The Danish Association of Architects

We aim at ensuring architectural quality and high standards of professionalism within all areas of the architectural profession.

Hire a professional juror MAA for your next competition

The Danish Association of Architects has a long tradition of appointing professional jurors.

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Lena McNair


+45 30 85 90 05

The Danish Association of Architects – Arkitektforeningen – is a professional community, and the only independent association of architects in Denmark. Since its foundation in 1879, the association has worked to support and promote the conditions of individual architects whilst ensuring architectural quality in our cities, buildings, landscape and environments.

The association aims to advance and develop members’ interests across geographical regions and areas of expertise. On behalf of the members, we act on legislative and regulatory issues to ensure that the built environment is designed and managed by capable and proficient architects.

The Danish Association of Architects offers a network of around 7,000 members throughout Denmark and internationally, and a range of personal and professional benefits.

The Danish Association of Architects is a political organisation run by member engagement across our seven local departments, with a representative committee, and a secretariat in Copenhagen. DAA, however, is not a union offering advice on pay, employment, dismissal and contracts.


A membership gives you the protected Danish title ‘Architect MAA’.
The title ‘architect’ is not protected in Denmark, so adding ‘MAA’ is a mark of professional quality, as this title requires a completed and EU-recognized master’s degree from a Danish or international school of architecture.

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For further information

Lena McNair


+45 30 85 90 05

Tønder Town Hall expansion. The project by SLETH was the result of an architectural design competition.
Photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj / COAST Studio.

The Benefits of an Architectural Design Competition

The Danish Association of Architects has a long history of planning competitions. Below we have summarised our experiences in order to describe the qualities of architectural design competitions and how to achieve the best results.

Ownership of both process and project

An architectural design competition is an inclusive process that creates value and provides ownership for a management, municipal council, city council or local community. The process surrounding a competition creates a great sense of ownership over the decisions that are made, and it provides a legitimacy concerning the choice of the winning project. Throughout the whole competition process, the awareness of the wants and needs of the client is sharpened. A well-planned process therefore also has great value concerning the realisation of the project following the competition.

Unexpected solutions and good ideas

With the architectural competition also comes the possibility of receiving surprising and innovative high-quality design solutions to problems of varying complexities. A competition is especially suited to a client who; has unanswered questions, wishes to be positively surprised, and needs to be presented with different solutions to a problem.

Greater freedom

In an architectural design competition, there are fewer formal requirements than in other tenders, which makes the process more flexible. For example, at the assessment of architectural competitions, you do not have to follow the three well-known award criteria – price, costs, best value for money – to the same degree that you would during normal tendering procedures. However, the regular EU basic principles, concerning for example equal treatment and proportionality, must always be followed.

Professional support

For any architectural design competition, the jury must be made up of an odd number of jury members – at most 9 – and at least a third of the jury must be appointed by the Danish Association of Architects and have a professional background matching the subject matter of the competition. This means that there are typically two or three external professional jurors in a jury, and they contribute with their professional expertise in the assessment of the proposals. The professional discussion between the representatives of the client and the external, professional jurors is a unique way of ensuring that a project is qualified, and it is often very rewarding for all parties.

The professional juror is a person who is not under the client’s employment and who takes on an objective role and reviews the client’s wishes and demands in relation to the quality and possibilities of the participants’ entries.

A fair and transparent process

A well-planned competition – often with the aid of a client adviser – is a simple, transparent and fair way of assessing a project, so that the best idea and the best entry wins.

Societal usefulness

An architectural design competition has the potential to change and develop our society for the better. Due to the competitive aspect, the participating teams will perform at their highest level to turn in the best possible solution. The competitive element supports the development of professional competencies and in this way contributes with innovative solutions for our society.


7 Pieces of Advice

1. Seek counselling

Make sure that you have proper counselling for administrating the competition and to have a well-worked and welcoming competition programme. There are specialised client advisers who can provide help for both the programme and the process to ensure that all elements come together.

2. Keep the competition material simple

Although the task might be complex, the competition programme does not have to be; keep the competition programme as simple as possible. This will free up resources on both sides of the table and create more freedom to develop the best ideas.

3. Use professional jurors

Always use professional jurors in the assessment process. They are the client’s professional support throughout the process, they “translate” the architectural content and make sure that the jury is equipped to make the right decisions.

4. Focus on the idea

The result of the competition should be a clear-cut architectural idea that can document how it will fulfil the demands of the competition programme.

Stay focused on the material that needs to be handed in. Ask only for sufficient illustrations, drawings, descriptions and/or models to illustrate the task. By limiting the material that needs to be turned in, the participating teams will sharpen their material, which makes the assessment process easier. Reject all material that exceeds the demands, so that all participants are equal in the assessment. To make handling the material easier, as well as save on resources, all material should be handed in digitally, meaning no physical folders or boards.

5. Choose a robust project

The winning project should be assessed by the idea’s originality and robustness. This means that the project’s potential for realisation is assessed with regards to the functional wishes and economic framework. A robust idea can be scaled up or down without compromising the qualities of the project. Stay focused on the idea and avoid getting bogged down by details that might anyway be further developed and adapted in the process following the competition.

6. Seek budgetary security

At the time of hand-in, a general budgetary security for the project’s realisation should be required of the participating teams, but it is not recommended to ask for too detailed calculations concerning the project’s security, as these are liable to change further on during the project.

7. Be an ambitious client

An architectural design competition creates the foundation for the further process. Its success depends on the well-prepared and ambitious client who puts together a strong and versatile team with the ability to council them concerning the competition and to assess the participating teams’ entries.

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