Abstract

Design competitions are part of the design tradition since ages. Still structured empirical research about this topic is lacking. This paper describes the results of six months participatory observation as a member of a project team responsible for the organization of an international ideas competition. The data include observations, interviews and document analysis. The results for this paper focus on the design of the competition and stakeholder participation from a client perspective. The findings show four combinations of aspects that underlie several problems of design competitions as currently perceived by architectural practice: the dynamics of the brief, the balance between professionalism and ambition, the link between participation and competition aims, and the influence of expertise at client obligations. It is this constant search for a balance between ambitions, aims, opportunities and needs that make clients experience numerous difficulties during the design of a competition. It is however the same search that makes every competition unique and a wealth of information about clients and architectural design.

Keywords:

Architecture, Case Study, Client, Design Competition, Management, Participation

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Designing a Design Competition: The Client Perspective

Design competitions are part of the design tradition since ages. Still structured empirical research about this topic is lacking. This paper describes the results of six months participatory observation as a member of a project team responsible for the organization of an international ideas competition. The data include observations, interviews and document analysis. The results for this paper focus on the design of the competition and stakeholder participation from a client perspective. The findings show four combinations of aspects that underlie several problems of design competitions as currently perceived by architectural practice: the dynamics of the brief, the balance between professionalism and ambition, the link between participation and competition aims, and the influence of expertise at client obligations. It is this constant search for a balance between ambitions, aims, opportunities and needs that make clients experience numerous difficulties during the design of a competition. It is however the same search that makes every competition unique and a wealth of information about clients and architectural design.

 

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