Competitions – Case study No. 11 – Primary School – Tún Architecture + Design – Ireland

Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016: Urban Primary School, IR, 2015
Case study No. 11
This competition process is challenging and time-consuming

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.

This is a very typical brief and competition structure run by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

It is a two-stage competition for a real school on a real site in Dublin city. It was open to all architects and designers to submit one A1 board of ideas for the first stage. A registration fee of 123 EUR is payable, and it is required that the team also consists of an architect that is on the Architects Register. A shortlist of five is drawn up and an honorarium of 5,000 EUR is paid to each on the shortlist when they complete their Stage 2 submissions. This fee goes no way to cover the amount of work involved. The fee, should an architect win and be appointed, for the duration of the project is also set in this competition brief at 11.5% of construction cost (ex. VAT). In the event the project does not process, the winning architect will be awarded 20,000 EUR. This sum is awarded to the architect upon winning the competition, but is to be ‘subsumed’ into the fees if the project proceeds. This means the architect gets no specific fee for winning the competition. The project is complex and the brief detailed, and the requirements so specific and limiting that considerable time and ingenuity are required to make an interesting architectural solution out of such a brief. This competition process is challenging and time-consuming, and there is not a real guarantee of a project. The RIAI also offers no acceptable archive of competitions they manage and run, and it is difficult to track outcomes and results of their competitions.

Tún Architecture + Design, IR


Competition culture in Ireland was surveyed by A10 correspondent Emmett Scanlon in Dublin. 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: Tún Architecture + Design