deadline today! 99+ stories on making architectural competitions

Posted on: 16th February 2015

Architectural and competitive practices across Europe: challenged and topically presented by wonderland

The architectural platform wonderland invites to the exhibition opening of „Deadline Today!“ on June 17, and talks competion trends over on June 18 at the symposium „Making Competitions“ at Architekturzentrum Vienna.


On the role of competitions in architecture, the European architectural platform wonderland presents the results of an Europe-wide call for models from June 18 to July 20 at the Architekturzentrum Vienna (Az W), entitled „Deadline Today! 99 stories on making architectural competitions“. The platform is based in Vienna, but positions itself as clearly European. wonderland’s exhibition concept rests upon a study of competitions’ influence on current architectural practice. Models and individual stories of architect’s offices from all over Europe are displayed, as is their experimental and innovative handling of comepetition calls.

Silvia Forlati of SHARE architects and chairwoman of wonderland emphasises the potential of competitions: “A win can turn an architect’s office into a success story overnight. Winning a competition does not only mean new assignments in the end. It is also a chance to snowball within a day, to become part of a completely different national context, or to evolve into a specialist.”

A good example are Irish architects Róisín Heneghan and Shih-Fu Peng, who successfully conluded the competition for the Grand Egyptian Museum Kairo as one out of over 1.500 submissions in 2003. With an introductory lecture, heneghan.peng.architects will open the exhibition at Az W on June 17 at 7 p.m.

The effort put in the competitive practice by architect’s offices is generally very high. Therefore it is necessary to reflect on the realities of the system. That is what wonderland is trying to do with „Deadline Today! 99 stories on making architectural competitions“. The exhibition offers a snap-shot of the role and purpose of competitions within the current European architectural practice.

Georg Pendl, President of the Federal Chamber of Architects and Engineers and chairman of the work group competitions at ACE (Architects’ Council of Europe), expressly underlines the international aspect: “This project is unique because of its first-time thematic European-wide collection of examples and experiences in the area of architectural competitions. It is excellent to have received submissions from almost every country. This project achieved something that we, as trade association on a European level, have not yet accomplished. A scientific treatment ought to follow as a next step, but these interesting highlights are already a basic contribution to the future of competition systems.”

Roland Gruber from the office nonconform architektur vor ort and wonderland board member describes the individual experiences in European competition practice, and thus the background of the exhibition: “For many young offices competitions are the only way to receive bigger assignments. Many stories of ‘Deadline Today!’ show that a won competition is reason enough to launch an office of one’s own. But that is not the bottom line. The way to the realisation is a long and hard one, again and again, if finally reached at all. It is yet another, completely different thing to have won a competition in another country.”

At the English-speaking symposium “Making Competitions: Within the limits / Beyond the limits” on June 18, likewise at Az W, international competition participants, jurors, organisations issuing the invitation to bid, and wonderland team members report and discuss to what extent competitions can secure assignments, which competition should be favoured, and what framework is provided for architects in a Europe-wide comparison. Anne Isopp, architecture journalist, points out the topicality of the symposium: “The spectrum of competition types in Europe is wide: it reaches from open to closed, from single-level to multi-level, and requires various qualifications of the participants. Cross-border projects can additionally open up potential markets and help architect’s offices to reach a new dimension and publicity. These aspects will be discussed at the symposium, as well as the questions: How open are those systems anyway? When, or in which competitions should small start-up offices participate?”
wonderland especially examines the strategic decisions undertaken in practice: Have the competition rules been respected, or is it ultimately more promising to disobey the barriers and guidelines a little.

Important Dates:

Press Breakfast

wonderland Exhibition and Symposium

Date:                         June 17, 2009, 10 a.m.

Place:                         Architekturzentrum Wien

At the podium:        

Arch. Dr. Silvia Forlati, Chairwoman wonderland.

Mag.arch. MBA Roland Gruber, Board Member wonderland.

Arch. DI Georg Pendl, Chairman of the work group competitions at ACE (Architects’ Council of Europe) and President of the Federal Chamber of Architects and Engineers.

DI MAS Anne Isopp, architecture journalist, wonderland member

N.N. member of an international architect’s office

In case you want to participate in the press breakfast, please accredit yourself until
June 16, 2009, at Ulrike Kahl, juicy pool. communication: [email protected] or
+43 1 481 54 54 75.


wonderland Exhibition

“Deadline Today! 99 stories on making architectural competitions”

Duration:               June 18 – July 20, 2009
Place:                    Architekturzentrum Wien – Alte Halle
Opening Hours:      daily 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Tickets:                 EUR 5,00 / EUR 3,50 concessions
Opening:              Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 7 p.m.

with opening event by heneghan.peng.architects: “Transparency”, subsequent summer party


wonderland Symposium

“Making competitions: Within the limits / Beyond the limits”

Date:                         Thursday, June 18, 2009

11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Place:                   Architekturzentrum Wien

Admission:            free – including free exhibition access

Course of Events:   

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.:Competition systems: Searching for the right one…

2:30 – 4 p.m.:         European visions – Is the European system a chance for new-comers?

4:30 – 6 p.m.:         Winning strategies: What is needed to make a winner?

Participants:            Thomas Maibaum (DE), lawyer and legal adviser for Federal Chamber of German Architects.

Georg Pendl (AT), Chairman of the work group competitions at ACE (Architects’ Council of Europe).

Carlos Arroyo Zapatero (ES), architect and member of Europan – Europe Scientific Committee.

Walter Chramosta (AT), architecture critic and consultant for competition matters.

Rob Docter (NL), President of the European Forum for Architectural Policies.

Sándor Finta (HU), architect and member of the Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre.

Wolfdieter Dreibholz (AT), architect, CEO Coop Himmelb(l)au.

Hans Ibelings (NL), author and publisher of A10 magazine.

as well as numerous ambassadors of European wonderland teams


wonderland Exhibition and Symposium take place in cooperation with bAIK – Federal Chamber of Architects and Engineers, Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre – KÉK, Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) – special work group for competitions as well as European Forum for Architectural Policies (EFAP).

Supported by Architekturzentrum Wien.