Architects are often at a loss at understanding how they compare with others in the field. Competitions allow for both architects and students to compete at a global scale through open-ended briefs usually targeted at individuals with similar interests and skill sets. 

In a world of education and resource inequality, competitions make for a welcome even playing field. An important trait that has already played a vital role in the industry. Some of the best architects the discipline has to offer, like Norman Fosterhave competitions to thank for increased recognition, appreciation, and ultimately, demand for their work in the industry. 

Norman Foster, for example, experienced a substantial and no doubt, well-deserved change in his career trajectory after his entry won the commission for the HSBC bank headquarters building.  

Here are upcoming architecture competitions in 2021:

1. The New 2021 Bauhaus Campus For Students

The competition for the new campus for the iconic Bauhaus school is anchored in the understanding of a very apparent disconnect between the underlying founding principles of Walter Gropius and the contemporary architecture teaching methodologies of today. 

Although certain aspects of the aforementioned founder, like mass manufacture based on Fordism and Taylorism are now extremely outdated in an increasingly humane world, the competition intends to capitalize on still relevant and highly welcome principle of all arts coming together to establish individuality in craftsmanship and design which was also established by him, on his return from the world war. 

Open only to current students, participation enables access to free online lectures from the school and in a welcome exception, equity-based entry fee calculation, based on the country of study, to guarantee equal affordability for all.

2. Students Reinventing Cities

Students reinventing cities is a competition conducted and led by C40, a group of cities including the likes of Washington DC, Delhi, Buenos Aires, and Paris; that is committed to taking bold climate action to prevent further climate change. 

The imperative is to bring students and academic institutions to the table in order to set up guidelines for fifteen-minute cities and twenty-minute neighborhoods to increase the use of public transport and reduce pollution. 

Students are to submit entries by working on live projects in a variety of international cities while responding to the individual site context and conditions for every case.

3. Politics, Protest, And Place – A Call For An Inclusive Urban Realm

The competition recognizes and attempts to spur the resolution of the issue of a lack of spaces to display public descent in a democracy. The brief also notes how, in the civilizations of the past, such as the Romans who had provisioned large gathering spaces like Agoras, for people to spontaneously gather and offer public descent. 

It states that now, however, our cities have transitioned to small spaces with focused programming with a greater amount of surveillance and security. Privatization and its importance over the community and the surrounding public are rightly shown to override the necessary large open-access spaces with privatized land in cities. 

Citing the brilliant and historic Black Lives Matter Movement, the brief calls for participants across professions to once again bring these places of gathering and protest back into the fabric of modern cities. Something that will be required more and more as the pandemic wears on and the wild societal and systemic disparity in terms of income, opportunities, and whatnot come to the forefront for a democracy’s masses to witness. 

4. No Waste Challenge

The competition is presented by What Design Can Do and the IKEA Foundation. Unique in its vision and ideology, the brief seeks to address the missing link between the economies of waste in current times that financially reward unsustainable practices like fast fashion, with climate change, and the emergence of pandemics thriving off of polluted and ecologically weakened natural ecosystems. 

A call for action and ideas for the immediate induction of ecologically sensitive supply chains and buying habits is made to prospective applicants across disciples such as communication, product design, architecture, and system integration.

5. Tree House Park Design Competition For Young Architects

The competition is organized by the Istanbul-based GAD foundation in partnership with Ege Yapi and Casper Computer. The brief calls for young architects to envision viable tree houses in an urban setting in an attempt to bring humans closer to nature. 

The competition is based on a site near Istanbul and also calls for architectural ideas from programs that can take place in frosted and nature reserve areas across the city while maintaining harmony with the current natural habitat; thereby seamlessly integrating with the ecosystem. The winning entrants will receive besides a cash prize and invitation to build their proposed design. 

6. Bauhaus Conceptual Design Style

Organized by Artuminate, the competition calls for prospective entrants to their understanding of the Bauhaus design style. History agnostic and purely functional at the time of its inception, participants are asked to exercise a modern take on the iconic design style via a write-up and mood board and a conceptual design development based on the same. 

The competition has no entry fees in a welcome exception and offers extensive publication and recognition to the makers of the winning entry. 

7. Tiny Library 2021 

Organized by Volume Zero the brief calls for designing what is essentially a small public library. Local participation across age groups with multilayered community-building programs and initiatives to foster the growth of groups of like-minded individuals is given special importance. 

Also conveyed is the need for a low-cost, low-maintenance building design with energy-efficient services; all of which is to bolster community affordability in post-pandemic times. Site location remains flexible as per participant requirements and judgment. 

However, one is required to submit the footprint area for the proposed building design for efficacy calculation by jury members.

8. Container City – Designing A Modular Lifestyle

Organized by UNYT, the competition calls for using shipping containers for space creation. Already widely prevalent in the defense and construction industry, the brief presents the incentive of using it for student housing to challenge the apparent space crunch now faced in urban areas. 

Participants are allowed to use a maximum of fifteen shipping containers while noting that no more than four can be stacked on top of one another. Modularity and replicability in building design are encouraged. 


An architect that is in pursuit of achieving a responsive architecture user-interface by studying interdependent disciplines. A liberal, an academician, and a rarely funny person who believes that engaging in regular discourse can benefit today's architecture.