Douglas V. Lintula, B. Arch.



Text of Booklet: Competitions, An Architectural Alternative written for the Ontario Association of Architects. (Presented as formatted over three panels.)


An Architectural Alternative

The usual method of obtaining an architectural design for a building project is to select one architectural firm from among several considered and to work with that firm towards developing a satisfactory result. This approach, in fact, is virtually standard procedure and certainly the most practicable arrangement for both client and

architect in terms of day-to-day business

operation. However, there is another approach:

the architectural competition.

An architectural competition is a truly competitive event. Essentially, it involves inviting architectural firms to submit designs for a specific project, and then selecting the most suitable submission for execution. Submissions are made on an

anonymous basis and judged by an impartial jury composed primarily of other architects.

Competitions have advantages for participants

and sponsors alike. Many architectural firms

welcome such opportunities for demonstrating capabilities; indeed, some firms attempt to enter

all competitions for which they are eligible. Competitions never suffer from a lack of entries.

For the private company, governmental agency

or institution that sponsors an architectural

competition, the returns are considerable. In

addition to arousing public interest, the holding

of a competition may be a practical alternative

when it proves difficult to choose an architectural firm from among several that may be equally qualified, or when a project poses complex

functional or site problems. A competition

does not necessarily result in a better design

than can otherwise be obtained, but a greater variety of solutions are certainly presented

for consideration.

Architectural competitions are suitable for a wide range of building types—public and private office buildings, churches, schools, residential developments—and projects of almost any size.

They can also be mounted inexpensively and arranged to suit individual design and construction schedules. Competitions are routinely held in the United States and many European countries for buildings varying greatly in size and function.

Architectural competitions are regulated in Ontario by the Ontario Association of Architects. A sponsor may choose to open a competition to all architects registered in the province or limit it to firms

meeting prescribed qualifications. No one

associated with the organization of a given competition may compete or assist an entrant

in that competition.

The general conduct of a competition is guided

by a professional architectural advisor who is

retained by the sponsor and required to be a registered Canadian architect. The advisor

counsels the sponsor on the organization and

running of a competition, informs competitors

of entry conditions and other requirements,

and instructs members of the jury in procedural matters. The professional advisor normally acts

as chairman of the jury and assists with the

selection of other jury members.

The Ontario Association of Architects encourages

the initiators of building projects to consider the competitive alternative for obtaining architectural designs, and provides assistance to competition sponsors through its Competitions Committee.

For more information on how to sponsor an architectural competition in Ontario, contact the Executive Director, Ontario Association of

Architects, 50 Park Road, Toronto, M4W 2N5.

Telephone (416) 929-0623.


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