Competing in Architecture: The Complexity Dilemma
AuthorNewton, C; Backhouse, S
Source TitleArchitecture as Human Interface
PublisherAalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypeConference Paper
CitationsNewton, C. & Backhouse, S. (2012). Competing in Architecture: The Complexity Dilemma. Architecture as Human Interface, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Access StatusOpen Access
ARC Grant codeARC/LP0991146
Architectural competitions are accepted internationally as a way to choose an architect or an architectural design or develop ideas for challenging issues. This paper explores untapped potential for competitions to be part of a research process in the same way that crowd sourcing can help escalate knowledge. Over the last three years, a multidisciplinary team has explored a research methodology that included an Ideas Competition at its heart. Competitions are typically conceived as a one-way knowledge transfer process with competitors addressing the needs of a client. In contrast, a key aspect of our strategy was to use the competition brief as an educative tool aimed at shifting knowledge within our design community on tipping points within education, design and construction environments. We argue that competitions can be strategically conceived to leverage knowledge between academia and industry in both directions but there is an intrinsic difficulty to do with complexity. In this paper we explore some of the strategies for the research, asking what the ingredients are for a successful competition. We explore how the complexity of the design question can be at odds with entries presenting easily digestible messages for time-poor juries. Are some questions just too complex to be tackled successfully in a one-stage ideas competition? Bringing expertise as a competition advisor, the first author positioned the competition format into the research process. The second author brought applied expertise in brief development and working with complex teams. Both see competitions embedded within research as a way of encouraging cultural step change when faced by wicked problems.
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References