Architectural Competitions have a long history, and have produced many extremely successful buildings. They attract great public interest, and have led to the discovery of new talent and new ideas, that could only be found by throwing an architectural project wide open to competition. The Council of Architecture Competition Guidelines provide a new uptodate code that safeguards the interests of promoters and of architects, and bring the system into line with present-day conditions.
To many clients - the choice of an architect presents no difficulty, but to many others the choice is not easy. The client's desire to see the sketch designs of several architects before he commissions him is understandable, but to ask an architect to submit a sketch design is to ask him to do the essential creative work for which he should be properly paid. If more than one or two architects are commissioned payment to each would be expensive. Architects, however, are allowed to compete against each other without charging a fee in an open architectural competition held under Council of Architecture Guidelines.
The architectural competition is a balance of advantages. Architects who would not have been considered in the normal way for an important commission, perhaps for a building of national importance have an opportunity to prove their talent and ability.
Many architects regard competitions as a valuable opportunity for research, perhaps for the study of a new building type, or for exploring the possibilities of new technical ideas and for gaining new experience. On the other hand, the profession's willingness to allow its members to compete without fee is a remarkable concession to the promoter without parallel in any other profession.
For the promoter also, there is balance of advantages. A competition will cost him a little more than if he had commissioned an architect privately and it will take a little more time. But this must be balanced against the chance to draw upon the talents of all those who respond to the architectural challenge, and the possibility than an outstanding design will emerge. He is making a public demonstration that he cares about architecture, and can take legitimate pride in his determination to find the best architect and the best design he can get. He will be rewarded with a greater public interest than is generally shown in new buildings.
Competition Guidelines as laid by the Council of Architecture protects and safeguards the interest of both the promoter and the competitors. While ensuring the promoter a design of high standard, it also ensures that each competitor competes on like conditions and within the same limitations.
The purpose of these Guidelines is to explain the architectural competitions system, and to help the client who is thinking of promoting a competition to make up his mind whether a competition is the right answer to his architectural problem, and, if so, which kind of competition would be suitable. It also tells, a would be promoter how competitions are organised, and what are the responsibilities of promoter.