Watch it again: The Architecture Competition, a part of the culture in Switzerland.

Architecture Competitions are part of the culture in Switzerland - could this model be implemented in Brazil?

Architecture competitions are at the heart of urban planning in Switzerland. While respecting specific regulations, urban planners and architects propose their ideas for the organisation of public spaces. But, how are they organized and what are the benefits for the city and its inhabitants? Could this model be implemented in Brazil and, if so, how could architects and urbanists be more involved in the political decision-making?

To answer these questions, on 2 September, swissnex Brazil invited Olivia de Oliveiraarchitect and partner at butikofer de oliveira vernay architectesNicole Christe, architect and head of architecture department of the city of Lausanne; Jacqueline Schwarz, architect and part of the SIA commission, and Gilson Paranhos, former president of IAB and CODHAB.

Jacqueline Schwarz presented some procedures for the organization of competitions in place in Switzerland that are regulated by the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA). These rules allow for creating different modalities involving various stakeholders at different levels. Through public exhibitions, it also allows the general public to learn more about these procedures and feel included in decision-making processes. You can download her presentation here.

To illustrate architecture competition, Nicole Christe showed the eco-project Métamorphose in the Plaines-du-Loup neighborhood (Lausanne) that comprised various competitions at different scales. This project includes the construction of a variety of elements, including subsidized housing and sports areas that meet the latest energy and ecological standards. You can download her presentation here.

From a Brazilian perspective, Gilson Paranhos highlighted the lack of knowledge and adoption on architecture competitions in the country. In his opinion, it is important to carry on projects from previous administrations. Competitions allow the public administration to receive a detailed proposal for a given project, and to know what product will be delivered. However, the winner needs to be involved in all the construction steps in order to carry out the project as planned.

The Q&A session was lively thanks to the active participation of the audience. An important point raised is the importance of having diverse and competent members of the jury that complement each other in order to assess the quality of the submitted proposals. The discussion confirmed the importance of raising awareness around architecture competitions, in particular in the political sphere both in Switzerland and Brazil.

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