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Rogers to snub BBC competitions

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The Richard Rogers Partnership has said it will refuse to bid for future BBC buildings unless the corporation changes the way it runs competitions.

The partnership is angry about the level of detail the broadcaster demanded of the seven practices shortlisted for its headquarters building in Glasgow. It is also furious that the corporation retains the copyright on all entries.

'The partnership should set an example, ' said RRP managing director Marco Goldschmied, and out-going president of the RIBA.'If practices like mine don't take a stand, then who will?'

Goldschmied said the practice had to draw up a 'completely unnecessary' level of detail, including office layouts and even roof plans.

He is worried that the way the scheme was managed could leave the door open for the corporation to 'cut and paste' the work and offer it to a design and build firm.

'You don't need that level of detail to choose an architect, so what do you want it for? And why do you need the copyright? It's scandalous, ' he said.

Last week the BBC jury failed to decide on an outright winner for the scheme to build a new centre on Glasgow's Pacific Quay, but it asked David Chipperfield Architects and Mecanoo Architecten of Holland to refine their plans and re-present their solutions at the beginning of May.

Each shortlisted practice was awarded £20,000 to participate in the competition, but the BBC refused to say whether it will be providing extra funding to the remaining two firms. Goldschmied insists his complaint is not a case of 'sour grapes', and that he is speaking on behalf of the profession.

Rab Bennetts, partner at Bennetts Associates and author of a book on architectural competitions, agreed with Goldschmied. But the problem, he said, is that architects let themselves be exploited. 'Architects should never agree to handing over copyright. The BBC would never do it with film producers or writers, so it shouldn't do it with architects, ' Bennetts told the AJ.

Others were more sanguine. Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre said: 'We went into it with our eyes open.

You can't do a competition in a halfhearted way; it's all or nothing.'

Louisa Hutton of Sauerbruch Hutton, which has never entered a major UK competition before, thought the process was fair. 'It was a great competition to do and we'll do another one, ' she said.

The other shortlisted practices were Allan Murray Architects and Page & Park Architects.

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