Four jurors have sensationally walked away from one of the world's most high-profile competitions due to the 'questionable exclusion' of the likes of Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield and Will Alsop.
The four, who include Tate Modern director Nick Serota and Design Museum boss Deyan Sudjic, resigned from the jury of the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art competition at the beginning of this week. They are furious at what they claim are the 'spurious reasons' organisers used to exclude the group of architects, which also included Portuguese star Eduardo Souto de Moura.
Of the 200 expressions of interest, only 76 were judged to have passed all the bureaucratic hoops. The others are not being allowed to progress.
The four jurors - who also include Christine Binswanger of Herzog and de Meuron, and ex-Domus editor Vittorio Lampugnani - have demanded the organiser restart the competition.
Failing this, the quartet called on those architects that are still included to resign rather than proceed in the current framework.
'There is no way that we wanted to be telling Poles what to do, as Poland is a country that is rightly very proud of its history of cultural innovation,' Sudjic told the AJ.
'But the situation became almost impossible and it soon became apparent that the Kafka-esque set of regulations was making it extremely difficult.'
The problems that Sudjic outlined included a series of bizarre incidents such as the rejection of David Chipperfield - whose entire submission was in both English and Polish - for failing to produce a letter that handed the power to sign documents to his company secretary.
Another example which Sudjic cited was the rejection of Eduardo Souto de Moura because he had not produced evidence that his other company directors had a clean criminal record. Souta de Moura does not have any fellow directors.
'One would like to imagine that this was just an administrative mistake,' Sudjic went on. 'But it seems to have been hijacked by the Polish Chamber of Architects.
'It is well known that they don't want foreign architects building in Warsaw,' he added. by Ed Dorrell