Some of Melbourne’s best-known architects will come together for a public debate on the role and relevance of architectural design competitions on 30 July.

The Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne will present a panel discussion as a follow-on event to the Australian premiere of the documentary “The Competition”.

The public debate will bring together selection of architects, critics, and academics, to discuss the status of design competitions in Melbourne and within the context of Australia.

The recent public competition for Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station, the private re-development of 447 Collins Street, and the new Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, have each been determined by various design competition formats, and have garnered public and professional attention.

Hassell + Herzog & de Meuron's winning concept for the Flinders Street Station Design Competition

The event organisers say that despite the high-profile status of these projects, less and less projects are determined by means of design competitions, and those that are seem to be consistently awarded to the larger, more established practices.  They ask: “Have we lost the opportunity for design competitions to foster and support new talent?”

The event publicity states:

“Given the immense resources expended on competitions, given the move away from truly “open” competitions, and given the lack of government policy to undertake design competitions for the majority of project commissions, do architectural design competitions remain relevant to architecture, architects and to society as a whole?  Have opportunities for design competitions to create major public projects – such as the Sydney Opera House or Federation Square – been curtailed and eliminated?  Who are the losers when there are no more architectural design competitions to win?”

Professor Donald Bates (MSD and LAB Architecture Studio) will moderate thepublic debate and will be joined on stage by:

  • Angel Borrego Cubero – Architect and Film Maker (Office of Strategic Spaces, Madrid; Director of “The Competition”)
  • Jon Clements – Architect and President-Elect of the Australian Institute of Architects (Jackson Clement Burrows)
  • Tania Davidge – Architect, teacher and advocate (OpenHAUS)
  • Suzannah Waldron – Teacher and Director (Searle X Waldron)
  • Ingrid Bakker – Architect and Principal (HASSELL)
  • Jill Garner – Architect and Associate Victorian Government Architect (Garner Davies; OVGA)

Panelists will provide a brief statement of position, with follow-on questions and comments from the moderator, followed by opportunities for questions and comments from the audience. 

The event provides 1.5 informal Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points awarded by the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter.

Event details:

  • Wednesday, 30 July 2014 - 6:30pm
  • Carrillo Gantner Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre
  • Register at the events page