Housing Competitions - Elaborating Projects in their Specific Process Framework

Antigoni Katsakou


In the middle of the 1990s, to answer pressing needs in the housing sec-
tor, a systematic search for new solutions, in terms of urban forms and
housing typologies, was undertaken by State authorities, mostly in the
German-speaking part of Switzerland, where Zurich remains the pre-
dominant operational model. In general, promoting the quality of hous-
ing conditions has been established as one of the immediate priorities
within larger schemes to reshape entire urban districts, densify and re-
model entire neighbourhood identities. The competition system, already
well known in Switzerland mostly through construction programs other
than housing, has been reactivated to produce important numbers of
quality collective housing units.
In this article, a series of housing competitions are analysed in relation
to the modifications imposed on the awarded projects resulting from
their process framework, either during the various rounds of the com-
petition or from the competition to the execution plans. The role of the
jurys comments and the authors reactions, with respect to the pro-
posed changes, are discussed; a constructive, consensual competition
background is argued for, and the idea of a truly fertile dialogue among
implicated actors constitutes this essays central debate point.

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