Competitions and Design Reviews

Competitions and Design Reviews

RIAI Competitions

The RIAI is a champion for quality and sustainability in the built environment.  We engage with government, stakeholders and the public and have been successfully running architectural design competitions for over 20 years with great outcomes. The RIAI provides a full range of competition services to assist public and private clients who wish to run an architectural design competition.

Why run an architectural design competition?

Architectural design competitions are among the most effective ways to achieve excellence in building and community design. They are quality focused and yield optimal concepts and plans for a given building programme, planning or landscape design task. Because they are based solely on the quality of proposed solutions, focused on the specific needs of a carefully defined project, competitions result in high-value solutions of great benefit to end-users, adding to the overall quality of life and design excellence in the built environment.

  • Quality: They result in architecture and urban developments of high quality.
  • Innovation: They are a source of innovative, economic and sustainable solutions. They create opportunities to test new ideas, inviting various approaches to formal expression.
  • Transparency: They are transparent and non-discriminatory, building credibility and public trust while promoting fairness and non-corruption via anonymous entries.
  • Flexibility: They are suitable for small and large entities, and for experienced clients as well as those with little experience.
  • Cost-efficiency: Competitions are an effective and cost-efficient procurement method.
  • Public participation: They offer the opportunity to involve citizens in shaping the built environment, stimulating public debate on needs and design approaches.
  • Equal opportunity: All competitors have equal chances. Competitions can provide young and relatively unknown designers with the opportunity to complete major works; they are especially helpful in providing young professionals with a very good chance to enter the market.

What service does the RIAI provide?

The RIAI will advise on the best competition methodology for you, whether a one stage or two stage competition, an open or restricted procedure. We will monitor competition regulations, advise on the appointment of assessors, handle notifications to competitors, manage registration, respond to competitors questions about the brief, organise assessment, arrange publicity and exhibitions, and the announcement of results. The RIAI has managed a wide range of competitions for private sector clients, government departments and agencies, and local authorities. 

Is my project suitable for an RIAI competition?

For an architectural design competition to be successful it should meet the following criteria:

  • The project should be of importance to the community
  • The competition should comply with national and international standards
  • The documentation should provide the best possible level of information and briefing to competitors
  • There should be experienced architectural assessors (the jury) of standing
  • Entries should be anonymous
  • There should be funding in place to realise the competition
  • The competition should result in a commission to the winner

If you are interested in carrying out an RIAI Competition or would like to find out more, please contact Dr. Sandra O’Connell, RIAI Director of Architecture and Communications.

RIAI Design Reviews

As a champion for quality and sustainability in the built environment, the RIAI has developed the Design Review process to assist clients with the development of important sites and projects. The objective of the RIAI Design Review is to provide expert impartial advice to clients on the development potential of a site within a city, town, or neighbourhood. We assemble a Design Review Panel composed of Registered Architects with the relevant skillset for each project.

The primary benefit of this process is that it is independent and non directional. None of the Architects who participate on the Design Review Panel have a commercial interest in the site and the resultant advice, vision, and development ambitions for the project are open and far-reaching.

Past RIAI Design Reviews include:

  • Kilkenny Diageo/Smithwicks site for Kilkenny City and County Council
  • Castlebar Military Barracks for Mayo County Council
  • Phibsborough Urban Realm for Phizzfest
  • Tivoli for Port of Cork Company
  • Bantry Harbour for Port of Cork Company

If you are interested in carrying out a RIAI Design Review or would like to find out more, please contact Dr. Sandra O’Connell, RIAI Director of Architecture and Communications.