Circular economy exhibition - open call

RIBA’s new exhibition Long Life, Low Energy: Designing for a circular economy has opened in the Architecture Gallery at 66 Portland Place, London. The exhibition looks at the circular economy and its role in RIBA’s strategy for a more sustainable, net zero architecture in the future.

Split into three sections, the exhibition summarises the recent cultural history of demolition, presents a selection of renovation and retrofit projects from around the country, and concludes with six ‘work-in-progress' fields of research that offer possible pathways to the wider adoption of the circular economy in contemporary practice.

Given the significance of the subject matter and the high levels of press interest in the exhibition, RIBA would like to showcase further works by members and non-members that advance the design principles of the circular economy. This is an open call for RIBA Members to submit entries for potential display in the First Floor Gallery at 66 Portland Place, opening January 2023 and running for approximately two to three months.

Long Life, Low Energy exhibition at 66 Portland Place, London © Agnese Sanvito

How to enter

RIBA Members should note that for the purposes of this open call, we are seeking examples of projects completed during 2022 under one or more of the following headings:

  1. Buildings that use sustainable or recycled materials as core construction components​
  2. Buildings that are self-sufficient or net positive in energy consumption​
  3. Buildings that are demountable and no longer linear in terms of lifespan, with materials and components allowing for future reuse​
  4. Buildings that have successfully been re-configured for reuse without the need for demolition

Entrants should submit the following no later than 9am on Monday 12 December 2022. Late entries will not be accepted.

  • one photograph (JPEG, 300 dpi)
  • one drawing (PDF)
  • one paragraph of text (PDF, 100 words max) describing the project and its importance in terms of circular economy principles

Please send entries by email to

RIBA will select up to 12 winning entries and its design team will produce panels showing each of the winning projects, based on the materials submitted, to be displayed at 66 Portland Place from early 2023 for the remainder of the Long Life, Low Energy exhibition.

Terms and Conditions apply – see below. The judging panel will meet in December 2022/January 2023 and will be chaired by RIBA Board Member Jo Bacon. The panel will include representation from the RIBA curatorial team as well as external expertise. Entrants will receive an invitation to the opening event for the open call show.

Long Life, Low Energy exhibition at 66 Portland Place, London © Agnese Sanvito


RIBA’s recent Built for the Environment report states that 38% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the built environment. Every year, the design, construction, occupation, maintenance, and demolition of buildings around the world consumes about 50% of all raw materials. Closer to home, figures produced by Defra (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), 63% of Britain’s annual waste of 200 million tonnes is debris from construction and demolition sites. This is the result of a wasteful economic model that sees buildings often torn down and rebuilt from scratch.

In response, RIBA has declared an environment and climate emergency, stating in 2019 that it would “urgently pursue a five-year action plan towards a net-zero built environment”. As part of this plan, the principles of the circular economy have been shown to form an important strand of contemporary architectural thinking, seeking to transform how we design and build. Directly addressing the need for sustainable production and construction, a shift towards a circular economy would see greater reuse and retrofit of existing buildings and increased recycling of materials and building components, helping to bring architecture in line with a net zero carbon future.

Long Life, Low Energy exhibition at 66 Portland Place, London © Agnese Sanvito

Terms and Conditions

Eligibility and conditions

  1. The open call is open to all RIBA Members, RIBA Chartered Practices, architecture students, and non-members.
  2. Entry requires a named individual project leader as a point of contact (all team members will be credited if successful).
  3. It is a condition of entry that any non-member project leader, who is not employed by a RIBA Chartered Practice, selected for the exhibition must become a RIBA Member relevant to their career level (i.e. student, affiliate, associate, chartered practice). Find out more about becoming a member.

Submission requirements

Please take note of the following information in relation to submissions:

  1. Entrants should submit one photograph (JPG format, 300 dpi), one drawing (PDF format), and one paragraph of text (100 words max, PDF format) describing the project they wish to submit.
  2. The open call will open on 16 November 2022 and close at 9am on Monday 12 December 2022.
  3. Submissions should be sent by email to by the closing date/time.
  4. No responsibility can be accepted for any entries not received. You will receive an automated reply acknowledging your email, after that you will only be contacted again if your entry is successful.

Any queries should be sent to by Monday 5 December 2022.

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