Unfair Amsterdam collaborates, curates and promotes the brightest contemporary artists of today and tomorrow. Constantly evolving, we seek new methods to present and push the most engaging art now. Get involved with our biennial art fair, our embroidered art pieces, our architect award, our fundraiser auction or one of our many new events.

The visionary biennial award for the best upcoming architects now.

Designed to celebrate and promote the architectural stars of the future hands-on, the Unfair Architect Award yet again sets out to find the perfect autonomous design that brings the fair to another level.

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

The Longlist

Together with our expert selection committee we’ve carefully curated a long list of ten architects- or architect duo’s who we see as undeniably important and interesting. This years selection is:

The Shortlist

Unfair16 architect Donna van Milligen Bielke to cut our Longlist down to 3 remaining candidates for the next step in line: The Shortlist. Of the 3 sketch design pitches to come out of this shortlist, only one will win the award.


IWT, short for Instability We Trust, is founded by Bastiaan Kalmeyer (1981) and Chantal Schoenmakers (1983).

‘With rapid urbanization, increasing density, digitalization and artificial intelligence comes an increased need for a cognitive sensitivity in our human surroundings – the environment that surrounds us.  As we think our surroundings are a constantly evolving, interacting network of highly diverse players, we design 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, we 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. ‘

Cédric van Parys

Cédric van Parys (1989) is Belgian born multi-faceted architect working form his own ‘Office CCXD’ based in Rotterdam.

He holds a BA and MA degree in Architecture from Sint-Lucas Ghent and followed Creative Practice for Narrative Environments at Central-Saint-Martins, London and has worked at AMO (the research department of OMA – Office for Metropolitan Architecture). As a practice, Office CCXD positions itself on the threshold of art and design and focuses on exploring, designing and developing architectonics, exhibitions, stages, artworks, and installations. The studio also acts as the creative link between the curator and the artist, the architect and the client, managing communication and organizing complex production process within the cultural and architectural sector.

Unknown Architects

Unknown Architects is Daan Vulkers (1991) and Keimpke Zigterman (1986) and was founded in 2012.

“We strive for a refined architecture with an eye for detail and context. By means of specific and clear interventions, a good sense of structure, detail and materiality, we create great spaces for our clients. Unknown Architects is an office where the work, the architecture, comes first. We believe it is a great challenge and responsibility to create new physical realities for our clients. In this challenge we try to keep an open mind and curious attitude. Built works include interiors of private houses, for example Pied-à- terre and Corner House, a perfume store interior, roof extension, garden studio and stage design. Our works have been widely published and were exhibited in the exhibition ‘Maatwerk / Massarbeit, architecture from Flanders and the Netherlands‘ in the Deutsches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp.”

The Award

The Unfair Architect Award is a biennial visionary architectural prize that is characterized by a dual mission. It celebrates and actively promotes the most promising young architects of today and pushes their career development. Additionally it’s a professional quest to commission the best architect to create the exhibition design for Unfair’s upcoming namesake biennial art fair exhibition in 2020. Winning the award means designing and executing the exhibition design in an enormous industrial hall in the Westergasfabriek and incorporating the 40 individual art presentations that are included in the event. Baring in mind these points of departure, the award calls, for a design that has the unique and autonomous qualities of an artwork in its own right, yet is able to connect all artistic aspects involved. The architect will build their designs as a joint effort with all participating artists.With the no nonsense promise of direct commission and celebration and for the second time the Unfair Architect Award sets out to find the most inspiring design of 2019, bringing Unfair20 to another level.

Unfair aims to create a fusion between an exhibition and art fair format. In search for a design in which the adventurous, 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 at on show the event.

The Location

Traditionally, Unfair’s upcoming exhibition fair Unfair20 will be held at the Zuiveringshal. This large industrial hall is known as the heart of the old gas factory that the Westergasfabriek once was. Dating from 1885, this 1200m2, 18m high hall is where originally the huge boilers that purified the gas were located. With only the explosion relief roof as a remaining relic from the past, the otherwise empty hall serves a perfect location for substantial architectural designs.

The 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 below:

Jan-Richard Kikkert was appointed Head of Architecture at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture in 2016. He studied Architecture at Delft University of Technology and at the Berlage Institute. In 1997, he founded Architectenbureau K2 in Amsterdam together with architect Judith Korpershoek, an architectural firm that has won numerous prizes, including Europan 6.

Flora van Gaalen is head of Programme at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. Before taking up this position she held a dual position as project manager and editor for ARCAM and later project manager for Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion. In 2013, together with The Netherlands Architecture Institute and Virtual Platform, this institute merged into Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Kristian Koreman studied landscape architecture at IAH Larenstein and Philosophy at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He founded ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] in 2001 with Elma van Boxel, where they work on solicited and unsolicited designs and research studies in the field of architecture, urbanism and landscape design.

Marijn Schenk is one of the co-founders of NEXT architects. He graduated cum laude from the architecture department of the Technische Universiteit Delft and won first prize in the ARCHIPRIX 2000 for their joint project “Het Gelaagde Land”. As a project architect, Marijn Schenk has many projects to his name, won various prices and regularly performs educational duties as a teacher and guest critic.

Afke Laarakker studied Public Building/Border Conditions at TU Delft. She interned for Tatiana Bilbao in Mexico-City, worked for Onix NL en wrote about art in the public space for the Rietveld Academie. This year she started working as an editor for de Architect, the leading architecture platform in The Netherlands.

Previous Winners

Tomas Dirrix (1988) is an architect based in Rotterdam. He graduated with honours as Masters in Architecture from the TUDelft. Previously, he studied in Mendrisio, Switzerland and Ahmedabad, India. Besides having worked for multiple offices in the Netherlands, he co-founded Studio Ossidiana. Through his practice, Atelier Tomas Dirrix, aspires to create contemporary spaces and buildings that are sensitive to their context. He also won the Arc18 Young Talent Award.