Architectural Persuasion: On Quality Assessment in an Architectural Competition

Charlotte Svensson


This paper reflects on a case study dealing with the assessment of an
open architectural competition. Through close observation and analysis
of the jury-meetings and the competition process, knowledge is acquired
about the impact of rhetoric that is used throughout the judgment pro≠
cess. The attempt is to clarify how a professional, fair and efficient judg-
ment process does work, as well as how architectural quality issues are
The study shows how the entries that are representations of architec-
ture including plans, drawings, texts and illustrations, are used as an in-
strument of visual rhetoric to mediate the competitors visions and ide-
as. The jurys discussions hover between three levels of interpretation:
a) the visions, b) the actual situation/problem, and c) the visualization of
the proposals as they will appear in the real-life environment. Based on
this complex of problems, the jury has to make an important decision,
often in an emotionally charged context, to appoint a winner.

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