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Future Architects writing competition now closed

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Eleanor Young

This year’s competition is now closed. For the winners and shortlisted writers check back

George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement prompted 2021 winner Sarah Maafi to write about racism and anti-racism in architecture
George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement prompted 2021 winner Sarah Maafi to write about racism and anti-racism in architecture Credit: Duffy Architects "Black Lives Matter" paint template (Instagram: @yesarchitects).

We live in turbulent times. Read what you, the architects of the future, think about it here. How will current affairs, protest, identity politics, climate emergency, technology and your local high street feed into our future buildings, our future places? How do we tackle homelessness, the struggling retail sector, schools under pressure? Can architects build a better metaverse? Are there design issues you yearn to celebrate, condemn, change?

Past winners of the Future Architects writing competition have drawn out lessons in multigenerational living from the film Parasite and asked deep questions about the possibility of anti-racism in architecture as a profession and beyond. Read more pieces for Future Writers here.

The award-winning RIBA Journal is now giving you the chance to have your say with a writing competition run in collaboration with RIBA Future Architects Network.

We want to hear from and feature the voice of architecture students and early career professionals (part 1, part 2 or studying for part 3) to showcase the voice of the next generation.

We are looking for bright, original submissions of 800-1,000 words that give an insight into design in the making – the ideas, strategies and techniques that go into making up architecture. Entries should be aligned with the three main sections of the RIBA Journal: Buildings, Intelligence and Culture. Articles should be in one of the following categories:

  • Building/place: A study of a building – new or refurbished – or place
  • Tech/practice: An informative piece on an industry innovation or hot topic for architects
  • People: A profile of a person or practice connected with architecture, in the UK or internationally

The judging panel, chaired by RIBA Journal contributing editor Chris Foges, will include professional architectural journalists and emerging architects.

This competition and RIBA Future Architects Network are designed to support, inspire and give a voice to architecture students, pre-qualification, and early career architecture professionals, as they transition from study to practice.

Future Architects is a way for emerging architects to engage with the profession at the start of their career and offers ongoing support throughout the educational journey.

Our writing competition deadline is Monday 4 April 2022 and the winning article(s) will be featured on The editors may also choose to publish them in the print edition of the RIBAJ, at their discretion.

Enter now 




1. Competition promoter

The competition is being run by the RIBA Journal in conjunction with the RIBA Future Architects Network.

2. Eligibility

The competition is open internationally to architecture students and early career professionals (part 1, part 2 or studying for part 3).

No member or employee of the promoting body, the evaluation panel, or any partner, close associate or employee of them is eligible to compete or assist a competitor.

3. Competition format

This is a single stage competition.

4. Judges’ decision

The judges’ decision as to winners and commendations is final. Judges are looking for three category winners and an overall winner and may also award commendations to pieces. Judges reserve the right to declare no winners if entries are of insufficient quality.

5. Evaluation panel

The evaluation panel is expected to be: 

Nana Biamah-Ofusu

Director, Studio NYALI

Sarah Maafi

Guest lecturer, Technical University of Munich, winner Future Architects writing competition 2021 and multi-award winning postgrad

Lucy Watson

Commissioning editor, Financial Times

Chris Foges

Contributing editor, RIBA Journal, chair of the panel

Eleanor Young 

Editor, RIBA Journal, longlister

In the event of an evaluation panel member being unable to continue to act through illness or any other cause, the RIBA reserves the right to appoint an alternative panel member.

6. Competition timetable

The anticipated programme, which may be subject to variation, is as follows:

Competition launch 

Thursday 3 February 2022

Submission deadline 

Monday 4 April 2022

14.00 UK time

Evaluation of designs with panel and winners agreed 

Tuesday 26 April 2022 

Email notification to winners 

Friday 13 May 2021 

Result announced on

Tuesday 19 May 2022

7. Disqualification

Submissions shall be excluded from the competition:

  • If an entrant improperly attempts to influence the decision
  • If received after the latest time stated under the Submission method (below)
  • If, in the opinion of the Evaluation Panel, it does not fulfil the requirements of the competition brief
  • If any of the mandatory requirements of the brief and conditions are disregarded.

8. Submission requirements

There are two elements to the submission:

  • Article
  • Image with caption and credit

9. Evaluation criteria

  • High quality writing
  • Engagement
  • Clarity
  • Currency of choice of subject

10. Notification of result / publication and publicity

Entrants must not release their articles for publication to any third parties until after the result has been officially announced. Entrants should note that by entering the competition they are expected to honour the request for confidentiality.

The RIBA reserves the right to publicise the competition, any article, and the result in any promotional activity, including all social media channels.

You and your collaborators grant to the Royal Institute of British Architects permission to reproduce the material supplied in all formats, in all media and on all platforms in perpetuity, in whole or in part without payment.

11. Copyright

The ownership of copyright will be in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 – ie copyright rests with the author of the submitted text and images.

12. Post competition

Winning articles will be published on and may also be published in the print edition of the RIBA Journal. Commended articles may be published. The winner will receive £400, commended entrants £150.

13. Enquiries

All enquiries relating to the competition should be directed to:

14. Data

Data will be held by RIBA for the purposes of recording participation in the Future Architects writing competition. The data will be kept throughout the duration of the competition for the purpose of contacting entrants with updates for the competition. This information will not be shared with any third party without the express and prior consent of the author. Read the RIBA’s privacy policy.


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