Artboard 1 copy 3

Designed to celebrate and promote the architectural stars of the future, the Unfair Architect Award yet again showcases a unique cross-over between current contemporary art and architecture.

The Unfair Architect Award is a biennial visionary architectural prize and tender for the exhibition design of Unfair™, our fifth and largest exhibition of contemporary artists yet.

Unfair aims to create a fusion between an exhibition and art fair format. In search of a design in which the adventurous and exciting thrill of visiting large- scale exhibitions is combined with the more intimate experience of the 40 individual art presentations, the Unfair Architect Award challenges the boundaries of architecture as subservient and focuses on designs with autonomous quality. By reflecting new ways of experiencing art, the design becomes a piece of art itself and therefore could be considered the most substantial artwork on show at Unfair™.


Exhibition Design by Arna Mackic & Lorien Beijaert (2013), photo by Onno Kramer (2014)

The Winner

We are thrilled to announce that architect duo Unknown Architects have won the Unfair Architect Award 2019 with their design ‘Collage City’.
In their victory, Unknown Architects bested two other shortlisted designs by IWT and Office CCXD.

Unknown Architects

office_unknown_v2_1-e1523478421602 (1)

Unknown Architects was founded by Daan Vulkers (1991) and Keimpke Zigterman (1986). In their practice, they strive for a refined architecture with an eye for detail and context. They aim to create great spaces for their clients by means of specific and clear interventions, and a good sense of structure, detail and materiality. Unknown Architects is an office where the work, the architecture, comes first. Built works include interiors of private houses, store interiors and stage designs and have been widely published and exhibited among which in the Deutsches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp.

Collage City

Unfair20_UnknownArchitects_Maquette 1

‘Collage City’, which features four different areas that each was inspired by visionary urban planning from the past, was chosen by our panel of judges. The design will be brought to life in July 2020 during Unfair™. On the winning design the jury stated the following:

“The jury believes the design ‘Collage City’, by designer duo Unknown Architects, to be strong and to speak of museum quality and a good sense of spaciousness. The large variations that are possible in the various individual presentation rooms are an extension of a strong concept and guarantee a playful walk-through for visitors.”

How do we create a place that enables forty individual artists to present their work in the most ideal way possible and at the same time inspire and excite thousands of visitors? We propose to build a city, inspired by four visionary urban plans from the past, which together form our pitch for Unfair™: Collage City. An exhibition design that is characterized by four unique areas, each with its own character: coulisses, light-air-space, square and superstructure. Well-positioned and carefully designed openings in the walls allow infinitely different routes and offer beautiful views through all four areas. A bridge with a view over the central square acts as a landmark and forms the literal highlight of the design.

The Runners up



OFFICE CCXD (Context/Concept Exploration & Development) is an architectural research and design studio based in Rotterdam and founded by Cédric Van Parys. As a practice, it positions itself on the threshold of architecture, design and art and focuses on exploring, designing and developing architecture, exhibitions, stages, and installations. Often monumental, always meticulously detailed and occasionally neurotic, CCXD’s aim is to communicate and realize intricate spatial concepts through a variety of visual languages.

The Agora

1_Unfair2020_The Agora_Final Plan + circulation

The Agora was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states that facilitates communication, debate, activities and play. Just as Unfair today, it provided a place for the artistic life in the city to gather, assemble and collaborate. For Unfair™, the Agora was carved from a series of parallel walls which gradually grow thicker and higher. Multiple transversal axes divide the walls into smaller partitions, generating a continuous sequence of volumes, thresholds, openings and corridors. The final layout is both monumental and accommodating, creating a visual dialogue between the artworks, the artists and the spaces.

IWT (Instability We Trust)


IWT, founded by Bastiaan Kalmeyer (1981) and Chantal Schoenmakers (1983), designs dynamic environments – from small-scale interiors to large scale architectural urban projects – and spatial brand identities open for interpretation and adaptation over time. With projects ranging from inner-city development, spatial narrative design, architecture, branding strategies, interior and design, they know how these scales interact in our spatial perception of a place. IWT is embedded in a flexible collaborative network of strategic advisors, urbanists, architects, interior architects, designers, engineers and scientists.

Behind the Scenes

3D-16 AXO Straight _ Autorebuild Model

Behind the Scenes is an installation of a constant changing play of front stages and back stages; formal presentations and informal gatherings. A dense configuration of 40 stage sets that highlight each individual artist. Behind this interwoven landscape of thin backdrops and upholding structures a secondary intimate world finds its place full of passages to discover.

Selection Committee

Each edition The Unfair Architect Awards works closely with a selected expert selection committee. They have the important task of selecting and introducing ten of the best up-and-coming architects. In collaboration with Unfair16 architect Donna van Milligen Bielke three shortlisted participants are selected and invited to pitch their sketch-designs. From this shortlist the final winner will be chosen.

Introducing this year’s committee: Jan-Richard Kikkert (architect, Head of Architecture at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture), Flora van Gaalen (Head of Programme at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam), Kristian Koreman (architect, founder ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles]), Marijn Schenk (architect, co-founder NEXT architects) and Afke Laarakker (editor at De Architect).


Our expert selection committee carefully curated a longlist of ten architects- or architect studios who we see as undeniably important and interesting: