Designers have been asked to create a new community space in the gardens, where local residents can "share collective memories".
The competition is being launched by the Glasgow Institute of Architects in partnership with the Springburn Winter Gardens Trust.
Entries will be displayed in an exhibition of models that will tour Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Institute of Architects venues.
The first of these events will be Doors Open Day on September 20 and 21 at Mosesfield House in Springburn Park.
Winners will be selected from a shortlist by a community voting process with the winning design announced in November.
In 2009 it was estimated that full refurbishment of the Winter Gardens was feasible and would likely cost around £4.67million.
A number of options have been suggested during the 30 years the structure has been out of public use.
A spokesman for the Glasgow Institute of Architects said: "The approach suggested by the Glasgow Institute of Architects is to make a series of incremental steps toward full renovation.
"The first step should be small, engage the local community and bring the structure back into the daily lives of the residents of Springburn and lovers of the park.
"The competition is designed to engage the local community in Springburn and bring the Winter Gardens back to the fore of collective consciousness.
"A key outcome of this process will be to raise the profile of the restoration campaign and interest in its restoration."
In its heyday Springburn was an industrial powerhouse but following the demise of the steam locomotive industry the area suffered decline.
Campaigners say there is a lack of community buildings in the area. In December 2012 Springburn Public Halls were demolished.
For more details about the competition, go to http://gia.org. uk/our-work/ competitions/springburn-winter-gardens