. .

Why is it important to participate to competitions as a young architect ?

Competitions are good ways for being well-know, especially if you’re a young architect. But it’s always difficult or impossible to win against famous architecture agencies because of their experiences, fame and money. That’s why today there is competition only for young architects or more and more architecture students. Some of them cumulate competitions, Bernard Viret, who’s got his diplom this summer  at the school of architecture of Marne la Vallée, France and work now in an architecture agency in Paris , is one of them.   An interview by Audrey Rocher.

Audrey Rocher- Which are your experiences in terms of competitions ?

Bernard Viret – I’ve participated of many competitions about architecture or design. My first competition was OTUA ( construction with steel, invented an innovative building with this material) in 2008. Then architecture competition by the Wilmotte foundation, it’s about rehabilitation. I’ve also participated of  the Eiffel tower competition in 2008 for creating a building in the Champs de Mars next to the Eiffel tower, a competition for innovative campus in the same year. And to finish, DNA+ competition, a design completion, I have to imagine a bathroom object, I’ve win with a towel radiator, the Audi Talent Awards competition, a workshop in Munich  and many other little competitions.

2008

20082009

ar- Is there had competitions organized by your university ?

bv – yes, the workshop in Munich last year and ‘campus operation’ for innovative campus in France.

ar- Can you tell me more about the last , because it was important for France and you’re one of the  winners ?

bvYes, it was a call of ideas organized by the department of education. The aim was to call twelve schools of architecture to develop twelve future projects of excellence campuses in France. For Paris it was the master of Florence Lipsky at the school of architecture of Marne la Vallée which was in charge of this project. We have worked by group of two persons for developing urban solutions and innovations. The main idea is not to be limited by the request of the department which was 100 000 m² in a area in Aubervilliers, but rethinking the global area which contain the campus and the new part of the town. Not to considerate architecture like an isolate element but rather like an integrator and evolutionary urban network.

ar– How many participants for this competition ?

bvEleven groups only for my University. I think it’s the same for the eleven other schools.

ar– Was it only in France ?

bvYes, however all references were  abroad, the idea was to study what worked abroad and try to understand what was wrong in France since30 years. In addition to this experience we have had two Erasmus students in our master, so they can explain their own experience.

ar– For this competition, how long is the period of conception ?

bvThree months. We started in October 2008 and stopped in January 2009. Then the exhibition was in October 2009 under my responsibility.

ar– And then, what happened to the project ?

bvThe ideas was used by the architects, for example  Florence Lipsky used these ideas for her own projects.

2008

ar– Among all your competitions, is there had European competitions ?

bvThe workshop in Munich, ‘sustainable design’ was European but only between my university, the TU of Munich and the school of architecture of Waterford (Ireland). The aim of this workshop was to conceive an innovative façade based on a material product by ALHO a German society. We had to work by four, include two French, one German and an Irish people. It’s a sort of competition because there was a price and my group won it. The other international competition was Audi Talent Awards, but it was more for experimented people because you have to show one of your project and your carrier.

20102009

ar– Is there a wish for doing more national competition than European competition or a lack of informations  about it ?

bvClearly a lack of infos but also a lack of time and capacities. This type of competition need a lot of time and I work now and before at school I haven’t so much time.

ar– How is the concurrence in a general way ?

bvSevere however since few years. Nowadays everybody can make wonderful pictures with computer. And it’s as simple as that, judges like beautiful pictures.

ar– Did people do many competition like you in your environment ?

bvNo ! From the university I’m alone. And there are not many people who are ready to take personal time to do competitions. I think they’re wrong, there are useful experiences.

ar– Did the working method for competition change a lot compared to the method at school ?

bvIt depend of teachers. For ‘campus operation’ it was a competition with school, so it was the same as a classical project. Whereas for other competitions it’s clearly different. There are not corrections, you’re oblige to be judge and to take part, that’s why it’s easier to work by groups and time to realize the project is very short. Now, in agency, for competitions we have one month to have the concept and to draw details.  Competitions are based on intensive work.

ar– How do you finance your participation in competitions ?

bvThere are often reimbursement for printing and sending. In agency there are benefits. But in both case, in France, it’s not sufficient. It’s an investment in the aim to win.

ar– You’ve said ‘in France’, do you know details about the situation in other countries ?

bvIn Switzerland, some agencies can only live with the money from benefits, without building. The difference came from the financing of projects.

ar– But you continue to do competitions, not only in agency, why ?

bvBeing the winner of a competition bring always success, money and contacts. To win a competition is an opportunity of carrier.

ar– The fact of being a winner of more competitions help you to find work easily?

bvYes, clearly. And all competitions help to find even if I lose some of them. It help to have references and experiences, it’s often the thing that help an employer to choose you and not another architect.

ar– What is the reaction of employers when they see the number of competitions you’ve already done and your age ?

bvThey are rewarding. They are often happy to find someone creative and motivate and have not only school experience. They choose you for working on competitions in the agency.

Competition for young architects

Competitions are good ways for being well-know, especially if you’re a young architect. But it’s always difficult or impossible to win against famous architecture agencies because of their experiences, fame and money. That’s why today there is competition only for young architects or more and more architecture students. Some of them cumulate competitions, Bernard Viret, who’s got his diplom this summer at the school of architecture of Marne la Vallée, France and work now in an architecture agency in Paris , is one of them. An interview by Audrey Rocher.

- Which are your experiences in terms of competitions ?

I’ve participated of many competitions about architecture or design. My first competition was OTUA ( construction with steel, invented an innovative building with this material) in 2007. Then architecture competition by the Wilmotte foundation, it’s about rehabilitation. I’ve also participated of the Eiffel tower competition in 2008 for creating a building in the Champs de Mars next to the Eiffel tower, a competition for innovative campus in the same year. And to finish, DNA+ competition, a design completion, I have to imagine a bathroom object, I’ve win with a towel radiator, the Audi Talent Awards competition, a workshop in Munich and many other little competitions.

- Is there had competitions organized by your university ?

Yes, the workshop in Munich last year and ‘campus operation’ for innovative campus in France.

- Can you tell me more about the last , because it was important for France and you’re one of the winners ?

Yes, it was a call of ideas organized by the department of education. The aim was to call twelve schools of architecture to develop twelve future projects of excellence campuses in France. For Paris it was the master of Florence Lipsky at the school of architecture of Marne la Vallée which was in charge of this project. We have worked by group of two persons for developing urban solutions and innovations. The main idea is not to be limited by the request of the department which was 100 000 m² in a area in Aubervilliers, but rethinking the global area which contain the campus and the new part of the town. Not to considerate architecture like an isolate element but rather like an integrator and evolutionary urban network.

- How many participants for this competition ?

Eleven groups only for my University. I think it’s the same for the eleven other schools.

- Was it only in France ?

Yes, however all references were abroad, the idea was to study what worked abroad and try to understand what was wrong in France since30 years. In addition to this experience we have had two Erasmus students in our master, so they can explain their own experience.

- For this completion, how long is the period of conception ?

Three months. We started in October 2008 and stopped in January 2009. Then the exhibition was in October 2009 under my responsibility.

- And then, what happened to the project ?

The ideas was used by the architects, for example Florence Lipsky used these ideas for her own projects.

- Among all your competitions, is there had European competitions ?

The workshop in Munich, ‘sustainable design’ was European but only between my university, the TU of Munich and the school of architecture of Waterford (Ireland). The aim of this workshop was to conceive an innovative façade based on a material product by ALHO a German society. We had to work by four, include two French, one German and an Irish people. It’s a sort of competition because there was a price and my group won it. The other international competition was Audi Talent Awards, but it was more for experimented people because you have to show one of your project and your carrier.

- Is there a wish for doing more national competition than European competition or a lack of informations about it ?

Clearly a lack of infos but also a lack of time and capacities. This type of competition need a lot of time and I work now and before at school I haven’t so much time.

- How is the concurrence in a general way ?

Severe however since few years. Nowadays everybody can make wonderful pictures with computer. And it’s as simple as that, judges like beautiful pictures.

- Did people do many competition like you in your environment ?

No ! From the university I’m alone. And there are not many people who are ready to take personal time to do competitions. I think they’re wrong, there are useful experiences.

- Did the working method for competition change a lot compared to the method at school ?

It depend of teachers. For ‘campus operation’ it was a competition with school, so it was the same as a classical project. Whereas for other competitions it’s clearly different. There are not corrections, you’re oblige to be judge and to take part, that’s why it’s easier to work by groups and time to realize the project is very short. Now, in agency, for competitions we have one month to have the concept and to draw details. Competitions are based on intensive work.

- How do you finance your participation in competitions ?

There are often reimbursement for printing and sending. In agency there are benefits. But in both case, in France, it’s not sufficient. It’s an investment in the aim to win.

- You’ve said ‘in France’, do you know details about the situation in other countries ?

In Switzerland, some agencies can only live with the money from benefits, without building. The difference came from the financing of projects.

- But you continue to do competitions, not only in agency, why ?

Being the winner of a competition bring always success, money and contacts. To win a competition is an opportunity of carrier.

- The fact of being a winner of more competitions help you to find work easily?

Yes, clearly. And all competitions help to find even if I lose some of them. It help to have references and experiences, it’s often the thing that help an employer to choose you and not another architect.

- What is the reaction of employers when they see the number of competitions you’ve already done and your age ?

They are rewarding. They are often happy to find someone creative and motivate and have not only school experience. They choose you for working on competitions in the agency.

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Audrey Rocher.
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2 Antworten
  1. Adamczyk says

    “But it’s always difficult or impossible to win against famous architecture agencies because of their experiences, fame and money.” – I guess that is not a problem in contemporary world… In my opinion everybody who has good ideas on architecture and think logical on ones’ project has a chance to win and to become famous, not only experienced architects. But of course, I agree that organising competitions for only young architects may have been one of good ideas to promote youth talents.

  2. Pauline Berschandy says

    Competitions for young architects or students are a really good idea; that way you can show your talent and express yourself without being in the shadow of those “blockbusters” of architecture!

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