International Museum of Astronomy Competition 2013

International Museum of Astronomy Design Competition, Atacama Building, Chile Architecture Contest

International Museum of Astronomy Competition

IMOA Architectural Contest – International, by Arquideas, set in Chile, South America

23 Oct 2013

International Museum of Astronomy (IMOA) in Atacama, Chile

International Museum of Astronomy Design Competition

arquideas – The architecture and design ideas community

16 Jan 2014 : regular registration period deadline
31 Jan 2014 : deadline for submission of proposals

International Museum of Astronomy Competition


About Arquideas

Arquideas is a community of students and young professionals working in the world of architecture and design whose main objective is to showcase the talent and creativity of its young members, thereby bridging the gap between the academic and professional spheres of architecture and design.

Through its competitions, arquideas seeks to encourage its community to participate in current architectural debates, generating a selection of quality proposals that can provide solutions to the different challenges set forth in the contests.

International Museum of Astronomy Competition
image from competition organiser

Not only are participants given the opportunity to present their proposals to society, they also become familiar with how competitions work, a format that is increasingly employed to award the most attractive professional commissions on an international level.

Arquideas will exhibit the work presented in each competition on its website and publish the results in international architecture journals, as well as on specialized websites and blogs, in order to disseminate the best proposals and provide publicity for their creators.

By disseminating the proposals presented in each competition, arquideas provides participants with an opportunity to improve their CV by winning one of the prizes or honorary mentions awarded by the prestigious Jury.

The Competition
Chile is a long, narrow country extending from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean, along the southwest of South America. It has territory in Polynesia (Easter Island), Antarctica and on the South American continent. In South America, its territory covers a 756,096 km2 strip of land that is 4,200 km long and 90 km wide in its narrowest stretch and 440 km in its widest, cut by hundreds of islands and fjords.

Today Chile is considered one of the most scientifically developed countries in the world. It has twelve scientific research stations, five of them dedicated to tourism, among which the Paniri Caur – Chiu Chiu Observatory and the Pangue Observatory stand out, and seven dedicated purely to science, among which the La Silla Observatory, the Paranal Observatory and the APEX Observatory are at the forefront.

This fact has led to the emergence of Astronomical Tourism in Chile, a new kind of tourism that attracts people of any age, sex or religion.

Astronomical Tourism in Chile is possible year round, thanks to the country’s geography, the world-renowned quality of its sky and its mild climate, which allows for this kind of activity during virtually the entire year. The majestic Elqui Valley, found in Coquimbo, Chile’s fourth region, is known for its clean and clear sky. This makes it an attractive destination for observatories or simply for those who wish to take part in activities related to Astronomical Tourism. It is also believed that this area has an “energy” that imbues it with mystical and curative powers.

In addition to Coquimbo, further north in Antofagasta, Chile’s second region, Astronomical Tourism has developed in a town called San Pedro de Atacama located in the middle of the Atacama Desert, an area of great interest for this kind of tourism.
This town, located at an altitude of 2,400 m, is considered an area of interest for tourism. It receives around 40,000 visitors a year, many of them attracted by the quality of its sky.

International Museum of Astronomy Design Competition
image from competition organiser

Objective of the Competition
The objective of this competition for architecture students and young architects, the International Museum of Astronomy (IMOA) in Atacama (Chile), is to create a centre for lovers of Astronomical Tourism to learn and observe the sky.

Whether in a professional or amateur capacity, this activity attracts thousands of tourists to Chile from other continents such as Europe, Asia or Australia, who want to experience the pleasure of discovering and learning about the celestial sphere.
Astronomy is one of the few sciences in which amateurs can still play an active role, especially in discovering and tracking celestial phenomena.

The International Museum of Astronomy (IMOA) will be a focal point for international tourism interested in astronomical observation, where visitors will be able to enhance their knowledge and share experiences in an area free of light contamination, offering a unique setting to observe the stars. Light contamination is caused by the diffusion of artificial light that glows in the night sky, reducing visibility of the stars and other celestial bodies.

The International Museum of Astronomy (IMOA) will not be a traditional museum, which merely displays objects and provides information, but rather it will focus on transmitting the science of astronomy through all means available, particularly interactivity and experimentation.

The idea is to create a space that is open to public participation of all ages, a space that excites and inspires, a space that encourages perpetual curiosity.

Program of uses
The potential uses of the International Museum of Astronomy (IMOA) are quite broad, but they should always be focused on encouraging sharing knowledge about astronomy, research and observing the stars. The project can be freely developed within the area indicated in the plans.
Each proposal can define the uses and dimensions deemed necessary for the projected number of tourists and the idea of the project.

Some suggested uses include:

– Exhibition halls
– Projection rooms
– Spaces for astronomical observation
– Information rooms
– Planetarium
– Specialized store
– Restaurant/Cafeteria
– Staging area for excursions
– Parking

These suggestions can be modified or omitted according to the ideas of each participant.

The International Museum of Astronomy (IMOA) must be located east of San Pedro de Atacama, a small town of around 2,500 inhabitants located in Antofagasta, Chile’s second region, along Route 27, at an altitude of about 2,500 m. This route leads to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomical facility whose objective is to develop a telescope to study the Universe that will be unique in the world.
The project can be developed without restrictions in the area indicated as the area of activity. There are no pre-established criteria for how the land is to be occupied or regarding alignments, so each team or participant is free to develop their idea as they see fit.

This competition is open to international undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduate of architecture or related degrees, individually or in teams made up of a maximum of four members.
Recent graduate means that person graduated within the 2 last years at the time of signing the registration in the contest.
Teams will pay a single registration fee, regardless of the number of team members. Each participant can only present one proposal, whether as an individual or part of a team.
This competition is closed to any person who participated in the elaboration of the competition or who has dependent personal or professional ties to the organization.

During the period indicated in the competition calendar that has been included in these Terms and Conditions, questions about this competition can be sent to [email protected].
Arquideas will respond to all of the questions posed during the established period and will publish answers to questions deemed to be of particular interest to all participants in order to improve the comprehension of the project and resolve doubts.
All the documentation needed to take part in the competition can be downloaded from the arquideas web site ( throughout the registration period.

Documents to be submitted
Each participating team will submit a single panel a din-A1 format in vertical disposition, where the ideas of the project take shape.
Each panel must have in the upper right corner the proposal identification code generated during the registration process. Any proposal that does not have a visible ID Code under the described conditions described shall be exempted from the selection process and annulled. (Example: IMOA 0000).
The documentation included on the panel is free and always focused on the better understanding of the proposal by the Jury. It is recommended to present the following documentation given below as a minimum documentation for the understanding of the project:

– Representative plans and elevations
– Characteristic section
– Perspectives or digital images
– Small explanatory report

All texts on the proposal must be in English or Spanish.

All the information sent out of the single din- A1 panel will not be evaluated by the jury.
Two files of the proposal must be submitted:
– A *.PDF file in a vertical din-A1 format (594×841 mm) with a maximum recommended size of about 5 Mb.

– A *.JPG version of the proposal to be viewed in the website with a maximum recommended size of about 1500 px wide.

The proposals should be uploaded through the webpage ( before the deadline of the competition shown on these Terms & Conditions.


The Jury of this contest will consist of the following members, whom you may consult their full CV in the website:

– Cazú Zegers
Architect at Cazú Zegers Arquitectura

– Adrian Welch
e-Architect Editor in Chief

– Pola Mora
Plataforma Arquitectura Editor in Chief

– María Langarita
Project Professor at ETSA de Madrid y EPSA de Alicante

– Viktor Nilsson
IGC Brussels Competition winner

– Pierre Maccario
IGC Brussels Competition winner

Criteria used to evaluate the proposals

The submitted projects will be evaluated by the Jury with the following considerations:

– The quality of the architectural proposal
– The ability to clearly express the project concept
– The project location selection
– The relationship between the proposal and the landscape
– Solutions provided for the proposed uses
– Sustainability and energy usage


The following prizes will be awarded to proposals that best meet the purpose of the competition:

1st Prize:
3.750 Euros + Interview in Plataforma Arquitectura + Publication in Plataforma Arquitectura + Publication in WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell and Ottagono magazines + 1 year free subscription to WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell, Paisea and Ottagono (digital) magazines.
The winner or person that represents the winner team will take part of the Jury in the next academic competition.

2nd Prize:
1.500 Euros + Publication in Plataforma Arquitectura + Publication in WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell and Ottagono magazines + 1 year free subscription to WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell, Paisea and Ottagono (digital) magazines.

3rd Prize:
625 Euros + Publication in Plataforma Arquitectura + Publication in WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell and Ottagono magazines + 1 year free subscription to WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell, Paisea and Ottagono (digital) magazines.

Up to 5 honorable mentions will be given to the most interesting proposals in terms of architectural quality, and which have not received any of the first three prizes, and will be awarded with:
Publication in WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell magazine.

The final decision of the publication of the projects will be of the publishers, depending on the quality of the proposals.

Arquideas Special Prize:
The Arquideas Special Prize will be given, awarded with 500 euros, to the proposal with more votes from Arquideas Community users, among winners, honorable mentions and the finalist projects.
An Arquideas supporting document will be sent to all the proposals that have received any of the mentioned awards.
Taxes will be withheld on cash prizes in accordance with current regulations.


October 14, 2013
Early registration period opens Consultation period opens

November 29, 2013
Early registration deadline

November 30, 2013
Regular registration period opens

January 16, 2014
Regular registration period deadline

January 23, 2014
Deadline for consultations

January 31, 2014
Deadline for submission of proposals

February 28, 2014
Publication on the web of the Jury results
Virtual exhibition


The registration period falls between October 14, 2013 and January 16, 2014.

Early registration
(from Octobre 14, 2013 to November 29, 2013)

50 € individual registration
75 € team registration (from 2 to 4 members)

Regular registration

(from November 30, 2013 to January 16, 2014)

75 € individual registration
100 € team registration (from 2 to 4 members)

Registration fee payment

Registration will be done through the website and by one of the two ways described below.
– Pay-Pal:
Pay-Pal account: [email protected]
The registration is performed automatically.
There are no extra fees for the use of this service.

– Bank transfer:
It is considered that a registration is done correctly and on time, so that the transfer is received before the registration end date specified in the schedule of these terms and conditions.
Any possible commission applied by the issuing bank shall be borne by the participant.
Beneficiary: Arquideas Gestión de Concursos SL
Bank: Caja de Arquitectos
Account number: 3183 3800 3300 0082 8949
IBAN: ES40 3183 3800 3300 0082 8949
Item: ID code (Provided during the registration process) Example: IMOA 0000

It is very important to introduce the ID code in the payment reference in order of a correct trace between the bank transfer and the registered participant/team.

Exhibition and publication

All of the proposals presented by participants will be part of a virtual exhibition on our web site, with a special focus on the top three Prizes, the Honorary Mentions, the Finalists and the Arquideas Special Prize.

The prize winning proposals will be disseminated, with some of the top three prizes and honorary mentions featured in the collaborating publication.

Property rights

All of the documentation presented in the competition will become part of the Arquideas archive, which reserves the right to promote and publish the presented proposals.
Therefore, participation in the competition includes the concession of all rights of dissemination of the presented work to Arquideas Gestión de Concursos SL.
The material presented can be published in virtual galleries on the Arquideas website, as well as on websites of collaborating publishing houses.
If necessary, Arquideas reserves the right to adapt the content of presented proposals to ensure their correct publication, without modifying the plans in any way.

Other notes
Arquideas reserves the right to modify the competition deadlines if necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the company holding the competition, in order to make sure that the competition is correctly run. These changes will be duly communicated via our website.
Arquideas will not return any registration fees, except in the case of double payments or errors in the price of the registration fee.
Arquideas is not responsible for any possible violations of these Terms & Conditions by collaborating businesses.
By registering for the competition, participants accept that they will comply with all Terms & Conditions.

Arquideas would like to thank the members of the jury of this competition for their collaboration and dedication, as well as the collaborating businesses for their support, dissemination of the work of the participants and involvement in the prizes.

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