BigMat Group celebrates its 40th Anniversary with the 2021 BigMat International Architecture Award

From January 18th to April 30th, 2021 participants will be able to submit their works eligible for any of the 15 prizes of the BigMat International Architecture Award. This year’s edition will pay special attention to smaller-scale projects through the introduction of a Special Mention award.  

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BigMat International Architecture Award ’19 Grand Prize Power Plant for the “FOZ TUA” DAM, 2018, Foz do Tua, Portugal, Souto Moura Arquitectos S.A. ©Juan Rodriguez

BigMat Group is celebrating its 40th year anniversary by launching a brand new website and by starting a new edition of its biannual award. Following the previous 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 editions, the 2021 BigMat International Architecture Award will call attention to the best contemporary architecture works produced in Belgium, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain by rewarding them with 6 National Prizes and 7 Finalist Prizes, as well as a Grand Prize with a total value of over €70,000.

This year’s edition also wishes to address the unusual circumstances the world and the building sector has faced since early 2020: the worldwide pandemic has brought into light the important role of architecture in people’s well-being and its potential to improve our everyday lives.
Although in this year’s edition The BigMat Award will continue to reward the highest quality architecture regardless of its scale or program, a special point has been made to acknowledge the best architectural interventions of under 1000sq.metres by ensuring that at least one of the two finalists in each country will fit into this category. If none of these Small-scale projects were to be selected as Grand Prize, the jury will give out a Special Mention Prize valued in 1,500€.


The BigMat Group was founded in 1981 with the aim of facilitating the distribution of construction materials through partnerships with business owners. The International Architecture Award originated in Spain in 2005 before expanding internationally after three editions, attracting large numbers of participants.
Since its first international edition in 2013, the BigMat Award has rewarded the best contemporary architectural projects carried out in the seven countries where BigMat operates. Previous editions’ Grand Prize has been awarded to Belgian architect Xaveer de Geyter (2013), Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza (2015), the French office Lacaton&Vassal (2017) and Portuguese architect Souto de Moura (2019).
After over 20,000 applications over the last 8 years, BigMat is proud to celebrate its company’s 40th Anniversary with another edition of the Prize, dedicated to smaller-scale architecture which has become ever more relevant in our uncertain times.

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BigMat International Architecture Award ’13 Grand Prize Elishout Kitchen Tower Campus COOVI, Brussels, by Xaveer De Geyter Architects (XDGA) © Frans Parthesius
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BigMat International Architecture Award ’15 Grand Prize Office building in Zamora, Spain, Campo Baeza Architecture Studio © Javier Callejas
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BigMat International Architecture Award ’17 Grand Prize, FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais by Lacaton & Vassal © Philippe Ruault
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BigMat International Architecture Award ’19 Grand Prize Power Plant for the “FOZ TUA” DAM, 2018, Foz do Tua, Portugal, Souto Moura Arquitectos S.A. ©Juan Rodriguez


Works built between 1 January 2017 and 1 January 2021 in any of the participating countries (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain) will be accepted. The architects must be professionally based in the same country in which their project is located. Please refer to our official bases for complete information on this year’s edition timeline and regulations.
The jury will select a total of 14 finalists: two finalists from each of the seven participating countries. The seven winners of the National Prizes will compete with one another for the BMIAA’21 International Architecture Award Grand Prize. In the event that the Grand Prize is not awarded to a small-scale project, the jury will award a Special Mention to a project in this category.
The prizes for the seven Finalists amount to €1,500 each, while the 6 BMIAA National Prizes are valued in €5,000 each (€1,500 as a finalist + €3,500 for the National Prize).The BMIAA’21 International Grand Prize rewards the best of the seven National Prize finalists with €30,000 (€5,000 for the National Prize + €25,000 for the Grand Prize). A Special Mention Award for Small-scale Projects (€1,500) will be arranged in case none of the applicants in this category were chosen as Grand Prize.
The awards ceremony will be held at the BigMat International Annual Conference at a time and place yet to be confirmed later in 2021. 


This edition’s Panel of Judges brings together some of the most talented architects in Europe today. Joining Jesús Aparicio (Award President) and Jesús Donaire (Award Secretary) will be Adrien Verschuere (Belgium), Pavol Paňák (Czech Republic and Slovakia), Alexandre Theriot (France) Nicola Di Battista (Italy), Inês Lobo (Portugal and Spain).

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Jesús Aparicio (Award President), Jesús Donaire (Award Secretary), Adrien Verschuere (Belgium), Pavol Paňák (Czech Republic and Slovakia), Alexandre Theriot (France) Nicola Di Battista (Italy), Inês Lobo (Portugal and Spain).

Adrien Verschuere is the co-founder of the architecture firm Made in, Geneva, Switzerland. In 2008, he established BAUKUNST in Brussels and from 2017 in Lausanne. Adrien is diploma tutor at Université Catholique de Louvain, as well as guest critic and lecturer in various institutions such as the FAUP Porto, IRGE Universität Stuttgart, Berlage Institute Rotterdam, USI Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio, ETH Zürich and the EPF Lausanne.

From 2019, Adrien Verschuere is Visiting Professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.

Pavol Paňák is the co-founder of Architekti B.K.P.Š. (Bratislava, 1991) alongside partner Martin Kusý. In his over 25 years of experience Pavol’s office has built important works such as the headquarters of the National Bank of Slovakia, the reconstruction of the Slovak National Gallery, the Slovak Embassy in Berlin, as well as various apartment buildings and interiors which have been awarded on several occasions.

Alexandre Theriot founded with Stéphanie Bru the architecture office BRUTHER (Paris, 2007), one of the most relevant architecture practices in the French “new wave”. Thanks to its contribution to the radical renewal of French architectural culture, the studio  has won numerous awards and has been subject of important monographs and publications (EL Croquis, 2G).

Since 1998, Alexandre has been teaching architectural theory and design in prestigious international schools (EPF in Lausanne, UQAM in Montreal, Stuttgart, HSD in Düsseldorf, ENSAV in Paris, among others). In 2018 he was appointed Professor of Architecture and Construction at ETH Zurich.

Nicola Di Battista founded his own agency in Rome in 1986, after working as an apprentice for Giorgio Grassi’s in Milan. His office has won ten­ders to extend the Archaeological Museum in Vicenza and the Archaeological Museum in Reggio Calabria, among others. Between 1997 and 1999 he was a visiting professor at ETH Zurich and has since been active in teaching at a number of universities in Italy and abroad. As a editor, he was in charge of Domus magazine from 2013 to 2017, and he is the current editor of  l’Ar­chitetto magazine.

Inês Lobo combines her professional work as an architect in her own office, Inês Lobo Arquitectos (founded in 2002) with an active participation in the academic sphere – beside her work as a visiting professor in architecture at the Autonomous University of Lisbon and the University of Lisbon, Inês is a prominent speaker in seminars in Portugal and abroad.

She has been regularly invited to participate and curate in some of the most relevant architecture Exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale (2012 and 2016) and the  8th BIAU (Ibero-American Architecture and Urbanism Biennial), as well as taking part in the jury of the FAD and Secil Awards.

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Image of the BMIAA’19 Jury meeting in Madrid © BigMat Architecture Award


The first edition of the BigMat International Architecture Award took place in 2013 and the Grand Prize was granted to Belgian architect Xaveer de Geyter at the awards ceremony held in Granada, Spain, in November 2013. The jury that selected his project among the other six National Prizes comprised six prestigious architects – chairman Jesús Aparicio, along with Marie Vanhamme (Belgium), Carlos Ferrater (Spain), Dominique Perrault (France), Cino Zucchi (Italy), Zdenek Lukeš (Czech Republic)- as well as the Awards Secretary Jesús Donaire.

Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza was appointed winner of the second edition in the event held in Berlin in November 2015. Out of a list of 750 projects from 6 European countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain), the panel of judges chaired by Jesús Aparicio and comprising Olivier Bastin (Belgium), Martin Rajnis (Czech Republic), Henri Ciriani (France), Francesco Dal Co (Italy), Manuel Aires Mateus (Portugal), Antonio Ortiz (Spain) and the Awards Secretary, Jesús Donaire, decided to give the BigMat International Architecture Award ’15 to the office building located in Zamora, Spain, by Campo Baeza Architecture Studio.

French architects Lacaton & Vassal won the third edition of BigMat International Architecture Award in the event held in November 2017 at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Out of a list of almost 900 projects from 7 European countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Slovakia, Portugal and Spain), the panel of judges chaired by Jesús Aparicio and comprising Xaveer De Geyter (Belgium), Henrieta Moravčíková (Czech Republic + Slovakia), Marc Barani (France), Francesco Isidori (Italy), Paulo David (Portugal + Spain), and awards secretary Jesús Donaire, decided to give the award to the French National Fund for Contemporary Arts building ‘FRAC’ in Dunkirk, by Lacaton & Vassal.

The fourth and latest edition of the BigMat International Architecture Award was won by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. The architecture master received the award in the ceremony held on November 2019 in the French city of Bordeaux, coinciding with BigMat International’s Annual Congress. Composing the panel of judges on this occasion were Jury chairman Jesús Aparicio and Award’s Secretary Jesús Donaire, who were joined by prestigious architects Stéphane Beel (Belgium), Petr Pelčak (Czech Republic and Slovakia), Philippe Prost (France), Paolo Zermani (Italy) and Fuensanta Nieto (Portugal and Spain). Out of a total of almost six hundred projects presented across the seven European countries taking part, the BigMat International Architecture Award ’19 was finally given to the Power Plant for the “FOZ TUA” DAM in Foz do Tua, Portugal by Eduardo Souto de Moura.

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BigMat International Architecture Award’19 – Awards Ceremony – Palais de la Bourse, Bordeaux © BigMat