A culture of bungled design competitions has led a Sydney architect to call for greater transparency. Business Editor Gemma Battenbough reports.
April 28th, 2010
John Choi, director of Manly-based Choi Ropiha, said from now on contest organisers would need to demonstrate “greater commitment” to fully engage the profession.
Clients often launch design competitions without any real commitment to the outcome, he said. The expectation is that architects should invest their time and money in entering without knowing the likelihood of a project being developed.
“Often design competitions are run with the main intention of raising the profile of one of the stakeholders,” he told indesignlive.com.
“There is a culture of design competitions not coming to fruition and it is frustrating. A level of commitment needs to be signalled on the client’s side.”
Currently, the onus is on an architect to deconstruct a brief and see whether a competition is worth entering, Choi expalined. Firms have to “suss out” post-competition plans and processes, research budgets, look for the involvement of stakeholders, councils and public agencies, and study the jury.
But this should change, Choi said, with the burden of weighing up wobbly design competitions borne by professional bodies, such as the Australian Institute of Architects.
According to Choi, endorsing bodies should be “more mindful” of the commitment on offer from clients.
He also believes in a two-tier system of endorsement that would give clients the option of running an ideas competition or a fully-fledged project competition.
“An ideas competition would need a low level of commitment from a client. The winner can always be engaged if circumstances evolve that way. Whereas, a project competition would call for a high level of commitment, including a larger prize sum, upfront contract terms, high-level design jurors, technical advisors and stakeholder involvement,” he said.
“Competitions are great project opportunities and they are important for developing professionally … But they would be significantly more constructive to the profession in Australia if they were more organised”
Image above and below: Choi Ropiha’s TKTS Booth in Times Square, competition winner.
A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers
Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!
Explore the radical new organisation strategy which accommodates for the hybrid future of work.
Australia’s leading producer of solid-engineered oak flooring has recently launched a new suite of innovative resources to support creativity and ambition in the architecture and design community.
Join us behind the scenes with V-ZUG’s in-house design team, and discover how this Swiss boutique kitchen manufacturer balances art, science and history to create its pioneering Excellence line.
Carl Hansen & Søn has re-instated one of Hans J. Wegner’s early designs – the 1950 CH22 lounge chair. They’ve also released the never before seen CH26.
Everybody wants a piece made by Mud, a unique Australian brand whose Sydney-made porcelain wares have attracted fans from around the world.
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
Functional and concise, the designs of Noom are an exercise in craft and artisanship. Composed of simple geometric shapes, each piece is made in the designers’ Ukraine workshop.
From innovative architectural material solutions, to colourful works seeking solutions for the future, and playful metaphors for the issues of today. We deep dive into the creatives starting new conversations around sustainability.
A Japanese restaurant experience like no other: Kelly Ross has delved into Japanese folklore to respond to the incredible cuisine of hatted chef Nobuyuki Ura.