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Expertise and judgment in architectural competitions: A theory for assessing architecture quality
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE). (arc•plan)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9715-9656
2010 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

My paper has three aims. Firstly, I want to clarify the use of architectural quality as a key-concept among architects in the Nordic Countries. Secondly, I will try to find out and explain how quality issues in performance are tested and investigated by experts in architectural competitions. Thirdly, I am going to present and discuss a theory for assessment in architecture and urban design based on models showing how critique is used as a tool by professional jury members in competitions.


The result in this article has a Nordic perspective on the competition culture and its tradition. Eigh-teen professionals with firsthand experience from competitions in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have been interviewed. They represent the architect’s organization, the arranger (organizers) and the competitors. They were selected because of their professional expertise and skill in judging architectural competition entries.


From the interviews, competition briefs and jury statements we get a good picture of how assessment is understood in practice. In architectural competitions the jury has to find the best proposal among the entries. The task is to single out one winner. There is a strong relationship in this case between how professionals use critique in a decision-making process, how the jury organizes its work, how the entries are judged in terms of quality and the outcome—a winner that jury members decide has the best solution to the task set forth in the competition programme. The jury statement is a written critique made at the end of the assessment. To improve future quality, the jury evaluates the competition, justifies its decision and describes any unclear design solution in the winning entry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. 1-21 p.
Keyword [en]
Architectural competition, Architectural quality, Design criteria, Quality judgments, Architectural critique, Design decision
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33187OAI: diva2:413811
International Conference: Constructions Matters, Copenhagen Business School, 5-7 May 2010
QC 20110512Available from: 2011-05-12 Created: 2011-04-29 Last updated: 2011-05-12Bibliographically approved

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