Competition introduction

Competition organisers

Iceland Movie 

In Partnership With

Iceland Movie 

In an age of streaming services and social media, cinema is more important than ever. The unique experience of cinema is a tradition that has lasted for hundreds of years. The cinema experience means becoming fully immersed in a story, watching and reacting with others, all without the distraction of phones or conversations. There’s still something unique about cinema and the theatrical experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Icelandic cinema is booming with the Icelandic film industry regularly releasing around four domestic films per year. It has a history of success stories, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1991 for Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s Children of Nature, and writer-director Grímur Hákonarson’s beautifully crafted Rams which took home an award at Cannes in 2015.

In addition to local films, Iceland has quickly become an important location for international production. Movie studios and production companies like 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm Ltd are flocking to make use of the stunning and unique landscapes of Iceland in all sorts of films, from science-fiction and fantasy films to big-budget Hollywood productions. One of the most famous TV shows to film in Iceland was, of course, Game of Thrones, and key locations used in the series have become popular tourist spots.

One such location is the Grjótagjá caves in northern Iceland - a collection of three small caves located near Lake Mývatn. The caves are home to some of the most beautiful geothermal pools in the world and were featured in Game of Thrones in the scene where Jon Snow and Ygritte first fell in love. The caves are in close proximity to each other, with two of them just 50 meters apart, and are located on Vogar farmland.


The Grjótagjá caves in northern Iceland are home to some of the most beautiful geothermal pools in the world and were made famous after appearing on Game of Thrones.


Sitting on the tectonic divide between Europe and America, the caves were first discovered back in the 18th century when the outlaw Jón Markússon made them his home.  

The Iceland Movie Pavilion competition is running in collaboration with the Landeigendur Voga ehf, who are the current landowners of Vogar farmland. For this competition, Buildner is asking participants to submit designs for a movie pavilion that could be constructed in this beautiful location in Iceland.

The pavilion should reflect the essence of Icelandic cinema, its distinctive character, and unique history, with the central focus being a small movie theatre capable of hosting up to 50 visitors.


The competition site is located 100 meters from the Grjótagjá caves. 

The pavilion would need to be a place to introduce visitors to Icelandic cinema, as well as offer fans a place to gather and share their passion for film. This could take the form of a small gallery or event space with a cafe or bar that could cater to guests. Participants are encouraged to consider these requirements to make the space engaging and inviting, as well as functional. Iceland’s distinctive and remarkable landscapes and natural landmarks should be an inseparable part of the final concept.

Download the full competition brief for more information! 

The competition is open to all. No professional qualification is required. Design proposals can be developed individually or by teams (4 team members maximum). Correspondence with organizers must be conducted in English; All information submitted by participants must be in English.

Full competition brief

All information can be downloaded as often as required; no additional information or material will be provided after registration.

    - SITE CAD & PDF


10,000 € + Construction
Total Prize Fund
4,000 €
Certificate of Achievement
2,500 €
Certificate of Achievement
1,000 €
Certificate of Achievement
1,000 €
Certificate of Achievement
1,000 €
+ 50 € ARCHHIVE BOOKS Gift Card 
+ 50 Points  Buildner Architecture University Rankings 

Certificate of Achievement
500 €

Certificate of Achievement


Buildner will also acknowledge the outstanding performance of all winners and honourable mentions with Certificates of Achievement.

Publicity campaign

The Buildner’s extensive global publicity campaign for the competition winners:

  • "SEEN BY" ONE MILLION Results published on - one of the leading websites in the industry and is visited by over one million unique visitors each year.
  • "SEEN BY" 800 000 MORE Publications on Buildner's social networks (over 600,000 followers) and newsletter campaigns (over 200,000 subscribers).
  • INTERVIEW Exclusive interview published with the results and shared on Buildner's social networks.
  • MOVIE The competition winners will be granted and opportunity to submit a movie about themselves. The video will be published on the Buildner's website and social networks.
  • MEDIA PARTNERS The competition results will get international art and design media coverage and will be featured in the world’s leading architecture media outlets.

Jury panel

Jury members shall under no circumstances be contacted by competition participants or their representatives. Participants who attempt to contact jury members, shall be disqualified.

All jury members are involved in the evaluation based on their availability at that time. All communication regarding the competition should only be carried out with Buildner staff. For any questions please contact us on [email protected]


Find the extended list of jury panel biographies here!

Hanna Dís Whitehead Studio Hanna Whitehead Iceland
Mark Smyth Studio Bua Norway
Pablo Larroulet LARROU ARQ - Pablo Larroulet Arquitectura Chile
Hans Jakob Wagner Research associate and doctoral candidate at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction, University of Stuttgart Germany
Pip Cheshire Director, Cheshire Architects New Zealand
Ricardo Gomes Partner, Portugal
Sigrún Sumarliðadóttir Studio BUA UK
Borghildur Indriðadóttir Artist on the Moon Iceland

Key dates

Closing date for registration

08 November, 2022

Closing date for project submission

12 December, 2022 (11:59pm London time)

Announcement of the winners

21 February, 2023

Competition Q&A deadline: 14 November, 2022

In order to guarantee equal opportunities to all competition participants,
no new questions will be answered after this deadline!

Registration fees

  • Registration Deadline
    15 September - 08 November
  • Architects / Enthusiasts / Companies
    145 €
  • Students
    115 €
+4.5% VAT
  • Registration Deadline
    15 September - 08 November
  • Architects / Enthusiasts / Companies
    145 €
  • Students
    115 €
+4.5% VAT


Contact us to receive special student rates for group registrations (discount applies for 3+ registrations from one university/school) and to receive further information and support for getting your students involved in architecture competitions. Send us request from your university email address along with basic information about yourself and your university/school. Please note that only recognized university staff can apply for the reduced student rate.


Competition results in media

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Competition related questions

There is no site topography available. For this competition participants are asked to consider the site as flat.
There are no building height restrictions defined.
There are no excavation depth restrictions defined.
Underground construction may be proposed; however, due to the sensitive site conditions, participants are advised against it.
Participants may propose a carpark as the site can be accessed by private vehicles and tourist buses; however, the neighboring caves' car park can be proposed as a potential parking solution.
Electricity is available on the site; no water or sewer connection is available.
Participants are not required to suggest the future expansion of the cinema.
Standing cafe may be preferred; however, participants may propose other solutions.
There are no specific requirements for the seating layout defined.
There are no specific requirements for the wall systems defined.

General questions

Click on "register now", fill in all the required fields, choose your payment method and submit your information. You will be forwarded to Paypal or CPS secure payment gateway, to cover the competition fee. Once we receive your payment, we'll send you an email with your username and password to upload your submission directly to the website.
You can add/remove/edit team member information as often as you want in the upload panel, up until the submission deadline.
Only one proposal per registration is permitted. Participants are entitled to register multiple times if they wish to participate in the competition with several proposals.
Yes we are in the process of negotiating with multiple international industry-related media representatives. The list of media partners is constantly updated on our website, please check it regularly to find latest updates.
Yes. If the jury panel selects a Student award's submission for the top 3, it will automatically be awarded both prizes.
Yes. If the jury panel selects a Green award's submission for the top 3, it will automatically be awarded both prizes.
No. Competition entries are evaluated anonymously. The participant registration type is only revealed upon the announcement of the results.
Please contact us – [email protected] and we will address the problem directly.
The short answer is yes, you may submit a previously published design concept as long as you are the author. Before re-submitting your project, please carefully read the following clarification points listed here -
Don't see the answer to your question?
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