When an architect is presented to an architectural contest, a process that has nothing to do with the development of a project is activated.

The technical development of the project is a more automated process.

To take part in a competition is something that comes from the heart Click To Tweet

It is comparable to the birth of a child with his growth and development. Something happens in architectural contest. Even if you have participated many times, you always feel those butterflies in the stomach. You feel them when you start looking for the brilliant solution, but also when you finish the presentation and you deliver the work in the last minute of the last day.

It is the result of a very intimate process that seeks success. You must take care of all aspects of it and one of the main, are the images of the project.

In my opinion these are the 5 aspects that you have to take into account when preparing images for your proposal:

1 | Establish your own style

Although the trend is the disappearance of the style, I think that the personal architect brand is something that should be continually claimed. Your proposal is part of you and that is to be shown.

If you have not found your own style you have to investigate, do tests, find out. It is a task that can take years and, in many cases, is not achieved.

But please do not resort to outdated stereotypes. People are tired of seeing images of buildings with pictures of people out of scale in black and white.

Your images are like your wearing style. If you want you can make all your clothes to be black and go out with interesting face thinking “people realize I’m an architect”. If you want to you can present these images and get comfortable in front of other colleagues because you believe you are cool.

But, sorry, you’re not.

Apart from those looking for that style, there are those who, due to technical limitations, they cannot choose another. I do this because it seems outstanding and I don’t know do to anything better.

To get out of this situation there are two ways:

Learn or hire someone who knows.

Both options are valid. Good visualization companies capture what you want and know how to do it.

As you secure this collaborative relationship, everything will be more agile and your imagination will be broken free.

Learning requires more time and resources. You will just know which fits your situation better. In addition, this style can be variable depending on the competition and even on the composition of the jury.




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2 | Define the key points of your project specifically for the architectural contest

It is the main point of your presentation.

Remember that there will be many proposals besides yours.

You have to emphasize the differences in those aspects of the project that seem fundamental to turn your proposal unique.

Many times it is done in reverse. It is a common mistake. You want to explain with the same intensity all aspects of the project.

The error comes from not to take the place of the jury’s architectural contest. They are a group of people who have to analyze different solutions of the same problem. There might be more o less brilliant, but in general there are more from the second ones. Or you make your project stand out in something or you will disappear on the first riddle.

Stand up. Reflect and choose “the plus +” of your project.

Then you think about how you’re going to highlight graphically.

Architectural proposal resume plan

3 | Decide the number of images and points of view that you need

As you know, the visualization of a project is divided into two main parts:

  • the 3d model creation, the texturing and the illumination..
  • the visualization of the model

Both sides from the process are very hard.
Because we are human, it takes too much and after that effort, we give up the most common errors in architectural contest:

doing too many images.

“As it is already done, I show it from all possible points of view and to reach a better understanding of all the virtues of my project”

I insist: this is a big mistake.

What it is really got is the dispersion of the attention.

Any project cannot stand to be seen from more than 6-8 viewpoints. Click To Tweet

I would say that it is preferable to make a single image before making a second pointless.
Check out any architecture magazine and see the care that exists in the choice of views.

That same rigor is what should guide us in two fundamental decisions:

  1. To clearly define the key points of our project
  2. To choose the minimum number of images that define such key points

It uses an homogeneous graph throughout your presentation that transmit the author’s brand in the images and drawings and cross your fingers until the jury reaches its decision of the architectural contest.

4 | Save time for the images’ execution

Another common error that can only be fixed with experience is not to plan a strict schedule, the schedule of this architecture competition.

That schedule must look at each part of the process.

All are important and its accomplishment is a key to success.

To think that is more important to dedicate all the time to the project’s development and leave the presentation as a secondary action will make our proposal, although it is very bright, not to stand out from the others by appearing as vulgar or little worked.

Losers often accuse the winning projects of visual spectacles without project behind. I’m not saying they’re right sometimes, but if you want to get a good success rate when compete,

do not hesitate: take time for your presentation.

5 things to consider in your images for a architectural contest Click To Tweet

You will have always more options as long as the project provides value.

It will depend on the size of the project, but at least you should consider between 6 and 12 days to generate both images and panels.

One last tip: do not be too strict on that information is consistent between drawings and images. Nobody will notice and the extra time you will have will be a plus.

5 | Avoid a fixed price

I always do the same simile when I try to explain the effort involved when you take part in architectural competitions:

It is a lottery in which raffle ticket costs a month’s work.

Your study has to assess the costs involved in that investment. Although it is likely you will be able to combine the competition with some other job that generates income, it is realistic to think around a month of almost exclusive dedication of the entire team.

If you’re not going to create the images in the study, you must negotiate a price linked to success.
We have used for many years the following formula.
You have two options when hiring our services:


WITHOUT RISK, the images you want have a X cost


TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS, your pictures will cost you X / 2 but, yes, if you win the contest you will pay me 2X

For a long time, we offered our services using this method.
Architects gambled for you and you for them. When they won, all we won.

I hope you will find these tips handy at least to reflect.

I wish you luck ?in your next architectural contest.

Maybe, you could be interested in this other article : What do you need to win an architectural competition?