A proposal for the demise of open architectural competitions

The com­pe­ti­tion is mostly seen as a free and egal­i­tar­ian way of express­ing diverse ideas. How­ever, what often hap­pens is that open archi­tec­tural com­pe­ti­tions place stress upon the frag­ile economies of small archi­tec­tural firms.
What is even worse is that such com­pe­ti­tions favor the exploita­tion of interns because, if the entry is unsuc­cess­ful, no reim­burse­ment is given to the participants.

When a small prac­tice wants to enter a com­pe­ti­tion, it will have to use interns to reduce the costs of the pro­duc­tion needed for the sub­mis­sion, trig­ger­ing a sit­u­a­tion of exploita­tion when interns are forced to work up to 80 or 90 hours per week. In gen­eral, an open com­pe­ti­tion should not require too much time and effort from its par­tic­i­pants, nor should it impose intri­cate restrictions.

Some open com­pe­ti­tions have become lottery-like events, receiv­ing thou­sands of entries.

In addi­tion, many com­pe­ti­tions impose rules which deprive the archi­tects of any intel­lec­tual copy­right on their own sub­mis­sion. This is the ulti­mate con­tra­dic­tion, espe­cially when the archi­tect has to pay a fee to par­tic­i­pate. Too many neg­a­tive aspects are over­shad­ow­ing open com­pe­ti­tions despite the excite­ment and good will of many architects.

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94Maggie

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2017-08-06 12:09:32

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multitude- multitude

on Survey

2015-04-01 13:27:31

[…] the spon­ta­neous responses to the last ques­tion of the sur­vey car­ried out in […]

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 18:10:56

@Colt Sievers I will be the first to agree with you on all counts. I would love to read that article. If you ever want to publish it on my blogg please do not hesitate to contact me.

Colt Sievers

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:58:10

@Conrad having worked in one of those offices that you mention, I have found your post as much provocative as naive and simplistic. I should make an entire post to explain why... will leave that for later. Thanks, anyway, to keep the discussion alive

Conrad Newel

on 12+ h. a day, 6/7 days a week

2015-03-23 16:45:07

Besides my terrible diction or lack thereof this raises another issue. Should we really feel outrage or sympathy for these interns? After all the ones who can afford to take these kind of jobs are the sons and daughters of the wealthy. What this letter is, is infact symbolic capital and social significance for sale. The rich kid can buy this piece of significance for among other reasons to go to a party and say to his less affluent counterpart, "hey I work for SANAA, or DS+R or whoever. Where do you work again?" Its a status symbol, just like a porsche, or a private jet. Affordable to a selected few that can afford it.