Short illustrated articles on your experiences of architectural competitions in Europe are invited for the Venice Biennale 2018.
This Open Call is part of a project that aims to improve architectural competitions and design contests by appraising comparative performances, procedures and outputs across Europe to identify issues and best practices, for their improvement and reform. It is part of the joint European programme on Competition Culture in Europe by Project Compass, Architectuur Lokaal and A10 New Architecture Co-operative to be presented in the Italian pavilion, Palazzo Widmann at Venice Biennale in May 2018. Outputs will also be available across Europe on thefulcrum.eu.
To submit please let us know, by writing to ProjectCompassCIC@gmail.com with no more than a 3 sentence outline about the subject area(s) you intend to address, at the latest by January 26, 2018. The final deadline for submission is March 2, 2018.
Not including the basic details set out below and any references.
Min. 2 – Max 6 images. Plans & sections are particularly welcome. Please ensure and confirm the images are licenced creative commons use.
Experiences collected from architects who have won Design Contests* abroad, to better understand the conditions that apply after a specific competition win in another country, including the benefits and obstacles.
Critical reflection by architects on substantive competition issues including their practices and outputs. For example architects are still consciously and frequently participating in bad competitions, it is not self-evident that jurors read the rules first and clients are failing to honour results.
Collecting data that contributes to misunderstandings and preconceptions in competition culture, including the commonly held beliefs that all problems arise from regulations.
Collecting data into how, in each country, European, national and local laws and regulations are arranged, weighted and customised in competitions so as to provide insights on the benefits and disadvantages of the varied national applications.
“There is now little motivation for design professionals to initiate and nurture projects from inception as almost invariably the original designers will be preclude as the established competition processes are highly restrictive.
This effectively ‘locks out’ many of those who would be particularly well placed to support ‘bottom up’ endeavours, whether for example through the engagement of design professionals with their communities or by creating imaginative and valuable design ideas contributing to the city’s wider needs, vitality and wellbeing.”
The proposals tabled would “..allow all to benefit from the positive and creative endeavours of those developing built environment ideas for public good.
“London has many challenges and it is clear that we need to find a way that will encourage design professionals to come forward with ideas and to engage with communities in order to meet these challenges, and for client bodies to know they can access those ideas and benefit from the knowledge and work already carried out.”
After the Thames Garden Bridge debacle and in response to the Hodge Review, on 17 July TfL Board were invited to approve a series of recommendations for governance changes to increase oversight and effectiveness of their procurement activities. This follows on from a number of other previously implemented changes also made public HERE. Whilst this represents progress following the Project Compass report into the ‘Thames Garden Bridge Procurement Issues’ (feb 2016) we will continue to work forward on the need for further reform of procurement governance, practices, procedures and opportunities, particularly for design professionals, both across London and elsewhere.
How can architects, especially the new generation, find out what design contests are announced in Europe? What considerations should they make to decide if they’re going to participate in an architect selection abroad? And what is the chance a winning plan will be built? Architect selections for commissions below EU thresholds are not published on the official website Tenders European Daily (TED). Smaller commissions stay below the radar and, above all, not all European countries are members of the European Union.
In order to gain better insight into the current situation, Architectuur Lokaal will host a two day international conference in Amsterdam: Competition Culture in Europe, on September 28 and 29. The conference will mark the start of a four-year program on competition culture in Europe.
Architectuur Lokaal is the only independent organization in the Netherlands that is consistently engaged in improving the competition culture. In recent years we have noticed a growing interest in design competitions in the Netherlands. Design competitions contribute towards new solutions to new questions and offer opportunities to young architects who struggle to get access to (European) tenders. Competitions have proven to be a relevant instrument that fits well into the new relationships and positions surrounding spatial assignments.
The conference Competition Culture in Europe will mark the start of a four-year program of Architectuur Lokaal which will continue to work across the border in the coming years. The purpose of the program is to:
Further expand cooperation on competition culture in Europe by exchanging knowledge and information;
Increase access to competitions outside the Netherlands by disclosing the national platforms on which these competitions are announced;
Investigate possibilities for structural cooperation in accordance with Project Compass.
Good riddance to the Garden Bridge: an eye-watering waste of public funds
Walter Menteth article originally published 11 May, 2017 in
With one swift blow, London Mayor Sadiq Khan confounded plans to construct a leafy walkway above the River Thames. By refusing to guarantee further public funds, the mayor leaves the Garden Bridge project with a funding gap of some £70m, and a countdown of just eight months until planning permission expires.
Project Compass CIC have published a newly commissioned report covering UK architectural competitions that forms part of a comparative evaluation, stocktaking & exploration of European competition culture. It includes some case studies & has been undertaken to collate info. to further research the opportunities & potential expansion of alternative innovatory European practices. PCompass director Walter Menteth has written on some of the findings from the case studies separately in further detail here.
PCompass director Walter Menteth will be delivering an RIBA CORE CPD PROGRAMME in 14 English cities over 2017 entitled ‘An Essential Guide to Public Procurement: Better Prospects & More Opportunities’. These seminars are Open to the Public. Details of dates & venues close to you are availablehere.
The seminar will cover: the background & context; the new regulatory environment; Understanding a competition, the notice and brief Pre market engagement; RIBA Ten Principles for Procuring Better Outcomes; Competitive bidding; The questions as to how change in procurement culture with better competitive processes and practices can be embedded, will also be addressed.
The seminar will provide: an update on public competition reforms, the principles & contributories, as well as efficiency & effectiveness, SME access & levelling the playing field. The RIBA Ten Principles for Procuring Better Outcomes will be detailed, including advice on encouraging consortia bids from smaller practices, tips on consultant capability assessment, & selection of suitable building contracts. Competitive bidding & the bid itself will be explored, including do’s & don’ts on practices strengths & weaknesses, content & tone of responses to a tender invite, & identifying pass/fail areas, as well as understanding learning opportunities from the tender evaluation stage & feedback.
The European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) came into force on 26 January 2016, is now aligned to UK procurements and its digital implementation across Europe will be completing in 2017 – What more do you need to know and do? Read more here.
(This article originally appeared on Dec. 16, 2017 on the Architects’ Journal website, HERE.)
Those with their noses pressed firmly to the grindstone of the public sector will know that 2016 presented an increasingly exasperating array of pungent procedures and cack-handed contracts.
Despite evidence of good practice emerging in isolated pockets across the UK, many of us continued to wrestle with excessively complex, unnecessarily verbose prequalification questionnaires and archaic and bewildering web portals seemingly coded on a Commodore 64.
It was a big year for high-profile cultural projects. The Museum of London began and concluded the selection of a design team for its new Smithfield home, with the award going to a talented team headed by Stanton Williams. Meanwhile, in Essex, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council commenced, abandoned, and began again its search for an architect to take forward the Thames Estuary Museum it had previously awarded back in 2009, but which had ground to a halt in the seven years since AEW’s original scheme won planning. Quite who’s up for taking on this apparently Sisyphean task might become apparent early in the new year.