CannonDesign’s John Reed has published a new piece for ArchDaily entitled, “4 Reasons Architecture Firms Should Engage in Design Competitions” that focuses on how these efforts can help design firms find new creative paths, increase collaboration and strengthen firm culture. As John notes in the captions of the many images included, design competitions have helped mark his career – from his first build work: The Hastings Tapley Insurance Building in Cambridge, MA; to a Canary Wharf project that led him to moving to London and leading a design office; to recent work with Dickinson College and St. John’s University.
The full piece can be read online and below are two key excerpts:
On How Design Competitions Inform Client Work
“The renderings and schemes we develop during competitions may not always lead to built work, but they can influence other efforts design teams are engaged in at the time. For example, our team recently took part in a design competition for a World War 1 Memorial we ultimately did not win. However, during the competition we experimented with a fractured ground plate we later modified and repurposed for a landscaping feature as part of a design study for St. John’s University. Similarly, our World War 1 memorial had spikey, beak-like walls at the entrance that we re-imagined as a special window for a new dormitory at Purchase College.
On Strengthening Firm Culture
“Competitions often have far fewer “real-world challenges” in their early stages and allow design teams to fully flex their creative muscles. They’re able to dream, experiment and try new things on a scale that isn’t always available during day-in, day-out project work. This isn’t just good for creativity, it’s good for firm culture. Some of the most fruitful days in our offices have been impacted by work related to design competitions. The boundless creativity we find within design competitions has a knack for influencing our energy, communication and creative work on other project, too.