Dialogues and the Problems of Knowing: Reinventing the Architectural Competition

Kristian Kreiner, Peter H. Jacobsen, Daniel Toft Jensen

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We describe and analyze the introduction of legitimate dialogues in architectural competitions. What happens to the competition when the contestants are allowed to interact with each other and with the competition jury? We consider dialogues to be a supplementary social technology that is becoming embedded in well-known forms of architectural competitions. By enabling feedback on preliminary design ideas and solutions, the dialogues are meant to accelerate processes of clarification and learning, and to enable the contestants to implement changes and improvements during the development of their final design entries. However, in an empirical study the actual effects proved less straight-forward. The feedback allowed the architects to react and adapt, but in some cases they reacted and adapted in ways which they later regretted.

By showing that feedback may also mislead the architectural teams to draw wrong implications we are sensitized to the inherent problems in knowing certain things ahead of time. We elaborate on this dilemma and suggest some implications for the theory and management of architectural competitions.
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Management
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)160-166
StatusUdgivet - 2011


  • Dialogue-based architectural competitions
  • Garbage can process
  • Gap closing
  • Knowing ahead of time