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Designing the Absent – Design a New Tower for the Cathedral in Antwerp

The cathedral of Antwerp remains unfinished. When they started building it in the 14th century they didn’t take the future in account and soon ran out of finances. They made the building functional but lost one tower.

This absence creates a blank canvas for today. By generating ideas for a new tower, we can put a focus on the cathedral itself. The given fact of an absent element within an existing structure functions as a great generator for ideas.

Keeping this in mind, every participant comes up with an idea for the unfinished tower. The competition can be seen as an international brainstorm, which means everybody can join.


Design a new tower for the cathedral in Antwerp.

The result doesn’t need to be functional, it can be an inflatable tower or a high tech amusement park attraction.

Your entry can be:

  • a 3d render,
  • a paper model,
  • a collage,
  • a black marker drawing or
  • anything else you think fits your concept the best.


The prizes will continue to evolve over time. We are doing our best to collect as many prizes possible. So far the only guarantee is a traveling exhibition, a publication and a small cash prize. The more submissions we will get the bigger the prize! All the submissions will also appear on this website and a book will be made with all the best entries. We are constantly looking for sponsors who are interested in supporting this project to make it bigger and better.

  • 1st prize: cash prize + publication + exhibitions with mentioning of this logo
  • 2nd prize: cash prize + publication + exhibitions with mentioning of this logo
  • 3rd prize: cash prize + publication + exhibitions with mentioning of this logo
  • Honorable mentions: publication + exhibitions with mentioning of this logo

After all entries are in and the winners have been selected, there will be a series of exhibitions. These will show the best x-amount of submissions, including the winners and honorable mentions.

So even if u don’t win a thing, you’re submission will still be published and you’re work makes a good chance to be exhibited.

All valid entries will be published in a book (as many as possible). This book will be a compilation of all creative ideas based on the tower. It will showcase all concepts and ideas formed by an absence and will function as a source of inspiration.


On this official page you can find a picture of the Cathedral with the missing tower.

  • Your tower must be placed on this picture, the way how is completely free.
  • The downloaded image can not be cropped or re-sized. So u need to send the same picture back, only with addition of your second tower.
  • Projects participating to the competition, must be original works.
  • Projects must be free from copyrights and any kind of obligation.
  • The design shall not in any way infringe any third party’s right, including but not limited to copyright, logos, trademark, trade names, or other proprietary rights of publicity or privacy.
  • Only entries with a declaration of authorship are accepted!

How to enter?

Together with the picture of the Cathedral completed with your ‘new tower’, you should write a short explanation about your concept and submit it on the official website.