This issue of Footprint follows a double trajectory. On the one hand, it advances an ambition for architecture historiography. The social sciences have long recognised the need for more comprehensive and inclusive methods for writing history. Among them, comparative literature scholar Mary Louise Pratt’s ‘contact zone’ appears as a useful framework for writing new histories of architecture that recognise the many interrelations that characterise the discipline of architecture. On the other hand, and among many possible contact zones, the issue focuses on studying the architecture competition as a contact zone. The resulting collection of articles, review articles and an interview show how, when seen as a contact zone, the architecture competition emerges as fertile ground for the production of disciplinary knowledge, resulting from exchanges between different cultures. Acknowledging the diverse nature of these cultures, together with the recognition of institutions, legislation and other conceptual frameworks as key elements of architecture as contact zone offers fresh theoretical insight, but also poses unexpected communicative challenges.