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Theory and practice on quality judgement in architecture
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture. (arc•plan)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9715-9656
2008 (Swedish)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are two aims for this forthcoming article. Firstly, I want to clarify the use of architecturalquality as a key-concept among architects. The use of quality terms, the design andthe way architecture is judged depend on each other. Secondly, I want to find out howarchitectural quality issues are tested in practice and from this point out some basic issuesfor a theory on quality judgement in architecture. As a typical example I investigate how ajury in an architectural competition finds a winning entry. The jury has in this case to findthe best solution for the task – a prize-winning design. One entry has to be chosen. In thisjudging process, quality is strongly connected with values, and behind lays the assumptionthat good and bad solutions show themselves in the design. From this expertise I will discussthe developing of a theory on the judging process in architecture and urban design.The result in this article is based on interviews. Seventeen professionals with first handexperience from competitions in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have been interviewed.They represent the architect’s organization, the arranger (organizers) and the competitors.These were selected because of their professional expertise and skill in judgingarchitectural competition entries.From the interviews we get a good picture of how the concept of quality in design areunderstood in practice. Professional architects combine an aesthetic and artistic perspectivewith technical and practical points of view. This is typical for practitioners. We also find agenuine uncertainty in the field of architectural design. There is not one answer to architecturalquality issues, but several good solutions can be found in architectural and urbandesign proposals. But what makes wicked design problems in proposals to pop up-quality inwinning entries?In architectural competitions the jury has to find the best proposal among the entries. Thetask in this case is to single out one winner. There is a strong relationship between how thejury organize its work, how the entries are judged in terms of quality and the outcome – awinner that according to the jury has the best answer the task in the competition program.Competence, experience from judging processes and consensus are three essential factorsthat make the jury feel comfortable in the final choice of a winner in an competition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Architectural competition, Architectural quality, Judgement theory
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-61580OAI: diva2:479389
Architectural Inquiries Theories, methods and strategies in contemporary Nordic architectural research, Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, Nordic-Baltic Conference 24-26 April 2008
QC 20120123Available from: 2012-01-17 Created: 2012-01-17 Last updated: 2012-01-23Bibliographically approved

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