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Open Door: A celebration of heritage conservation in the UK and China - call for proposals

We’re seeking examples of conservation projects from emerging architects in the UK and China as part of the Open Door project, in partnership with British Council.

21 April 2022

The RIBA is seeking examples of conservation projects from emerging architects in the UK and China.

This year, we’re collaborating with the British Council to deliver the Open Door project, a programme to promote and celebrate outstanding conservation work by emerging architects in mainland China and the UK.

Open Door will celebrate the best of recent architecture heritage projects, champion the environmental and cultural benefits of building conservation, and promote knowledge exchange between experts in both countries. The project is aimed at architects that are no more than ten years qualified, to encourage more young professionals to become involved in the sector and build relationships with experienced practitioners.

Projects will fit into two categories:

  • Twentieth century (c. 20th) heritage buildings
  • Historic buildings built before 1901

How will Open Door celebrate architectural heritage?

The project will highlight the environmental and cultural benefits of building conservation and foster knowledge sharing between experts in both countries, facilitating future UK-China dialogue on architecture and design.

14 outstanding heritage projects from the UK and mainland China will be selected by an Expert Advisory Group, to be exhibited later this year. Chaired by Ben Derbyshire, Past President of RIBA and Commissioner for Historic England, the other Expert Advisory Group members are:

  • Lu Wenyu, RIBA International Fellow and co-founder of Amateur Architecture Studio, Hangzhou
  • Chen Xiong, Director, Deputy General Manager and Chief Architect of Guangdong Architectural Design & Research Institute
  • Geoff Rich, Architect and Managing Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Bath, London and Manchester
  • Dr Wei Yang, Chair of Wei Yang & Partners, Immediate Past President of the Royal Town Planning Institute

Projects will be collated through:

1. A call for short proposals: Open to emerging architects (no more than ten years qualified), practitioners, designers and academics involved in conservation, renovation, preservation or transformation of buildings and spaces, in the UK and mainland China. Six projects will be selected.

2. RIBA Award winners: The Expert Advisory Group will consider heritage and conservation projects from the UK and China that have won RIBA International Awards or RIBA National Awards in the past two decades. Eight final projects will be selected.

The 14 projects will be showcased online and at a public exhibition in Shanghai, China and through two professional masterclass events, which will also provide a forum to discuss contemporary heritage conservation.

Why enter Open Door?

  • Your work will be assessed by a prestigious Expert Advisory Group
  • It will an opportunity to promote your work and practice to a global audience, via RIBA and British Council channels through the digital showcase
  • Winning proposals will be included in a live announcement event and exhibition on 15 September 2022, in Shanghai (restrictions pending)
  • The six winning projects will be featured at a professional masterclass event alongside award-winning work and academic experts in October 2022
  • Winning proposals will receive a RIBA certificate

How to enter

  1. Please read the Submission Guidance (PDF) for full eligibility and criteria details
  2. Submit proposals via email to by 4pm BST / 11pm CST on Monday 23 May 2022
  3. Open Door is free to enter

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