Architectural Competitions give the promoters a choice from the best viable project of high standard with a variety of approaches.
Competition brings out a wide range of ideas and concepts and gives the promoter the choice of selecting that which fits into his specific requirements.
One of the principal aims of the competition is to explore hidden talents among younger Architects. To many competitors, it often is the first step to a successful career.
Competition Guidelines as laid down by the Council of Architecture protect and safeguard the interests both of the promoter and the competitor.
While ensuring the promoter a design of high standard and adjudged as such by prominent Architects acting as Assessors, it also ensures that each competitor competes on like conditions and within the same limitations.
Both the promoter and the competitor are assured by these guidelines that the entries will be judged only by those who are qualified to interpret the competitors' presentations and to judge if the design selected meets with the promoter's requirements.
The guidelines therefore lay considerable emphasis on the mandatory requirement of Assessors and the qualifications.
The appointment of the Assessors should therefore be the immediate and first step the moment the promoter decides to go in for a competition. The President of the Council of Architecture, if so requested by the promoter, may suggest a panel of names experienced in this type of project proposed, for appointment as Assessors. Their responsibilities commence with the approval of the brief of the competition project. The Assessor may even help to prepare the brief.
For practical reasons, this responsibility is often taken by the Senior Assessor who would then be available to advise the promoter on all matters connected with the competition from the promoter's decision to hold the competition till the final award.
Briefly the Assessors (or the Senior Assessor) will:
- Assist in the preparation and approval of the brief.
- Study and understand the requirements of the Local
- Visit and examine the project site, if necessary.
- Advise on the appointment of the Technical Advisers, if necessary.
- Finalise the competition conditions.
- Prepare the final report/award.
The project brief is the most important document. The success of the competition will depend upon the clarity and the completeness of the brief. This can be achieved by a very close cooperation between the Promoters and the Assessors (or the Senior Assessor) in the preparation and finalisation of the brief.
Further the participation of the Assessors in the preparation of the brief will enable them to understand fully the intent of the promoter. Also as qualified Architects they would be capable of visualizing the development with reference to the promoter's requirements, site conditions etc. and in interpreting the competition entries in these terms.
For complicated projects such as Hospitals, Airports etc. which are under constant development or projects encompassing highly technical elements, a Technical Adviser would be considered necessary in the initial stage to help the Promoter and the Assessors to draw up the brief and subsequently to advise the Assessors on the technical aspect of the competition entries.
Once the promoter's requirements, the site conditions, the requirements of the local authorities etc. have been formulated into the competition brief, the Assessors (or the Senior Assessor) can advise the promoter on the type of competition that should be promoted.
Schedule 1 of the Competition Guidelines describes in detail the types of competitions, which could be adopted and successfully conducted.
The conditions for Architectural competition given in Schedule 3 specifies the procedure to be followed by the promoter for conducting competitions and these conditions have been drawn up to ensure that each competitor competes on similar conditions, that the selection is based entirely on merit, that in appreciation of the effort that would be put in by each competitor suitable and adequate prize monies and honoraria are assured, that anonymity of the competitor is maintained during the competition and that each competitor enjoys Copyright and Right of Ownership.
Response from well established Architects as well as large number of young Architects to an open competition can best be assured by wide publicity. This is all the more essential for projects which are of public interest.
Publicity could begin with the invitation of Architects to participate through widely read media. This could be followed by press conferences and finally by the publication of the Assessor's report and public exhibition of all the entries.