29 March –
2 April 2018

5 days
40 artists

Westergasfabriek
Amsterdam

The Unfair18 Architect Award is a new competition for the exhibition design of Unfair, in collaboration with the internationally renowned architecture agency UNStudio. Ten upcoming talented architects were selected by our expert selection committee. Three shortlisted participants are invited to pitch their sketch-designs. The winner of the Unfair18 Architect Award gets to design and build the exhibition as the setting for our main program.


First Prize

Tomas Dirrix is the winner of the Unfair18 Architect Award. He started his design for Unfair18 from the historic and social idea behind fairs. The feeling of joy and social interaction that a fair brings is the base of this design. For ages, fairs took place in tents outside. When in the 19th-century fairs moved inside, people still used tents as decoration and so did Tomas. In a watchtower, showing the height of the building, the exhibition can be viewed from above.

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, an organisation for material creation. Their projects have been widely published and internationally exhibited. Through his practice, Atelier Tomas Dirrix, aspires to create contemporary spaces and buildings that are sensitive to their context.


Runners up

Cedric van Parys & Anne Dessing

Industrial buildings, like the Zuiveringshal, derive their size because they are built to fit what they produce, like for example how a hangar is made to fit a zeppelin. To draw attention to this industrial spaciousness, Cedric van Parys (1989) & Anne Dessing (1985) designed an exhibition that, like the zeppelin, gives a custom fit to it’s surrounding architecture.

Giacomo Garziano

Giacomo Garziano (1981) used a new sustainable material as the central idea behind his design. This material is made from bio-resin mixed with coconut fiber and is completely reusable. His exhibition design consists of an open and light structure. The organic form of the exhibition reflects on the acoustic properties of the spaces and it’s use, providing a immersive experience with enclosed and open spaces, close to diving underwater.


The Challenge

Unfair aims to create a fusion between an exhibition and art fair format. The design reflects a new way of experiencing art fairs, in which the adventurous, exciting thrill of visiting large scale exhibitions is combined with the 40 individual presentations of the participating artists. Within the Zuiveringshal at the Westergasterrein, a large industrial building, the designers were asked to create an architectural space that expresses the exchange and collaboration between cutting edge architecture and the contemporary art of today.

Longlist 2018

Christiaan Bakker
Anne Dessing
Tomas Dirrix
Giacomo Garziano
Marius Grootveld & Jantje Engels
Eliza Mante
Giulio Margheri
Cedric van Parys
Studio Rap
Ard de Vries

Selection committee 2018

Erik Rietveld (RAAAF)
Job Floris (Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst)
Kirsten Hannema (Journalist)
Michelle Gulickx (ARCAM)
Donna van Milligen Bielke (Architect, designer Unfair16)

Previous Unfair architects

Donna van Milligen Bielke
Arna Mackic & Lorien Beijeart
Jasper Eustace

Partners