Internet sabotages Stockholm library competition
The internet has threatened to derail one of
the biggest open competitions in recent years after two of the six
supposedly anonymous shortlisted contenders for the new Stockholm
library were posted on the web. One of these, a young British architect
who beat more than 1,000 other entrants, is allegedly unaware of the
furore because he is abroad and cannot be contacted.
decided not to name him or the other shortlisted contenders to protect
what anonymity remains. Anonymity is required by law in Swedish
competitions of this kind.
The posts of the authors of the two
shortlisted schemes, Blanket and The Cut, are believed to have been
made by a disgruntled entrant who failed to make the shortlist. A
spokeswoman for the Swedish Association of Architects said someone
might be deliberately trying to sabotage the competition.
events have raised serious questions about the validity of anonymous
competitions in the internet age, when winners can be posted on
international websites just hours after being judged.
“My questions is, why bother?” said Frank Duffy, founder of DEGW and a regular member of international juries.
bust = Math.floor(1000000*Math.random());
the relationship [between the architect and the client] rather than the
design that’s the most important thing. [The insistence on anonymity]
is a sign of inertia — people are not thinking about why they have
Despite the embarrassing foul-up, the Swedish
Association of Architects has pledged to press ahead with the
competition to design an extension to Asplund’s seminal Stockholm
library. “We can’t jeopardise the work all the finalists have done,”
said the spokeswoman. “We are unhappy that colleagues have not
respected the work of others. The jury will try to close its eyes to
The spokeswoman has contacted the websites in
question asking them to remove the posts. The information originated
from pdfs of the winning schemes posted on its own website, which have
now been altered. The six shortlisted schemes will shortly go on public
display in Stockholm. Revised proposals are due this summer, with the
final decision to be made by the end of the year and the library due to
open in 2013.
This is the latest in a run of bad publicity for
international design competitions. Earlier this year, Rem Koolhaas
called on architects to boycott them following a row over the Gazprom
competition, won by RMJM, which saw Norman Foster and Rafael Viñoly
walk off the jury (News January 5).