Back to the drawing board
Thursday 19 February 1998
The Chicago IIT campus contest that Rem Koolhaas won (see left) was a very polite affair. The four finalists who lost had the blow softened by $20,000 payments. In France and Germany, where public buildings have to be selected from open competitions, shortlisted architects can be paid between pounds 5,000 and pounds 150,000. In Britian it's seldom more than pounds 2,000.
Other competitions, such as the process to find a design for the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood in Edinburgh, are not shaping up so well. No sooner had Donald Dewar, Secretary of State for Scotland, announced that it would be built at Holyrood, a World Heritage Site, than he moved swiftly to give "architects throughout Scotland, Britain and indeed Europe, the opportunity to bid for the chance to design the Parliament".
"It's a tender, not a competition, to find the architect for the Scottish Parliament," Richard Haut, publisher of the weekly architectural and design Competitions listings throughout Europe believes. The first stage will be completed by the end of March, when application forms from design and architectural firms are due at the Scottish Office. These forms are designed to weed out all but the bigger practices. So the first question on the application to the Scottish Office asks how much experience the practice has in designing pounds 50m buildings. Asking this will "disenfranchise many architects", as the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland provocatively asserts.
But Richard Haut is optimistic that architects without the pounds 50m building behind them can hitch up with a structural engineer to get in their initial application. Even if the Scottish Office is looking in the first instance "for architects with a proven ability in producing buildings of the quality, complexity, and sensitivity we are looking for on the Holyrood site", the pounds 50m question is hardly in the spirit of their stated intention to hold an international design competition. This procedure will allow the Scottish Office to choose an architect, rather than a design. It should have been dropped for an open competition in which architects registered in the UK were invited to submit sketched designs anonymously against a brief.
Holyrood hopefuls will have to get their skates on. Scottish architects suspect that the four practices which were engaged - and paid - by the Scottish office to make feasibility studies of the potential sites will be shortlisted for the building itself. Eight other names are expected to go forward into the first round, which closes at the end of March.
The RIAS has expressed disappointment at the rush - "After 300 years, for a building with an expected lifespan of hundreds of years, what are a few hundred days?" NN
Life & Style blogs
Surgeon backs 'good death' plans - and reveals his own
NHS hit by stealth cuts of £2bn as tariffs received for medical procedures are reduced
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter
Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...