The Félix Candela Award is a two-phase international architectural ideas competition in Spanish. It is organized annually by the Instituto Español de Arquitectura (IESARQ) and is aimed at students of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and design, as well as young architects, landscape architects, urban planners and designers, individually or in teams of two or up to three members.

The sixth edition of The Félix Candela Award consists of a reverie of the city. After several editions in which we have traveled through the countryside in a search for truth, in this edition we will concentrate on the social construction par excellence of architecture, which is the city: the city is the constructed form of relationships between people and, as such, it is our representation as a society. The question is whether our present city is also our will. Between the Captive and the Warrior, we choose to be both, in that back-and-forth movement that the Spanish architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza spoke of, from the city to the countryside and from the countryside now to the city. We return from the countryside at least with the tools of the woodcutter, the hunter, the farmer, the gardener or the shepherd ready for the task of inserting what we have learned into the sturdy trunk of our cities.

The present edition does not pretend to point out any general solution to the fact of the present city from an easy or superficial understanding of the urban as a "problem", on the other hand without a way out. For if it is ultimately a problem, its origin lies in the relationship between people and a lack of will: the statement that there is no city without citizens is as true as that it is the will of the citizens that makes cities. If in a tree the bark harbors a fungus, a branch is cracked or rotten or dry this fact does not affect nor is consubstantial to the species but in any case to the state of the specimen in question. But it is difficult to see the forest among the tangle of trees, so this edition tries to talk about the city by opening a clearing in it, delimiting a blank space where to insert without fear and without compromise a different kind of city. Therefore, appealing to the architect's will to dream of a different city that being equally city is the best possible, and ultimately the representation of an ideal society made of citizens. Faced with architects who "solve" problems -or create them from descriptions, analysis and predictions, and then stage their solution- we claim, once again, architecture as Art from the projective tool: Architecture is the Science of Art.

The starting point will be the free choice by the contestants of a given city to practice on it a reserve or a cutout, which allows grafting a different kind of city on the city or fragment of it, thus chosen.

Whether this city graft serves to heal or to strengthen or enrich the city on which it is inserted will depend on the judgment of the participants in relation to the city or fragment of it that they have chosen. In any case, it will be up to the participants to formulate this prior judgment or positioning, which will constitute, in turn, the ideological context of their city grafting proposal.

Postscript. Traveling to see cities may become traveling to see only the historic center, if the global city imposes itself as a semblance of industry. The graft can be healing, polluting, diluted in the arteries of the given city, ...or else a utopia. The cases will thus be very varied, but always underlies the Identity of the City, in a Global Village. At the same time, in a shorter distance, we appreciate urban planning approaches in our cities without any interest and with many economic means, generating urban metastases for discouragement. That is why we must propose, dream, a healing mental graft of the city, with a point full of genomes and vectors of healing transformation. A city that contaminates with illusion, efficiency and beauty, a common frame for a fair coexistence and that considers the nature of the city as complementary to the received Nature to take care of and improve.


The participants in the sixth edition of The Félix Candela Award will have to devise and define, from the whole to the part, from the part to the whole, a different kind of city to be inserted into the existing city they decide to work on. The kind of city to be inserted will be such that, without ceasing to be in its deepest sense a city, it will be different in such a way that we can speak of a grafting operation, in the same way that an apple tree grafted onto a pear tree does not contravene the arboreal condition of both species because their physiognomy and fruit are different.

It will also involve the definition of how to insert one species into another so that the graft will prosper over time according to the modeling proposed by the participants and also the complete definition of the graft regardless of the city or fragment of city chosen.

Therefore, the kind of city that is grafted will have to respond to a model that the participants themselves will have to formulate previously based on their ideas and dreams in relation to the city desirable for them. Desire versus reality: therefore the city as a will and representation of their ideal society, of themselves.

The area of the city to be reserved, cut out or masked in white, whose polygonal shape is indistinct, will have to be between 14 and 16 hectares approximately. 100% of the occupied surface will have to be recovered as soft or permeable with the implications that this entails as a premise in the definition of the different elements of this kind of city to be grafted and the relationships between them. Ultimately, it is a matter of defining the equation of the city to be inserted and grafting it onto the blank paper reserve previously practiced on the city of choice.

The level of definition will have to necessarily oscillate between different scales, which will allow the correct understanding of the operations previously determined to define the kind of city to be grafted: from the scheme to the urban design, from the background or structure to the form and operation and the way it is linked through the infrastructure, among other points of view to be considered. In this way, the urban ensemble should be typified with attention to the defining elements through plans and sections, the different uses that make up this kind of city through their respective planimetric documents without forgetting the volumetric definition of the elements and their appearance at the level of urban image, materiality and landscaping; in detail, the representative nodes will be isolated and drawn. Beyond that, the participants are free to represent their grafting of the city according to the most appropriate documents, understanding that we may not be able to propose something radically different and tell it with the means with which the city has been traditionally expressed. Thus, the graft will be uniquely defined by its own representation.

During the first phase of the competition the way to tell your grafting proposal, the previous and future context with the graft practiced and the modeling of its rooting will be through a total of 4 panels in DIN-A1 format. Notwithstanding the above, it is advisable not to think of the proposal in a traditional sense from this format but rather to conceive it as a container for the ideas to be expressed in it regardless of the tools with which they have been conceived. In such a way to work the proposal with freedom of techniques and representations in two and three dimensions -even in movement- in order to weave a discourse that is finally overturned in the plates as a witness and that allow to transcend the current discipline of urbanism trapped like Sisyphus on "Exactitude in Science" of Borges.


Any questions regarding registration, registration numbers or issues related to fees, payments or money transfers will be answered throughout the registration period at secretaria@premiofelixcandela.mx


Projects must be sent to the following email address: secretaria@premiofelixcandela.mx

Participants must send a ZIP or RAR whose filename is their registration number (for example: FC1234.zip), which will include the JPG images of the panels and the documentation accrediting the legal participation of the competitors. The deadline for submitting proposals is March 19, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Mexico City time (Central American Time (CET) = UTC/GMT - 6:00).


Project documentation will consist of 4 digital panels with the following characteristics:

•Digital image format: JPG

•Color mode: RGB

•Filename: registration number (for example: 05PFC1234)

•Maximum size per panel: 15 MB

•Dimensions: Rectangular format in vertical position, to be printed on DIN A1 paper (59.4 x 84 cm)

These panels will include all graphic and written information needed, at the discretion of the participants, for the proper definition of the proposal. Resolution must be taken into account, as well as text size, as they may eventually be printed on DIN A1 paper (59.4 x 84 cm) in vertical format. The panels will be read vertically, but it will be left to the judgment of the participants whether to design them as a triptych or as individual scenes.Taking these parameters into account, the minimum font size for the text included on the panels is 10 points. The text incorporated into the panels must not exceed 300 words in Spanish, not counting labels. Any technique or form of graphic expression will be admitted that clearly and precisely explains the project.Additional documentation may not be submitted. No branding, logo, insignia or any other element that identifies the author may be incorporated aside from the registration number. The registration number must appear in the lower right corner of each panel.

The jury will especially value the originality of the proposal and its congruence with the theme as well as the relationship between the theme, the concept and its precise representation. Likewise, the critical stance with the current paradigms of architecture in relation to the city will be valued, as well as its crisis through the kind of city they propose to graft. Specifically, the grafting of the proposed city will be evaluated from the thermodynamic point of view and its implications.

A brief report, of no more than 300 words in total, may be included in the plates as an instructive.

First Phase
The finalists will pass on to a second phase in which they will take an intensive project workshop to be considered for the Félix Candela Award. Its theme and scope will be communicated to the finalists when the jury announces the results of the first phase.

Second Phase
The finalists will participate in the intensive workshop, forming a team with one of the renowned architects that IESARQ considers optimal. Based on the results of the workshop, each of the finalists will present their final project to the jury, who will decide the Félix Candela Award.

The language of the competition is Spanish. In the event that Spanish is not the mother tongue of any of the participants, all text on the panels must be translated into Spanish.


All students of architecture, design and urbanism who belong to any academic and/or university institution where design, architecture and urbanism are taught may participate in this competition, whether individually or in a team of up to three people. The competition is also open to young architects up to 40 years of age as of the submission deadline.

The representative of each team must be an architect or architecture student, whether a generalist or specializing in one of its subfields, and they may partner with other professionals or students in related fields such as design, civil engineering, urbanism, etc. It is also open to participation from historians, cultural heritage specialists, anthropologists, philosophers or anyone else with a relevant profile, at the consideration of the participant who acts as the team representative.

The above conditions must be accredited by each participant through a copy of an official identification that contains their place of birth and/or residence, as well as a copy of a document certifying their age and their status as a student or professional, as applicable.

Only one project can be presented per submission.Each individual or team participant may only submit one project, which will be assigned a REGISTRATION NUMBER.

Under no circumstances may any member of a team form part of any other team. No member of the jury may submit a project, nor may their habitual collaborators, employees or blood relations to the second degree. The breach of any of these conditions will disqualify the participant or team in question.

Each team, at their discretion, may have none, one or several consultants, who are to be mentioned in their registration files and, if the project wins a prize, IESARQ will give them the corresponding credit and acknowledgement of their contribution.

The documentation that accredits the legal participation of each competitor must be verified at the moment of submission.


The originality of the proposal will be valued, as well as the quality of the graphic expression, the precision in the representation of the different documents that express the proposal and the coherence between the ideas and what is represented, in relation to the proposed theme as well as its relation with the most important theories and philosophical currents related to the theme of the contest.


The jury will be officially published on the Félix Candela Award website (www.premiofelixcandela.mx) and disseminated through IESARQ's social networks.


First Phase

Eight teams of finalists will be selected. They will participate in project workshops during the Second Phase.

•Selection of architectural books and magazines package.


Second Phase


The winning team will be awarded the Félix Candela Award, which consists of:

•A commemorative medal and certificate for all team members

•$90,000.00 MXN (ninety thousand Mexican pesos) to be divided among all team members


•A commemorative medal and certificate for all team members

•$40,000.00 MXN (forty thousand Mexican pesos) to be divided among all team members


•A commemorative medal and certificate for all team members

•$25,000.00 MXN (twenty-five thousand Mexican pesos) to be divided among all team members

The jury may grant Honorable Mentions to as many projects that it considers to deserve such a distinction. Honorable Mentions do not include a cash prize.

*The payment of awards will occur through electronic transfer to the bank account indicated by the winning team. All applicable tax withholdings will be administered. The payment will be made during a term no greater than 90 calendar days following the jury’s decision.


April 8, 2023

April 8 to July 18, 2023

July 7, 2023


July 5, 2023

July 6, 2023

July 19 to September 14, 2023

September 15, 2023 to March 19, 2024

March 19, 2024


March 19, 2024


April, 2024

Date to be determined from May 2024


The registration period begins on April 8, 2023 and ends on March 19, 2024 at 23:59 p.m. Mexico City time (Central American Time (CET) = UTC/GMT - 6:00).

Registration fees are as follows, according to the period in which the competitor registers:


(08/04/2023 to 18/07/2023) $1500 MXN


(19/07/2023 to 14/09/2023): $2100 MXN


(15/09/2023 to 19/03/2024): $3000 MXN

Payment can be made through one of the following methods:

PayPal via the website or directly to the email address: premiofelixcandela@iesarq.mx

Bank deposit or electronic transfer:






01 1114 8729


01 2180 0011 1148 7296



Regardless of the payment method, the documentation accrediting the PayPal payment or the receipt of the deposit/electronic transfer for the proper amount must be emailed to: secretaria@premiofelixcandela.mx

As soon as payment has been verified, IESARQ will send an email confirming registration in the competition and assigning a registration number. Without confirmation of the registration payment, the registration will be invalidated and the competitor will have to reregister if they wish to participate.

*Bank commissions or transfer fees are not included in the registration price. The applicant must assume these costs.
**No registration is valid that has not been validated in these terms.
***Only one payment and registration per team.


Once the competition has concluded, all the finalists and a selection of other submissions, at the discretion of the jury, will be published on the website of the Félix Candela Award and will be disseminated on IESARQ’s social media accounts. A public exhibition may also be organized featuring the finalists and a selection made by the jury of other submissions. This exhibition, if it is organized, will be announced to all participants, whether or not their submissions have been selected.

Intellectual Property Rights: Competitors will solely cede to IESARQ the exploitation rights that correspond to the object of publicizing the competition and its results, such as the publication and exhibition of the work submitted, as selected by the jury, while those competitors that have not been awarded will remain anonymous if they so request.

In the case of the winning submissions, the economic remuneration from the award will be taken as payment for a design and they will become the property of IESARQ.

Participation and registration in the competition implies agreement with the above conditions.

Once registration has occurred, the registration fee will not be reimbursed. The jury, through majority vote, is the only authorized body responsible for the final selection of the competition’s winners and its rulings cannot be appealed.

IESARQ reserves the right to modify the terms of this competition (periods, deadlines, requirements, etc.) should any exceptional situation arise, provided that it is at the service of the common good of its participants and its proper development.

As, upon registering, participants agree to accept the final decisions of the jury, IESARQ and the members of the jury are hereby exonerated from any civil or penal action in the event that an architect or team does not agree with the final decision.

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