Architecture Competitions For Students

Architecture Competitions For Students




Architecture competitions can be greatly beneficial for students as they can help to inspire creativity, enhance architectural design skills and provide future opportunities. 

There are a broad range of architecture competitions available from all across the globe. Some are entirely conceptual while others offer the potential of being constructed.

Architecture competitions include impressive as well as challenging briefs that will surely put your problem solving skills to the test. They are often run in short structured time frames that can go from a set number of hours to weeks and even months.

In this blog post we will go through some of the benefits of entering architecture competitions for architecture students.

Scroll to the end to download this article as a handy PDF guide!

Exploring ideas

Exploring ideas
By entering one of these architecture competitions you can have the chance to experiment with new ideas, concepts, contexts, materials and so much more. There’s lots of fun to be had pursuing your architectural passions and curiosities.

Architecture competitions may help you explore past ideas that you haven’t been able to fully resolve or they can help open doors to new ideas that may help you out, further along in the future.

It could also be a refreshing exercise to partake in if you have been experiencing a creative block of some sort.

Inspiring briefs

Inspiring briefs
Architecture competitions often have thought provoking briefs that are particularly designed to trigger your imagination. All your architectural knowledge and design skills will be thoroughly tested as you come up with solutions to some unique design scenarios. 

Working on such conceptual and less restrictive design briefs could benefit the way you approach your real world projects. 

Honing skills

Honing skills
Architecture competitions can be a fantastic way to brush up on your creative skills. Everything from your concept development to the way you choose to present your final design idea, will be judged by the competition jury. So you will have the chance to practise your entire design process.

You can even pick specific skills that you would like to master by participating in an architecture competition. For instance you might want to work individually to enhance your rendering skills or you might want to work with a group of people to polish your collaborative skills. Having clear goals can make achieving them a lot easier. 

In a way it is like investing your time for some architecture skill development. Look at it as a chance to grow as an architectural professional.

As there will be strict deadlines for the architecture competitions, you will have to work efficiently under pressure to produce innovative design solutions. This will be useful practice for when you will have to work on projects that run for a similar duration as the architecture competition in the future. 

With the short time limits, architecture competitions can be the best opportunities for you to identify and refine your design process. Doing this will help you know your strengths and weaknesses moving forward. 

Variety of choice

Variety of choice
You have the opportunity to choose an architecture competition on a topic that you would like learning about. 

It could be a topic you are familiar with so as to explore a different design response, or one that is completely new to you to challenge yourself. You can even pick a topic based on your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe your strength lies in working in an urban context, why not try and participate in an architecture competition that deals with a rural context?

Building experience

Building experience
With the diverse topics on offer, you may decide to enter architecture competitions to learn how to work with a certain site, client, landscape, building typology etc to fill in the gaps in your portfolio or skill set. 

Since it can be hard to gain this sort of experience while in architecture school or when you are in the process of looking for a job, architecture competitions can be perfect to keep you busy. 

Regardless of where you are in your architecture career, participating in an architecture competition can be a splendid opportunity to let those creative sparks fly.

Also if you are particularly interested in working for a firm that is known to partake in competitions or has a dedicated competitions team in their office, getting experience through a handful of architecture competitions may be greatly beneficial.

It could also be that you want to work in a specific country, so entering an architecture competition based in that country might help you familiarise with the context and add to your design knowledge. This can show that you are willing to take initiative and improve yourself as a designer.

The long term benefits would be that you will have accumulated design knowledge working with various different contexts and site conditions which could really come to your aid as a designer. 


Win win
Winning an architecture competition can be quite the achievement. It may help bring your work some well-deserved recognition, not to mention a glistening addition to your CV. Also depending on the competition, the prizes on offer could be quite rewarding.

However even if you don’t win, it can be an equally interesting learning opportunity. If it is your first ever architecture competition, you will have unlocked a new experience and it will have taught you a lot. 

Many architecture competitions will have juries that are composed of architecture professionals from across the globe. It would be a great honour to have your work critiqued by them. And if feedback is guaranteed, they may leave you with some invaluable insights and tips that you might not have been familiar with before. This could be super helpful for future endeavours. 

An added bonus of doing an architecture competition is that all the work you would have produced can be showcased in your portfolio. 

Also once the results are out, you will have an opportunity to be inspired by the different approaches that your peers or fellow competitors would have taken to the same design problem. 

You will have exercised your creative brain, ready to take on your next design challenge. Who knows it might even be another architecture competition.

Presentation is key

Presentation is key
As you may already be aware, architecture competition boards tend to be carefully curated and aesthetically pleasing. Therefore presentation is absolutely key for your architecture competition boards. 

Architecture competitions could be good places to test out graphic styles that you may have been wanting to try but haven’t found the right context/project for.

However as these competitions mostly span a very short amount of time, it can prove difficult to design every single aspect of your submission from concept to final presentation. Worry not! Our super helpful Architecture Presentation Board Templates are great to save you a huge amount of time. All you need to do is insert your images and text into the designated placeholders.

Architecture Presentation Board Templates Bundle
The bundle has 14 templates in total that all have differing fonts, layouts, and orientations. They can easily be adapted to suit your own style and altered according to your own projects. 
Landscape Template Example
Portrait Textured Background Example
Landscape Textured Background Example
Portrait Template Example
We have also included some textured backgrounds to help you experiment.
Textured Backgrounds Collage 1
Textured Backgrounds Collage 2

Word of caution

Word of caution
Now that we have gone through the many benefits of participating in architecture competitions, it is also crucial that you do your own research before choosing one to allocate your precious time and design energy to. 

Once you find an architecture competition on a topic that interests you, thoroughly read through all the information provided such as the eligibility requirements, briefs, terms and conditions etc. Some competitions may require entry fees, so evaluate whether these could be the right choice for you. Ensure that feedback is guaranteed on the work you submit, if you look forward to it. 

In addition to this, look for some line of communication with the architecture competition providers in case you have any questions or queries regarding the submission. Usually these competitions have set deadlines before they stop answering questions so make sure you know when that is.

Where to find architecture competitions?

Architecture competitions come in quite a wide variety from all around the world. So, there are lots of intriguing topics, themes, and contexts to choose from. 


The following is a list of websites where you can find some architecture competitions:

They even have a yearbook if you’d like to check it out:


Here is a list of some popular architecture competitions that are run on a yearly basis:


RIBA President’s Medals

If your architecture school takes part in the RIBA President’s Medals, it could be a great opportunity to have your work nominated for an award. There are three categories as follows:

RIBA Dissertation Medal

RIBA Bronze Medal (Part 1)

RIBA Silver Medal (Part 2)  

So, as you work on your architecture school projects, keep in mind that your design could be chosen for the award. Try to produce the best you can. No pressure!

The President’s Medal website is also a great place to get inspiration with their vast collection of architecture student projects from previous years. Check it out:

You might also be interested in:


We have loads of other amazing architecture content. Be sure to check it out:

Architecture Presentation Board Tips FI
Best fonts for architects FI

Download the Guide!


Download this helpful article as a pdf to keep for reference later.



We hope this post helps you consider entering an architecture competition.

Thank you for reading! 🙂



Your Comments


Have you participated in an architecture competition? What was your key takeaway, let us know in the comments below.

Also, feel free to share some tips on entering architecture competitions.

Thank you!



Written by Valanne Fernandes, a Part 1 Architecture graduate. Valanne is a content creator with First In Architecture, spending her time researching, writing and designing inspiring new content for the website.

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