Two international experts release open access book on competitions

Two international competition experts—Université de Montréal’s Jean-Pierre Chupin and G. Stanley Collyer, chief editor of Competitions magazine—have penned an open-access book, which demonstrates the importance of opening competitions for projects in architecture, urban planning and landscape to young design teams.

Written by Jean-Pierre Chupin and G. Stanley Collyer, Young Architects in Competitions (When Competitions and a New Generation of Ideas Elevate Architectural Quality) presents a set of data and case studies arguing for the decisive role of young architecture, urban planning and landscape design firms in competitions.

The data gleaned from the international level demonstrate that young architects are proving to be able to match—or exceed—the capabilities of their most experienced competitors in designing high-quality built environments.

The dossier suggests the need to reverse a post-2000 trend to exclude many young architectural firms from competitions, on the alleged basis of their inexperience.

The book briefly presents a vast, non-exhaustive repertoire of architectural achievements, emphasizing the astonishing precociousness of the associated firms. It includes examples of international competitions, grouped by region.

After analyzing a period spanning nearly five decades, the book concludes that an emphasis on Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) is not the sole reason many architectural firms face rejection.

It hypothesizes that our society’s fondness for a priori control procedures should also be called into question, if we desire our places of culture and civic representation to sustain the generations that live and benefit from them.

The authors additionally question whether architecture can preserve its legitimacy when it excludes young architects from the synergistic activity and democratic participation of project competitions, essentially undermining the renewal of talent within the profession.