6th International Conference on Competitions, 27-29 October 2016

Call for Papers

6th International Conference on Architecture Competitions (ICC 2016)

The Competition Mesh: Experimenting With and Within Architecture Competitions

27-29 October 2016

School of Art, Architecture and Design, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds

Under the auspices of the RIBA competitions



Following successful previous conferences in Stockholm (KTH Royal Institute of Technology 2008), Copenhagen (Copenhagen Business School 2010), Montreal (University of Montreal 2012), Helsinki (Aalto University  School  of  Arts,  Design  and  Architecture 2012), and Delft (Delft Institute of Technology 2014), the purpose of ICC 2016 is to offer a window into current interdisciplinary research on the topic of architecture competitions. The series of conferences look at competitions as a specific field of knowledge in order to understand the competitions’ discourse and questioning historical and current aspects, presuppositions, concepts and practices.

The 6th international Conference on Competitions (ICC2016_UK) focuses on scrutinising and mapping the concept of experimentation within architecture competitions; It asks for papers that address (and probably extend the list of) the following categories and aspects of experimentation:

Procedural: referring to competition types (public, private, open, by invitation, etc.). For example, what are the similarities and differences between public and privately-driven and independent organisations/entities competition procedures in terms of organisational frameworks, briefs, aims, publicity, target groups of participants and publics, records of undertaken procedures, and most importantly, how may they promote experimentation? What are the emerging frameworks that may be detected?

Social: referring to the impact of competition procedures in terms of the resulting buildings and structures. What kind of design problems are competitions concerned with and how do they specify and alter social aspects and context? In other words, how do competition-generated buildings/structures take up and/or experiment by altering the features of an existing context? Do they reinforce, re-shape or create new material-human-technical-technological assemblages? Are human attachments and relations in the form of communities, interested groups and other complex conglomerations, taken into account in competitions briefs and resulting buildings and structures? Is there any intention to redesign matters of concern? Also, how do competitions promote and/or modify the status of the architectural profession and the role of the architect within current and past organisational structures of society?

Representational: referring to the representational ‘idioms’ used by architects and designers in contemporary design. How have these changed in relation to previous periods (as manifested in the framework of competitions), for what reasons and in what way are they currently being altered? How do competitions enhance, promote or follow changing trends in design representation and/or challenge the architectural representation of concepts or even produce representation-related concepts?

Political: referring on the one hand, to political structures (politics) and policies intertwined with competitions and competition-involved actors; how these have shaped decision-making structures corresponding to local and international architectural and urban design precedents? How historical, financial, ethical and political aspects have produced diverse competition traditions in the past and how have they changed during the course of the last decades. If the ‘political’ is understood on the other hand, in the context of current political theory as the ‘moment’ of change, how competitions have approached, questioned or enticed changing conditions in the past and are there any current trends in putting forward briefs, organisational structures, diversified actors, etc., that promote experimentation in order to re-orient the present? In recent years we have and continue to witness, a surge of competitions (or rather calls) which do not seek to produce a building or an architecture structure but aim instead to raise awareness and pinpoint current social, political, technological, etc., issues intertwined with the urban condition; these are usually initiated by independent entities and aim to entice experimentation by reformulating and resetting the very terms and conditions within which a problem is posed or arises.

It is the intention of the organisers to cover all aspects of architectural/design competitions’ experimentation and merge in the ICC2016 both a practice-oriented and theoretical approach to the subject by opening up this call for papers to independent actors/various entities as well as to professionals and scholars in the field. During the conference all voices can be heard and debate.

The conference also includes a professional organisations’ panel discussion, organised under the auspices of RIBA; In this session, RIBA and UIA speakers will consider the concept of experimentation as manifested within the RIBA UK client-driven and ‘pragmatist’ competitions approach and within the UIA ‘social’ and conceptual framework applied to the UIA worldwide competitions.

Key Dates

December 2015

Call for Papers

3 May 2016

Deadline for the submission of paper abstracts

13 June 2016

Notification of acceptance

4 September 2016

Deadline for the submission of full papers for circulation and comments

27-29  October 2016

27-28 October 2016 Conference at Leeds Beckett University
29 October 2016 Visit to London

After final submission the papers will be regrouped in sessions and sent for review to two other participants of each session. During the conference, session participants will act as discussants of the papers they reviewed, following the author’s presentation.


Rose Bowl, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds UK

RIBA Headquarters, London UK


Conference Fee

Full conference early booking (until 30 June 2016) - £160.00

Full conference - £220.00

Students/ PhD candidates full conference early booking (until 30 June 2016) - £90.00

Students/ PhD candidates full conference - £150.00


The fee covers the two days attendance including film screening on Thursday 27 October and dinner on Friday 28 October at Leeds Beckett University. Travel and accommodation in Leeds and to London are not included; arrangements must be made individually by the participants.

Organising committee

Maria Theodorou, Leeds School of Architecture

Antigoni Katsakou, Leeds School of Architecture

RIBA representative: Julia Davis, Business Manager, RIBA Competitions


Scientific committee

The conference Scientific Committee includes the following members of the international network of researches on competitions:

Jonas Andersson, Swedish Agency for Participation

Jean-Pierre Chupin, Université de Montréal

Antigoni Katsakou, Leeds School of Architecture

Magnus Rönn, KTH Stockholm

Torsten Schmiedeknecht, University of Liverpool

Maria Theodorou, Leeds School of Architecture

David Vanderburgh, Université Catholique de Louvain

Leentje Volker, Delft University of Technology


Preliminary Programme

Thursday 27 October 2016




Sessions at Leeds Beckett University

Film Screening- “The Competition”

Friday 28 October 2016




Sessions at Leeds Beckett University

Conference Dinner

Saturday 29 October 2016



London RIBA closing Event and London Walk- An Ever Changing Metropolis


Submission of abstract

Abstracts of no more than 300 words, by filling the abstract submission form available at the conference website, should be submitted as an attachment via email to icc2016@leedsbeckett.ac.uk by Tuesday 3 May 2016. Proposals may come from individuals or groups. For all participants, please include name, professional affiliation (if applicable), email address, contact number, and a short biographical note (max 100 words).

Please address all enquiries to the organising committee via email icc2016@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Conference Updates will be uploaded on the conference website in due course www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/icc2016


All conference abstracts will be printed and published online. Further publication options for all conference papers, such as hard copy conference proceedings, special issues in journals will be considered.

A number of conference papers (three - four) will be published in a RIBA publication/collection of essays under the same title as the conference. This is subject to a proposal which has been submitted to RIBA. The publication is scheduled to be launched in 2017.