13 May 2024
11 minute read

How to make an award winning
architecture project.

Team man1
Written by Steven Rubio
How to make a winning project blog

Recently I was looking through the architecture competition yearbook and found a winning proposal that I was amazed at! A project located on a remote island on the outskirts of Colombia, called Santa Cruz del Islote.

Their proposal created a series of small interventions around the island that would regenerate the public space and help recover the marine life surrounding it. But the main thing that I was amazed at with this proposal was all of the drawings and renders of different styles it had.

Watch the video here:
How to make an award winning project thumbnail

I wanted to know how they created their maquette style images, 

How somehow all of their drawings kept a similar language, and how they managed to design all of this on a remote island on the Caribbean.

And although this yearbook had a section on “how we won that competition” that explained how they approached the design and created everything…I wanted to learn more.

So I decided to search their profiles and see if we could meet up so they can tell me how they did all of this. We talked for a while and they told me that they had participated in more than 10 competitions where they had won an award  and have worked on projects from all over the world.

They also walked me through how they created the two main visuals for the project, and showed me the 3d model of the main visual

After talking with them I said to myself,  “i needed to make a video about this”

I'm going to show you a specific three step method that Bemaarch uses to win competitions, a breakdown of how they created this image in D5 render, and breakdown how they created this axonometric section.


This proposal is located on an island that only has a community of less than 1,000 people! They have difficulty accessing clean water, electricity, a good education system, and the way they dispose of trash is a real big problem!

Since this is such a small place there is only 7% of public space and the marine ecological system is being reduced more and more each day!

The team at Bemaarch proposed a tourist loop that created valuable public spaces and served as a means to increment the economy by bringing tourists into the island. A second big part of the proposal was to enhance the coral reef layer surrounding the island and benefiting the marine species vital for the islands overall well being.

How to create an award winning architecture project2
How to create an award winning architecture project 1

Visual Identity 

And one of the things BeMaarch does as soon as they start a new project is define the visual identity. Which is one of the first of three keys to their method for a winning a competition.

Their visual identity is usually composed of a color palette, a logo and name for the project, and  a series of key visual elements

As soon as they have their visual identity they use this to create the visuals for the entire project, from sections, to plans, axonometric and illustrations! This way their drawings all look from the same family.

“A visual identity is usually composed of a color palette, a logo and name for the project, and a series of key visual elements.”
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Steven Rubio Architect & Illustrator
How to create an award winning architecture project5

Exceed in Detail. 

The second key for their method to winning a competition is to have excess detail. Meaning to do much more than what the competition typically requires.

If we look again at the competition yearbook and search through competitions from different themes, we see that maybe some of them since they are mainly ideas competitions, only create schematic projects that don’t go too much in detail.

Bemarch instead proposes to do the opposite. They ask themselves, How can we exceed the level of detail to a degree that no one expects it?

Their proposal had a master plan down to a technical detail of the furniture, this is the kind of level you have to compete with if you want to win a competition.

How to create an award winning architecture project 4

One Key Image

The third key for their method to win a competition is to create one key image that contained the visual narrative of the project.

A main key visual is the ultimate bonus to winning, and for this project the image was a *different* image, they didnt want to create a simple render that they knew everyone else was also going to do, they wanted to create a maquette style image, to show the architectural side of the proposal that a normal image would not give them

As soon as i heard this was made in D5 render i was amazed, i immediately wanted to see the model and the final images! So they sent me over the model and they had a chance to explain the workflow.

They modeled the houses in revit, then passed all of this onto D5 render, applied a maquette style material to all of this, and imported low poly 3d people from sketchup to create the images.

Just like they said before, the detail is key to an image like this. Showing a lot of detail was really important. So in the images you can see the window detail, public space furniture, floor materials, and even the people where playing a game in the scene!

Another important visual in this project was the axonometric section, where they had to find a way to show a section of the loop they were creating but in a creative way. So they created different cuts through the model and with their visual identity color palette imported this into illustrator to make it look impactful and full of detail!

How to create an award winning architecture project3


The three step method for bemarch to participate in the competition is to:

  1. Create a visual identity, 
  2. Exceed the level of details required for the competition
  3. Have one main visual tell the story of the project!

Now, I cant believe i got the chance to talk to the creators of this project and they walked me through how they created this! I also go the opportunity to check out some of their other projects and let me tell you that they are so good, you should definitely go and check them out!

Studying competition winners is something i enjoy and having the opportunity to break them down in such a detailed manner was a really great experience!

If you would like to see more competition breakdowns, and how showing the projects in a better way helped everyone understand the ideas better, comment down below!

Also, what do you think of designing a project on an island?

Watch the complete video here
How to make an award winning project thumbnail

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