Showing – Alternative Designs for Museums 


The aim of the “Showing” competition is to develop a design proposal for the museum typology, intended as a place of display for objects and/or concepts of interest. It is asked to the participants to create innovative and unconventional projects on this theme, questioning the very basis of the notion of museums. Many architecture and design projects have already proposed new ways to experience the museum, establishing the architecture of the museum itself as a piece of art and object of display, or defining new ways of interaction and experience with the public. In addition, numerous initiatives experimented on the social and educational role of the exhibition space, innovating content, as well as the way it is produced and selected. With similar creative attitude the participants are urged to create an artefact, merging considerable programmatic innovation and valuable design tools. The proposal can be a device, a piece of furniture, an interior design project, a pavilion, a building or a urban plan. Scale of intervention, program dimensions and location are not given and they can be arranged by the participants to better suit their project.

Some basic useful topics of investigation to approach the competition theme can already be deduced from the definition of “museum”:

museum noun [C] 

A building or place where works of art, scientific specimens, or other objects of permanent value are kept and displayed.

As follows, very essential aspects of the conventional museum can be questioned.

– Can a museum be something different than a traditional building or place? Cain it be a network in the city rather than one single construction? Or can it be reduced to a smaller space, like a single room, a pavilion, or just one object?

– What kind of value should the content of the museum have? What should a museum give to society? Or how can a community contribute to the museum? Should a collection be organized over historical, artistic and scientific values, in order to educate the visitors? Or should it be entertaining, in order to generate engagement and participation?

 Should a museum be exclusively a space for keeping and displaying objects, or should it become an interactive and participatory environment? Could a museum exist without objects for display, considering the experience of the building itself as the main content? Or should it become instead an invisible background for the collection, almost disappearing to avoid distracting the visitors from the content displayed?

These are the questions to suggest to the participants as possible fields of investigation. Each project can tackle one or more of the issues suggested, as well as raising new ones in relation to the competition topic. Just try to be as creative and unconventional as possible.

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Non Architecture Competitions are open to all human beings, from every age and cultural background, working in groups or individually. Teams can be formed by a maximum number of 5 people. The registration fee is paid per team, regardless of how many members form it. Personal information of all the team members can be uploaded during the submission procedure.


Non Architecture Competitions wants to be unconventional also in the way it rewards its participants. There will be in fact three winners. In addition 9 honourable mentions will be awarded. Each one of the 3 jury members will select one winner and four honourable mentions.

The prizes are the following:

– WINNERS (3 Prizes): 1.000 euros, publication in the Non Architecture Competitions books and website, and reviews in digital magazines and several architecture blogs.

– HONOURABLE MENTIONS (9 Prizes): Publication in the Non Architecture Competitions books and website, and reviews in digital magazines and several architecture blogs.

– FINALISTS: Publication in the Non Architecture Competitions books.

*Publications are subject to the agenda and availability of the magazines.

*Depending on which country you live and pay taxes in, the cash prizes might be subject to some withholding.

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Project requirements

No scale or location.

In asking for an unconventional approach, we are also providing one. The rules of the competition and its organization will not limit, but rather allow for the freedom to approach each topic as the participant sees fit.

Therefore there are no given site, scale of intervention or exact program dimensioning. Projects can be developed in abstract locations as well as specific places, and they can go from the scale of interior design to urban strategies. Just remember that every proposal should be focused on a very specific condition, showing one simple concept, clearly communicated and fully developed.

Presentation Requirements

Non Architecture is also unconventional in its submission requirements, not asking for posters or booklets. The participants are in fact asked to submit one ZIP folder, named with the code and the title of the project (CODE_ Title), containing:

– A presentation image (JPEG), showing the qualities of your design, in one catchy and representative impression. This file must be named as follows: “CODE Title of the project_Presentation” (check some examples here).

– A technical image (JPEG), showing in a 2d drawing a specific technical/organizational aspect of the project. This file must be named as follows: “CODE Title of the project_Technical” (check some examples here).

– A functional image (JPEG), showing a specific functional peculiar aspect of the project. This file must be named as follows: “CODE_Title of the project Functional” (check some examples here).

– A Word Document with a subtitle for the project (max 10 words) and a short description (max 200 words). The text must be written in English. This file must be named as follows: “CODE_Title of the project_Text”.

– A Word Document with the following information: Name Surname of the team members (every person should be separeted by a comma), Nationality (multiple options can be added), institutions (Company or university attended, to be included just in case you want it to be visible once your project is published). The text must be written in English. This file must be named as follows: “CODE Title of the project_Team”.

EVERY SUBMISSION HAS TO BE ANONYMOUS, so do not include your name, your submission code, or any other reference to you in the texts or in the images. After being evaluated, the projects will be reconnected to their authors through the identification code. Additional details on the team members and on the projects will be required during the submission procedure.

All the images must be A4 ,300 dpi, Portrait (Vertical). The size it is meant to be a frame for your work, so there is no need to completely fill the layout with images. Try to convey in each file one specific idea in one simple image. Avoid to overcrowd it with too much material. IMAGES ARE NOT MEANT TO BE POSTERS. Each one means one single content, SO FOR EVERY IMAGE YOU CAN INCLUDE JUST ONE SINGLE VISUALIZATION (ex. one drawing or one rendering). Check our Pinterest reference boards for some examples.

The images do not demand for any kind of specific technique of representation, as long as they respect the guidelines given. They can be technical drawings, diagrams, collages, pictures, renders, models, paintings or hand drawings.

We highly recommend to include texts just when it is extremely necessary, and leave the Word document for further explainations. The projects should be explanatory enough through the graphic material. Eventual drawings titles and notes must be written in English ONLY. Any text written in a different language will not be taken into account and may lead to a team’s disqualification. In the same way every submission which doesn’t respect the guidelines given might be disqualified.


1-15 June Special registration period

16 June – 15 July Early registration period

16 July – 15 Aug. Regular registration period

16-27 August Late registration period

15 August Submission section open on your personal account page

31 August Submission Deadline (23:59 GMT 0)

19-24 September Winners announcement

19 September Call for Materials for book starts

19 September Call for Materials for book ends

1 January The “Showing – Alternative designs for museums” book available

The timing always refers to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT 0).


The entry periods will be divided as follows:

1-15 June Special registration period 30 €*

16 June. – 15 July Early registration period 45 €*

16 July – 15 Aug. Regular registration period 60 €*

16-27 August Late registration period 75 €*

*Registration prices include VAT (value added tax).

The timing always refers to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT 0).

The registration fee is per team, regardless of how many members are on the team.

If a team wants to submit more than one proposal to the competition they will have to register each proposal separately and pay an additional fee for each proposal they wish to submit.

For a project to be accepted the team must be properly registered to the competition. All registrations will be done through the Non Architecture website (, where you have to create an account, log in and choose your payment option.

All the payments will be organized through our Paypal profile, in order to provide the safest procedure to all the participants. Payments will be available for Paypal accounts and credit cards. In case you do not have a Paypal account, the credit card payment will be automatically made available.

After completing the payment, you will recieve a first email from Paypal in order to confirm the transacrion. Non architecture will later accept your payment and provide you with a regristration code. Before that happens, your payment will be kept on hold and you will be able to cancel your purchase any time you want without any adding cost. When your payment will be accepted, you will automatically receive a confirmation e-mail from Non Architecture Competitions, and you will not be able to cancel your subscription anymore. In the e-mail you will also find your registration code. It’s important to keep this registration code in a safe place since it will allow your team to access the intranet where you’ll have access to the upload form to submit your project.

In case Paypal it is not available in your country contact us at


Submissions must be done through the Non Architecture Competitions’ intranet only, before the date indicated on the competition calendar. A log in section will be opened 2 weeks before the deadline. You must log in with your username and password and follow the upload process. No submissions will be accepted by e-mail or any other medium. The submission page will be automatically closed after the submission date and time are reached, not allowing any modifications or aggregations after that, so please, try to upload your project 24 hours in advance so that you have time to solve any issues that might come up along the way (they always do!).

Evaluation Criteria

The core values of the Non Architecture Competitions are:

– Innovation – In terms of program management, technology and originality of the formal solution proposed.

– Communication – Clarity, appeal and experimentation in the presentation of the proposal.

– Feasibility – Realism of the proposal, in strict terms of technology, costs and management.

These values will lead the selection of the finalists projects and they will be used by the jury as a guideline in their decision.

Remember that this a competition of ideas, an opportunity to experiment and explore the limits of architecture. The jury reserves the right to award any proposal that fails at any of the parameters mentioned in these rules, as long as it justifies the breach of the rule in favour of the value of the proposal.

The voting system to choose the winning projects is as follows:

  1. Non Architecture Competitions team, following the main values of the competition, will make an initial selection of 50 finalist projects in response to the above criteria. The amount of pre-selected projects can slightly vary according to the judgment of the pre-selection team.
  2. The members of the jury will study the pre-selected projects privately and decide winners and honourable mentions. Each jury member will autonomously award one winning prize and three honourable mentions.

In order to guarantee the authenticity of the awarding process the prizes selection can not be appealed.