Competitions – Case study No. 10 – Bauhaus Museum – addenda architects – Spain

Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016: Bauhaus Museum, DE, 2015
Case study No. 10
How can you examine 831 entries in a reasonable way?

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.

Asking for a new Bauhaus building in direct connection to the historic buildings in Dessau is a very delicate task. It was quite bold to turn this into an open international competition, instead of just inviting the ‘usual suspects’.

This open, two-stage competition according to the RPW (Directive for planning competitions) was commissioned by Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau. Just as Helsinki had the open competition for the new Guggenheim Museum, so did Germany for the Bauhaus Museum in Dessau. It resulted in 831 entries from all over the world, making those who have always called for open competitions as a good opportunity for young offices rethink their position. How can you examine 831 entries in a reasonable way? The jury selected 30 entries from the first open round for a second phase in which the work on the design was paid. The jury, which was prominent and with very different ‘tastes’, could obviously not agree on one entry, and instead awarded two first prizes to two utterly different designs: a clear and relatively simple box-in-a-box by addenda architects (Gonzalez Hinz Zabala, ES) and a totally experimental blob design by Young & Ayata (US). Both were asked to ‘adjust’ their designs in one final round, even though it was actually quite foreseeable – because of the relatively small budget and the mad schedule (the museum must be completed and officially be opened in time for the Bauhaus centenary in 2019) – that the daring, experimental design of Ayata & Young would be too risky to be built. It was no surprise that addenda architects was finally announced as the winner in December 2015.

addenda architects, ES

Under construction until 2019

Competition culture in Germany was surveyed by A10-correspondent Florian Heilmeyer in Berlin. 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: addenda architects