Chupin, Jean-Pierre, G. Stanley Collyer, Young Architects in Competitions (When Competitions and a New Generation of Ideas Elevate Architectural Quality), Montreal, Potential Architecture Books, 2020. 158 pages.

Chupin, Jean-Pierre, G. Stanley Collyer, Young Architects in Competitions (When Competitions and a New Generation of Ideas Elevate Architectural Quality), Montreal, Potential Architecture Books, 2020. 158 pages.

ISBN 9781988962047 (PDF)

This book presents a collection of data and real-life cases in support of the idea that young offices of architects and planners are able to match or exceed the capabilities of their most experienced competitors when it comes to creating high-quality built environments for the public. The argument is made in response to, and as an attempt to critique, a post year-2000 trend that has seen young firms excluded from project competitions on the supposed basis of their inexperience. Can architecture survive, though, when it brings into question its very renewal by excluding young architects from the synergistic activity and democratic participation so emblematic of design competitions? The book’s repository of architectural achievements is presented briefly, with emphasis placed on the surprising precociousness of the associated firms. It includes examples from a number of international competitions, grouped by region.

Over time, it becomes clear that the work of young architects has contributed greatly to several major objects of contemporary historical memory. After analyzing a period spanning nearly five decades, the book concludes that an emphasis on Requests for Qualifications (RfQ) is not the sole reason many architectural firms face rejection. It hypothesizes that our society’s fondness for a priori control procedures should also be called into question, at least if we desire our places of culture and civic representation to sustain the generations that live and benefit from them.

Jean-Pierre Chupin, PhD in Environmental Design, holds the Canada Research Chair in Architecture, Competitions and Mediations of Excellence at Université de Montréal (Canada) and is the editor of the Canadian Competitions Catalogue (www.ccc.umontreal.ca)

G. Stanley Collyer, PhD in History from Freie Universität Berlin, is the founding editor of COMPETITIONS (www.competitions.org) one of the longest lasting resource internationally and the author of Competing Globally in Architecture Competitions (Wiley Academy, 2004)

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