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Allford raises questions over European 40 Under 40

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The Architecture Foundation’s chair Simon Allford has challenged the credibility of recently released rankings claiming to list the 40 ‘most important’ emerging architects in Europe

Allford has raised questions about the judging criteria - and the number of entrants - for the awards after only one British designer was named among the winners.

London-based Scott Kyson was the sole UK entrant in the ‘Europe 40 under 40’ rankings, compiled by the Dublin-based European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.

Despite its title, the listing named 54 ‘laureates’ from 11 nations. The roll of honour is dominated by French architects, with 34 chosen from 17 practices.

Christian K Narkiewicz-Laine, museum president of the Chicago Athenaeum, said the latest winners were ‘some of the brightest and most progressive’ architects and designers ever selected in the awards’ history.

However it has emerged that anyone wishing to be considered had to pay €200 to enter and questions have since been asked by Allford about how the prize was advertised, how it was assessed and how many architects submitted from each country.

Allford’s queries, which were sent to the awards’ backers by the AJ, have yet to receive a response. He told the AJ: ‘The title’s claims for this show certainly appear grandiose and perhaps inappropriate.

‘As it claims to be the definitive list of ‘Europe’s most important and emerging young architects’ I would like to be given some answers.’

He added: ‘Of course these things are always somewhat subjective and the most important thing as a general rule is to celebrate new talent.

‘But, the greater the claim the greater the scrutiny, and as we run some similar initiatives at the AF I would be interested to hear the answers as I am sure  we can learn something for next time.’

According to the award’s organisers winners submitted projects to a jury panel made up of architectural practitioners, developers, architectural journalists, educators, and critics.

The European Centre for Architecture has so far refused to respond to Allford’s questions.

> But a spokewoman for the centre said: ‘The jury decides which are the winning projects. Maybe this year is the year of French architects. Their projects where better and won more awards.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It is really peculiar: we architects always have to pay to enter something just t afterwards receive a mean Price from some powerful donor.

    Eugenio Aguinaga

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