How to win an architecture competition? | Part 1
Architecture competitions are a huge opportunity that teaches you a lot that you cannot learn in architecture schools. They allow you to think freely, make your own decisions, and develop designs on many critical issues, without any pressure and limitations.
Even though we can learn a lot just by participating in a competition, we still look forward to winning. So, our question is: how to win an architecture competition? Here are 10 hashtags and several tips that you need to keep in mind:
#goal: Set your goal first!
Competitions require a lot of energy, time, cups of coffee, and not to mention sleepless nights. Besides, some of them also have high registration fees. While the effort you will show is so much, first of all, you should think about what you will gain in return. So, ask yourself: Why am I participating in the competition? What are my goals?
Everyone wants to win. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the competitions, there is a good chance that you may not win. While asking for higher results provides great motivation, thinking about other gains also greatly increases your interest in the competition. These goals vary from one person to another but there are a couple of examples such as strengthening your portfolio, developing your skills, finding new interests or escaping from everyday work or school, and designing without any pressure and constraint.
Basic goals will increase your chances of eliminating your competitors and standing out in the eyes of the jury, as they will enable you to make the right decisions for your design and increase your interest in your project. In short, if you set smaller goals for yourself besides prizes and money, you will always be the winner in the end.
#competition: Choose the right competition for your interest!
After setting your goals, it is easier to decide on the competition you will participate in. Considering your strengths and interests when choosing a competition will help you embrace the competition more and keep you motivated.
You can participate in a competition on the subjects you are interested in, show what you do best and improve your skillset. Or, if you have decided to learn something new, go for it! You may develop a design on a completely different subject than you used to work on and create new paths for yourself.
Check out our current competitions to see if anything that interests you.
#team: Build up your dream team!
Some people like to work alone, some more like to work in a team. While working alone has many positive aspects, working with a team is also a good choice as it creates a strong sharing environment for bouncing ideas off of someone else, reduces the workload, and brings many perspectives on the page.
When deciding on your team, you should analyze people’s strengths, interests, expectations from the competition, and characteristics. There can be several questions to ask yourself: Are you looking for a leader, someone to help you, someone with skills you don’t have, or someone you can work with easily? How many people need to work on the proposal according to the workload of the competition? How will you decide on your roles and responsibilities?
Answering several important questions about your team before starting to work on the competition will not only speed up the designing process but also, with the right people, it will facilitate this tiring process.
#requirements: Read the requirements carefully!
Goals have been determined, the team has been formed and you select the most suitable competition for you. Don’t you think that now, it is time to dive in, designing your concept right away? Not so fast!
The most important thing you need to do before proceeding to the design process is to carefully read the brief of the competition and follow the requirements. These are the minimum features and functions expected of a submission. They provide a base for your design and a bit of preparation for you to think. The last thing you want is for your design to be eliminated because it didn’t follow the basic submission requirements or realizing that you have misunderstood something after working on it for a long time.
Once you have a good understanding of what is expected from the participants, check the timetable and, if necessary, make a schedule for yourself. In this way, you will not fall into a rush on the last day of submission. It is also useful to remember to check the brief a few more times during your preparation for the competition.
#research: Research first, dive into next!
In this period when a concept is slowly starting to form and develop in your mind, the most useful thing that can help you is to do research. Doing your homework on the topic of the competition before fully committing to the design process will help you a lot in your further thinking process.
In addition to researching the exact subject of the competition, you can check the designs made on similar topics of the competition, too. If there are competitions organized by the organization before, examining the winners’ submissions and determining the work areas of the jury, the concepts they are interested in, and their design approaches can also facilitate your decisions and design process.
Exciting? Wait for part 2!
While waiting, check out our newly announced competition Non Architecture Award for unbuilt projects!