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Selection process for new London concert hall is ‘onerous and ambiguous’


If the AJ’s pages are an indicator, the number of design competitions appears to be on the rise and this should be a good thing, as well-run competitions offer valuable choice to clients and bring opportunities to designers. But quantity without quality is not enough and Malcolm Reading’s incisive comments on the avoidable shortcomings of another competition are depressingly familiar. A positive client-architect relationship is critical in fulfilling the potential of any project and the need to establish trust and mutual respect between the parties is just as important for a design competition as it is for a direct appointment. This begins with the PQQ and briefing criteria, where entrants decide to commit what can end up being a significant time and resource, and should encompass all the entrants, not just the last one standing. The defence that a process is “compliant with OJEU rules” does not mean that it is good or fair or is not exploitative. A successful competition can transform good design into truly great design, but only when the aims and aspirations of client and architect are well communicated, clearly understood and mutually aligned. This is well known to experienced providers such as Malcolm Reading and RIBA Competitions and it is time that other promoters, particularly in the public sector, embraced a positive spirit for competitions rather than hiding behind the letter of the law. Martin Knight FRIBA

Posted date

20 May, 2017

Posted time

2:52 pm