Competitions – Case study No. 7 – Maritime Science Centre – Rørbæk and Møller Architects – Norway

Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016: Maritime Science Centre, NO, 2014
Case study No. 7
If the documents would have been translated in English, it could possibly have been even more popular


The A10-survey into Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016, commissioned by Architectuur Lokaal, has made it clear that the word ‘competition’ does not mean the same thing in every country in Europe. Sometimes a competition refers to a design contest without any intention of realization, sometimes it refers to a full tender procedure, or anything in between. To gain a better insight in the nature of competitions in Europe A10-correspondents collected 50 case studies from 17 countries. Combined they show the differences in topics, fees, procedures, scale, transparency, and clients.

The competition for a new Maritime Science Centre was organized as an open competition. There was no advance process of qualification, but potential winners should be able to document architectural qualifications on a level that is described in the EU architecture directive.

The competition was announced on several websites (Norwegian Architects Association, local municipal website, Norwegian tender website Doffin, and the TED website). The competition documents and website were written in Norwegian. Competition proposals were accepted in Norwegian as well as Swedish or Danish language. The brief of the competition was a 35-page document that included all the necessary information to take part in the competition, including brief descriptions of the local municipality, background for the competition, competition organizers, and the group of organizations that will use the future building. A chapter describing the overall philosophy and goals of the institution is followed by a chapter on planning restrictions and infrastructure. The spatial requirements are described as a list of spaces with necessary sizes. In the end the brief describes guidelines for what the competition proposal should include, as well as the rules of the competition regarding judging of proposals, copyrights, language, necessary qualifications, and deadlines. With an accessible brief and the limitation of six A2 sheets, this proved to be a popular competition in the Nordic sphere. If the documents would have been translated in English, it could possibly have been even more popular. In the end there were 137 accepted proposals.

Rørbæk and Møller Architects (DK)


Competition culture in Norway was surveyed by A10-correspondent Joakim Skajaa in Oslo. This survey is the start of a four-year research project by Architectuur Lokaal and A10 new European architecture Cooperative. Copy editor: Dutton Hauhart. Images: Rørbæk and Møller Architects