Recent ethnographies among professional architects have given us a novel version of the argument against architectural autonomy: architects work in a condition of entanglement not only with clients and markets, but also with the very objects through which architectural conception takes place. There is a tension between this view and one that surfaces within management scholarship on design competitions. In these studies, the design competition is a moment of architectural work in which architectural autonomy is uniquely pronounced, where the artistic statements of architects achieve a special efficacy. The author investigates the possibility that the design competition enacts a different sort of architectural entanglement than what we see in recent anthropologies. He considers two situations of architects working on design competitions, one in an architectural school in the UK and one at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. He concludes that, in design competitions, discourse itself becomes subject to adjustment and iteration.
Journal of Material Culture – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018