Jakub Filip Novák

NoArchitects, Czech Republic -

Spread the competition/post

1 – What is your office’s experience with architecture competitions? Is it something that you do on a regular basis? What are your motivations?

I personally used to do much more competitions as a “beginner” to get interesting jobs. After we even won a few, I left to work for the City, so I stopped. Since I got back, I focused on No Architects studio with Daniela, we became more focused on just individual clients – ordered work. I needed to rest from work for the city, where there is no direct client, you are often the only person who wants change something 😊.  Now we do competitions only if we are directly invited to participate, we don’t join widely open competitions. We just can’t spare time we promised to our actual clients.

2 – And about architecture ideas competitions, where most of the times, it’s not about getting a commission for a something to be built?

I like those, I think they’re needed for certain problems or situations to keep public talks open. Simple competition differs from the actual architectural work. To my experience, on the beginning, client doesn’t know what he wants. In a sense, that it has to be researched by design. And it doesn’t matter if it is a professional developer, or hospital, with quite strictly laws… In architectural competitions, you miss such process – such feedback, consultations, there is mostly only one shot. If you don’t keep rules, you are out. But sometimes you need to break the rules to find a better way. It happened to Kaplický with Pragian National library. He won the competition, because we broke the rules – we hide books underground, which was for no reason forbidden. Jury saw that. But then, due to a lost court decision, nothing was built. Architecture ideas competition makes sense. And by the way, in Czech Republic, nothing is often built even in classical competitions. But it has a sense anyway.

3-Do you think that is a challenge for architecture students or recent graduates only?

Humm, definitively I’d be mostly curious to see how experienced professionals would solve ideas competitions. I don’t think architecture ideas competitions is just a game meant for students or just graduates, it’s a serious work, needed for praxis.