Global design competitions: shaping a sustainable future /construire un avenir durable

This kind of competition gives a boost to designs which might be radical, new, difficult, original or untried. There are design competitions which call for solutions to a brief and then there are competitions which pit already completed projects against each other. But, arguably, the most useful competitions, the ones which can have the most impact globally with relatively minimal means, are those which recognise the originality and interest in a project which is already in the ether and which give it the impetus to become reality. Architecture is always a process pitted against the forces of conservatism and finance and the most innovative ideas often struggle to be seen and heard amidst the clamour. Where an international panel of judges and the backing of a globally recognised sponsor can identify something special, something that looks interesting and different and is attempting something ambitious, it is often precisely that recommendation which leads local figures to recognise the achievement and the potential. There is, of course, an irony in the idea that what is often most directly under the noses of those involved is invisible until others from half a world away identify it as something of interest, but it is the way the world works. That validation is often precisely the trigger that young architects need to be able to persuade and convince others that their plans have value. The role of this kind of competition is the value it adds, the boost it gives to a design which might be radical, new, difficult, original or untried. Without them, so many new ideas may never get realised, so many transferable technologies and innovations may remain unbuilt. Impetus for boldness By Edwin Heathcote Public recognition 8

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