A total of 632 architectural competitions approved by the Czech Chamber of Architects were issued between 1993 and 2019. Seven years ago, ERA21 made an analysis based on available data from 1993–2012. We now present an updated and more detailed analysis based on the database kept by CBArchitektura since 2014. The data come from publicly accessible sources such as the Public Procurements Bulletin and the Contracts Register, and from communications with individual actors. Historical data come from professional periodicals and from the archive of the CCA competitions committee. A comparison of these analyses shows that the number of competitions has grown in recent years. Despite this fact, competitions are still scarce – only approximately 2 % of buildings in the CR are commissioned through competitions.» entire article
V rámci publikace Památníku Jana Palacha ve Všetatech od autorů Miroslava Cikána a Pavly Melkové (MCA atelier) jsme vyzpovídali historika Petra Blažka, hlavního autora historické expozice a místopředsedu soutěžní poroty. V časopise byla publikována zkrácená verze, plnou verzi rozhovoru naleznete zde.» entire article
There is a small house in the village of Všetaty, Central Bohemia, which Jan Palach left one January morning in 1969 and never came back. Last year, the house was opened to the public as part of a memorial to commemorate the legacy of Palach’s sacrifice. The memorial consists of the transformed house, penetrated from one side by a sharp steel prism which holds the entrance, a meditative back garden with a bench and a group of trees, and a separate single-story building housing a museum. The scheme is the winner of the architectural & art competition organized by the National Museum in 2015–2016.» entire article
This issue of ERA21 solely focuses on architectural competitions, once again, and comes out exactly seven years after our first issue on this topic, in 2013. Public awareness of what architectural competitions are and why they exist has grown slowly but surely during this period, thanks to the efforts of enlightened local politicians, civic associations, city architects, the Czech Chamber of Architects, as well as many journalists and advocates of architecture. Some architects are becoming professional organizers. Municipal institutes and offices with departments dealing specifically with competitions have also cropped up in Prague, Brno, or Ostrava. These are all reasons for why the number of competitions continues to grow.
Granted, this positive trend is tied to the recent construction boom. Globally speaking, design contests remain an entirely marginal way of selecting a contractor, not helped by the fact that systematic state support is largely nonexistent. The full potential of architectural competitions is far from being exploited. If we want them to be more than an extraordinary event, to become a standard procedure, we need to increase effectiveness and minimize risks for both clients and participants. A better proportion of different types of limited competitions, as opposed to traditional open competitions, could help for the smallest as well as the largest commissions. We can find inspiration in countries with a long-term tradition of architectural competitions.
But a higher number of contests says nothing about their eventual success. The goal, after all, isn't pretty pictures, but ideally a finished building. It’s positive that this happens more and more often, too. The grand opening often becomes a social event for the village or town. And surely there is no better way to promote architectural competitions than a successfully completed building.
In the last four years, the warehouse area in the Czech Republic has doubled. Czechia’s strategic position as almost one of the richest regions in Europe, together with lower prices for land, lower building costs, an affordable and less socially protected labor force, stable but weak state regulation, make for ideal conditions for the construction of new logistics centers. On top of the well-known saying: “Czechia – Europe’s assembly shop”, we can now call our country Europe’s transshipment point, too...
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