Editors' notes

Magnus Rönn, Gerd Bloxham Zettersten


The theme chosen for the present special issue of Nordic Journal of Archi­
tectural Research is Competing in Architecture. For architects competing
is of particular interest. This is due not only to the fact that the competi-
tion to architects is a way of presenting their work to potential clients, a
way of probing their creative ability and impressing their colleagues. It is
just as important that competition activity is part of the architects’ self
image and professional culture and that the competition is supported by
their own organization. The architecture competition in its modern form
was revitalized in Europe at the end of the 19th century in the wake of in-
dustrialisation, while at the same time architects organized themselves
as a profession. This is the reason for the special position occupied by
competitions among architects. The present-day importance of the com-
petition is demonstrated by the fact that architects’ associations employ
competition secretaries and at their annual meetings select committees
to supervise competition activities. Competition projects are comment-
ed on and presented in special journals and on home pages. These are
all clear signs of the significance of the competition to the profession.
One of the first tasks of the architects’ organization was to systematize
competing in architecture and urban design. The next task was to get the
competition rules accepted by clients as well as their own members. One
of the competition forms—the project competition—has been included
in the legislation of EU member states through a specific resolution (Di-
rective 2004/18/EC). As a consequence of this regulating activity the com-
petition has acquired a double role, turning into an arena for the devel-
opment of innovative solutions to design problems as well as becoming
a tool for the commissioning of architect services for public projects.

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