photography competition

International Photography Competition “Cities without Architecture”

Submission: March 24, 2017
Registration: March 24, 2017
Language: English
Location: Concept
Prizes: Up to €3000 for the winner to develop a photographic project
Type: Open


According to the Un-Habitat (United Nations) Urban Observatory, it is estimated that fifty million people will move from rural areas to the cities in western Africa over the next ten years. In Mumbay, the population has recorded a four-fold increase. Half of the population live in slums, 700.000 spend the night on the streets, 100 million people in the world, mostly kids, have no permanent home. More than half a century has passed already since Bernanrd Rudofsky exhibited at the New York MOMA a collection of pictures he took during his trips.

The exhibition would be named: Architecture without Architect. This exhibition was shown in more than 80 cities during the following 11 years, and its catalogue has become a true referent in what has been called vernacular architecture.

A question arises nowadays: what have architects learned from this famous Architecture without Architects? But these days there is an even more important question: how much aware are we in the developed countries of the existence of cities without architecture?

When we say cities without architecture, we mean that they lack basic and necessary urban facilities, organization or proper public spaces, for instance. Their infrastructures are inexistent or they are threatened, and they have a vast amount of houses which were built with shapes, materials or techniques that wouldn’t stand the natural phenomena.

These cities are as a matter of fact in risk, yet they are cities. Are we aware that these cities are amongst the biggest cities in the world? Do we really know they are also exposed to all the social, economic, military or geographic storms possible? However, these cities, far from being an issue, are the solution for many people, those who settle with the scarce resources at their reach.

The universal access to a proper city and housing, makes more urgent the need to intervene in these cities in risk in order to improve their condition. Raising awareness is a necessary first step towards the obtention of resources for the improvement of the hábitat. And this is the main reason why we launch this initiative.


The main objective of this competition is to select a photograph which will be the main image for a sensibilization campaign named “Cities without Architecture” alerting to the need of working towards the improvement of the habitat.


Each contestant will be able to present a maximum of three photographs, independent from each other or as part of a series, meeting the technical characteristics required hereunder. The authors shall present photographs taken from 2010 and until the competition deadline. The photographs will be unpublished and will have not been previously exhibited in other events.

The photographs will be delivered in digital format, in tiff files with a size of 40x30cm and 300ppp quality. Ilumination, exposition, contrast, shadow, saturation and other similar adjustments are permited. Including or deleting elements in postproduction is not permited, as the aim of this contest is to show a reality. Photomontages, collages or combinations of other techniques with photography will not be accepted.


We have a jury with five members, each of them is an outstanding personality within their field. This is, either Photography, Architecture and Cooperation. We will anounce their names throughout the next month.

The winner in this competition will receive an amount of up to 3.000€  to develop a photographic project in any of the international sites where Arquitectura Sin Fronteras is carrying out their actions, in order to show the existing reality.

Besides, the winning picture will be used as image for a nationwide publicity campaign of sensibilization.

Go to the competition’s website