SAIA Competition Guidelines

Architecture is the most visible and public of the arts. Every addition to the built environment should therefore contribute in a meaningful way to our surroundings, the built and natural environment that make up the human experience. Architectural competition promotes interest in a project from inception to completion, and the promoter stands to gain a sense of achievement and enhanced pride of ownership in a project. The South African Institute of Architects considers that it is in the best interests of the promoter, the profession and the nation that important public buildings should be the subject of architectural competitions. It is also ideal for the design of projects in the private sector.

Design competitions offer a number of benefits to the promoter of an architectural competition:

  • Attaining an outstanding and often unique design by stimulating a range of design concepts and explorations
  • Sound and experienced judgment and advice from the jury
  • The opportunity to comprehensively test the project brief
  • Promotion of the promoter and the project through publicity and exhibitions
  • Opportunities to discover talent and skill which, but for a competition, would remain unknown

Design competitions also benefit the competitor entering an approved competition since they afford opportunities:

  • To undertake work which might not otherwise have been possible
  • For young unknown talents to come to the fore and be noticed
  • For a fair and transparent way of selecting professional expertise, and
  • If the winner lacks experience, to monitor and give support when it is necessary

An important function of an Institute of Architects is to recognise and promote excellence in architecture and to create public awareness and debate on the built environment. The South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) represents the majority of Professional Architects in South Africa, and members of the Institute are encouraged to enter competitions that are approved and endorsed by SAIA.

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