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Have your say: enter our Future Architects writing competition

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Eleanor Young

What do you think about our built environment and where it’s going? What concerns do you have for the future of the profession as you move from education to practice? What people and places inspire or appal you? Write it down – and we’ll publish it

Could something like the film Parasite inspire you to write on architecture as it did with 2019 winner Sam Winton.
Could something like the film Parasite inspire you to write on architecture as it did with 2019 winner Sam Winton. Credit: Vogue

The world has changed a lot in 2020. What do you, the architects of the future, think about it? Do you have burning things to say about architecture in the context of Covid, climate change or Black Lives Matter? How do we tackle homelessness, the struggling retail sector, schools under pressure? What makes efficient practice, how do we best serve our clients and users, diversify and expand the profession and its reach? Are there design issues you yearn to celebrate, condemn, change?

The award-winning RIBA Journal is 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, insightful, original submissions of 800 – 1,000 words 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, UK or internationally

The judging panel, chaired by RIBA Journal acting editor Eleanor Young, 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 Friday 19 February 2021 and the winning article(s) will be featured on The editors may choose to also 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.

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: 

Shawn Adams 

POoR Collective, RIBAJ Rising Star and New Architecture Writers alumni

Wajiha Afsar

Atkins Global and commendation-winner Future Architects writing competition 2020 

Lucy Watson

Commissioning editor, Financial Times

Eleanor Young

Acting editor, RIBA Journal, chair of the panel

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 

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Submission deadline 

Friday 19 February 2021

14.00 UK time

Evaluation of designs with panel and winners agreed 

Thursday 4 March 2021 

Email notification to winners 

Friday 19 March 2021 

Result announced on

Tuesday 23 March 2021 


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

The competition results will be published after all entrants have been notified.

Entrants must not release their articles for publication to any third parties until after the result has been officially announced and permission has been granted from the RIBA. 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 in each category will be published on and may also be published in the print edition of the RIBA Journal. Commended articles may be published.

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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