Speaking of Architecture. A Study of the Jury's Assessment in an invited Competition

Charlotte Svensson


This paper reflects the way architecture is treated in a professional context. The point of departure is a case study of the jury assessment in an architectural competition. This practical aspect of evaluation as part of the design process is analyzed in the context of a survey of competitions in the Nordic countries.
In the architecture profession, discussing and assessing architecture is a means of gathering knowledge as well as a way of evaluating architectural
projects. Since evaluation is a part of the professional practice, these discussions become influenced by a set of assumptions, implicit criteria and tacit knowledge that is sometimes hard to penetrate.
In a competition jury, a discussion of architecture is held between architects and laymen of architecture, with the aim of reaching a common decision. It is an evaluation of architecture in an early phase of the design process,
which also makes it a part of this process. The architects must explain their views and mediate qualities of the entries that can be hard to see
for a layman of architecture.
The presentation of the jurys process reveals different strategies of evaluation in an illustrative way. The jurys evaluative discussions are further
related to theoretical models of qualitative evaluation of architecture and architectural judgement. Awareness of the different strategies and the possibilities of combining and explaining these is one way of directing competition juries towards an efficient assessment process.

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