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Competitions - a painful practice. Karol Wawrzyniak on architectural competitions

25 of September '20

Two years ago, I had an emotional, bitter speech at KOKA 2018 (Conference on Architectural Competitions). This was shortly after the contract for the redevelopment of downtown Koszalin was ultimately not signed after we won the competition. The speech showed the newcomer's clash with reality. I feel bad listening to it now.

Since the conference, our studio has won two more competitions. One contract is already signed, the signing of another contract seems to be on track. Unfortunately, the demands made in the conference speech from my perspective are still valid.

  • The competition, in addition to the quality of the architectural concept, should offer a chance for above-tender remuneration.
  • Theamount of awards should not be less than the cost of organizing the competition. The reverse split does not put design at the center and is counterproductive for building the architect's position.
  • A worked-out model contract for design work should be an appendix to the regulations of each competition.
  • It would be advisable to provide systemic environmental support for studios winning competitions at the stage of contract negotiations.
  • Lessons learned from competitions should be collected and organized to improve existing procedures.

Ever since I helped with the first competition, I dreamed of winning. I fantasized about a better professional life, in which one works with an informed investor to build the best architecture. Meanwhile, the post-competition problems are surprisingly similar to those we face on other assignments. Is it necessary, then, to abandon fantasies beyond one's control and come to terms with reality ? I make no demands. I myself do not find time to act for the architectural community. However, I have to admit that it is difficult to abandon the dream of a contract standard for design work in Poland.



The September issue of A&B was devoted to architectural competitions in Poland. You can find the freee-publication here.

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