05 October 2011

Kruunusillat contest suspended

I see from the BD&E website that the Kruunusillat Bridge Design Competition, for a new light rail link in Finland, has ground to a halt. Apparently, an appeal by one of the teams has resulted in Finland's Market Court suspending the contest. A delay of two to twelve months is now forecast. I previously discussed the competition here.

52 teams had submitted prequalification entries. Seven of those had been disqualified for various reasons, and the remaining teams had been notified of how their entry had been scored, with the expectation that a shortlist of ten competitors would be announced at the end of September to move forward to the next stage.

Having seen the detailed judging panel comments and scoring for all the entrants, I was all set to post some comments here on who had been selected, and who had been left out. There were some surprising scores, to say the least, with some very experienced and capable entrants ranked well below less well-known teams. Some teams made multiple entries, and I'm aware of one engineering firm who were rated with a score of 200 for their engineering capability in one entry, but only 20 in another.

Many of the comments from the judges seemed poorly matched to the scores actually given - one very well known architect received a high score for their aesthetic capability despite being criticised for their insensitivity to bridge structures in the accompanying text.

The way the entries were judged seemed to favour the capabilities of individuals with a well-stacked CV over the capabilities of a broader team. That was always a bizarre approach to take.

I don't know who has scuppered the whole process but would have thought that some of the disqualified entrants would have been very surprised to find themselves in that position.

It will be very interesting to see what further news emerges. I imagine there are many disgruntled contestants beyond the one firm which went to the court. Would any of my readers care to click the comment button to provide further feedback?


Anonymous said...

This is a major cock-up and waste of time and energy. Why did the competition organisers think it necessary to publish the individual scores and frank criticism of the entrants, both those who qualified and those who didn't? No-one benefits from this level of "transparency", not least as it illustrates the subjectivity of the selection process. On the other side, why mount a challenge in the courts to join a one in ten chance of winning a competition? The reputation of the team mounting the challenge has to suffer with this client and others watching around Europe. Even before the competition has started, the list of losers is lengthy...

The Happy Pontist said...

I think it's important to have transparency at the main competition stage, with published jury citations (noting for example that this has been a criticism raised regarding Zaha Hadid's recent Stirling Prize win). But yes, it is essentially pointless at prequal stage.

Anonymous said...

Leonard Andrä and Partner went to the market court (public appeal). But knowing the competition program I think that is OK, since they are looking for an innovative new concept and LAP is more known for old-fashioned standard bridge design - sorry to say.

Kevin A said...

I welcome the transparency. I can't remember if the competition clauses had any point like :In subjecting an entry participants are subject to the judge's evaluation. The judges decision is final and may not be appealed." I'd be expecting such a disclaimer or clause just to keep things simple.

Anonymous said...

Hello Andrew,
just a quick update on the competition. The city of Helsinki has won the appeal and the competition can now proceed. Do you have the list of the selected participants? Where could I find info about that?

Mike Newars

The Happy Pontist said...

Dear Mike,

I have no idea who "Andrew" is, but that's not my name.

I do have a list of the selected participants, and will post something shortly.