Architecture Competitions Yearbook 2020 | Book Review

How to submit your first competition entry? How to explain the idea behind the project? How to make eye-catching layout that will grab the attention of any jury panels? And finally, how to make a good project – the winning one that you will be always proud of? Those and many more questions are always asked during designing process. If you are a student or an architect, the question ‘ How ‘ is accompanying your university and professional life on regular basis. Architecture Competition Yearbook 2020 was created and published to help young architects understand the “competition world” and encourage them to become a part of it. The authors of the ACY wanted to show the stories behind winning submissions of 10 the most appreciated architecture competitions launched in 2020. Some of them may help competitors answer the following questions and find their own way for awards.

The book starts with interviews with architects who have been gaining experienced and building-up their competitive spirits for many years. Nathalie de Vries, co-founder, principal architect and urban designer of MVRDV, Professor of Architectural Design at Delft University of Technology, claims that participating in architecture competition is a wonderful way to explore your own ideas further, feel freedom in design and stay up to date with contemporary trends. Robert Konieczny, member of the French Academy of Architecture, founder of KWK Promes Studio, says that the ideas rivalry with the most competitive young architects could help you to broaden your horizons, learn self-discipline, organizational skills, resistance and obstinacy. What story of Piotr Kalinowski, CEO and creative director of the MIXD studio in Wroclaw, reminds us of is that participating in competitions might be a great entertainment. Furthermore, it could bring many benefits – starting from money prizes, through gaining recognition or internship offer, finishing on building, and improving your portfolio as well. All those cases show how self-motivation and obstinacy during studies period can lead to great professional life, which every architecture student is dreaming of.

After introducing Nathalie de Vires, Robert Konieczny and Piotr Kalinowski, we can explore the best winning submissions of recognizable competitions that challenged young architects to develop themselves, encouraged them to search for inspiration and show their own original ideas as well as solutions to the given problems. The second issue of ACY showcases best entries of 10 the most inspiring and interesting architecture competitions that took part in 2020. The focus of this edition is to understand the design process behind all winning submissions. ‘What made you win’ is a question we asked every awarded with the first prize team. We are interested in their paths, the step they took to get closer to the win.

Winners were requested to show their process and explain what they started with, how they managed to develop it and where it led them finally. We were curious what was the main idea behind the project and how they made the clue of the design visible on the submitted presentation boards. Moreover, we were pleased to see drafts, first sketches, blue-prints and all materials that were created during long and exhausting process. As a result, we were able to share ten different approaches to the competition issues with our readers. With all winning submission, we were trying to learn on designers’ mistakes. We asked winners team to show the concepts they dropped of and explain us why they did it and what other choices must have been done to achieve the final, brilliant effect. We wanted to understand the secrets behind all winning submissions, the used techniques as well as proposed solutions. It all brings us closer to the conclusion that winning in the competition does not depend on being lucky but, in contrary, it requires great effort, commitment, sacrifice and motivation to get your work awarded.

Architecture Competition Yearbook presents three the best entries with the detailed description of the following competition: Archstorming: African House Design Competition, Blank Space: Fairy Tales 2020, The Kaira Looro Competition: Emergency Operations Centre, Young Architects Competition: Xi’An Train Station, Bee Breeders: Iceland Volcano Museum Competition, eVolo: Skyscraper Competition 2021, Reuse Italy: Re-use The Roman Ruin – Piscina Mirabilis, Arch-Sharing: Happy Homes France Competition, OpenGap.net: Innatur 9 Competition and Site Mirador by Arkxsite.

All designers of the awarded first prize projects shared their story with us. Answers to the question ‘How to win architecture competition?’ just exceeded our expectation. Thanks to the authors we explore 10 different formulas and ways to approach the architecture contests, get rewarded with prize money and recognition as well. You can find the clues, a great deal of advice and suggestions how to run a good project in ACY 2020. Furthermore, we hope that this issue will inspire you to face the challenges.

We are certain that all knowledge you can get form the Yearbook will help you in your future student and professional life and the great value of the publication will be reflected in your project. We believe that Architecture Competition Yearbook will encourage you to break the ice and challenge you to take part in architecture competitions. Maybe, you will find your own magic formula to make a good project and grab the attention to the jury after reading this issue. If you are also interested how to make out-standing presentation boards, create an innovative solution or what are other benefits that come from participating in competitions, read your own copy of Architecture Competition Yearbook 2020!


If you would like to read case studies of awarded projects please check our annual publication – Architecture Competitions Yearbook. This book is perfect for you if you want to know:

  • What’s the secret behind winning submissions?
  • What makes a good project?
  • How to create an innovative solution to the given problem?

…and much more.

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architecture competitions yearbook 2020

Categories: Articles
Date: July 20, 2021