The Architectural Competition and the Concept of ‘The Client Regime’ – from requirement in invitation to selection of design teams
Book chapter, 2016
This paper discusses the client regime in competitions. I present a client regime theory based on case studies of six restricted competitions in Sweden; three architectural competitions and three developer competitions. The competition task includes both senior housing and ordinary apartments. All six competitions have been organized by the public sector.
The aim of developing the theory was to understand how organizers select design teams for restricted competitions. There are two main driving forces for clients: Attractors and Gatekeepers, which have a decisive impact on the selection of design teams for restricted competitions. Strong attractors give clients a wide range of applications to choose from by gatekeepers, who point out the participants.
The organizer initiates prequalification by inviting candidates to competitions. General information, submission requirements and criteria for the evaluation of applications provided by public clients are part of an established practice. Demands in the invitation refer to requirements in the procurement law and professional practice. Criteria for evaluations are based on professional experience and have an open character, typical of the way juries assess design proposals. This is the case for both architectural and developer competitions.
Firms and companies respond to an invitation by submitting an application. One important difference between architectural competitions and developer competitions is the number of interested candidates and design teams. The three ar- chitectural competitions generated 120 applications from architecture firms. The client invited 11 design teams (9%). The three developer competitions attracted only 21 applications from construction companies and real estate managers. 16 were invited (76%). This difference is very important and has a huge impact on the relation between attractors and gatekeepers in competitions. The selecting committees had only one meeting for choosing candidates in developer competitions. In architectural competitions the selection committees use three to four meetings for assessing applications and have to develop evaluation strategies for finding design teams suitable for the competition task.