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Murphy slams ‘nervous’ Scots

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Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy has slammed Scottish architects for being too timid in bidding for major contests in the country

According to Murphy,  Scottish practices are like ‘ghillies’ – fishing tackle caddies or ‘hired hands’ – because they won’t go it alone in the £47 million competition to design a new home for the V&A at Dundee.

‘The design architect practices are thinking the only way they can get into this job is to put down their first fiddle and pick up the viola,’ said Murphy.

Among those already understood to have linked up with other practices for the Dundee contest are: Edinburgh-based Wiszniewski Thomson Architects and Peter Eisenman; Sutherland Hussey with 3DReid and global giants AECOM; and Page\Park and a Barcelona-based MBM Arquitectes.

‘I despair at the notion that there’s no one in Scotland who can build this on their own,’ added Murphy.

He believes that the Scottish architectural profession is stronger now than at any time in the past 30 years, but is being held back by the belief that firms must team up with international stars to win competitions.

All of the five native practices shortlisted to build the Scottish Parliament (pictured above) in 1998 were teamed with international star designers, according to Murphy. ‘The experience of the Scottish Parliament has made everyone quite nervous about going on their own,’ he said.

However, Scots Gareth Hoskins is understood to be working up proposals for the landmark building on the Dundee waterfront on its own, while Kathryn Findlay has teamed up with Reiach and Hall Architects.

Meanwhile, Graeme Massie Architects has submitted with Stanton Williams.

Murphy has confirmed he will bid alone for the V&A

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Given that this is an OJEU PIN for selection of a shortlist of between 4 and 6 candidates - who should have experience of two 'comparable' projects. That there is no funding, and that half of the proposed site sits in the river Tay. Perhaps a certain ambivilance among Scottish architects without the egotistical bluster of Murphy, Massie, Hoskins et al is understandable. Good luck though.

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  • How many practices in Scotland, or anywhere else for that matter, have completed 2 similar projects in the last 3 years? That is the selection criteria so it is no surprise that we aren't seeing more Scottish practices going it alone. As with so many other publicly funded projects, the issue here is a debilitating and risk-adverse selection process which excludes the majority and supresses true competition.

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