, 2018
Language: English
Location: London, UK
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


London is home to some of the most expensive properties in the world, making access to affordable housing almost impossible to all but the very rich. According to a report by UBS Wealth Management, London homes are the second most over-priced in the world, and closely behind Vancouver in its “bubble risk rating”. London house prices increased by 25% from 2014-2016, mainly due to foreign investment and low interest rates, making it the second-least affordable housing bubble in the world after Hong Kong.