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Tuesday29 July 2014

Israeli architects' fury as Chipperfield fast-tracked in competition

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Call to scrap National Library contest as architects claim ‘humiliation’

David Chipperfield has been caught up in a wave of anger among Israeli architects who claim they have been humiliated by the organisers of a prestigious competition.

Chipperfield’s is one of eight practices that have been invited straight on to the longlist for the new National Library building in Jerusalem. Other contenders must go through a first-round selection process.

Local architects are outraged and have called for the entire competition to be scrapped and started again. A petition has already attracted more than 140 signatures.

Arad Sharon, who helped set up the petition, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “The terms of the competition constitute a death blow for the architectural sector. This is a colossal humiliation.”

The organisers, the National Library Construction Company and Rothschild foundation Yad Hanadiv, invited eight practices straight to the second round of the competition.

They are David Chipperfield, Shigeru Ban from Japan, the US firms Moshe Safdie and Bohlin, Cywinski & Jackson, plus Israeli architects Chyutin, Ada Karmi-Melamede, Mayslits-Kassif and Carlos Prus.

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Readers' comments (13)

  • What on earth ios the point of offering a competition and then stacking the long list with preferred favourites. Let them compete with everyone else on the strength of their entries alone. If they are good enough then they will get onto the long list, if not then they won't.

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  • link the petition... i'll sign it!! what a joke of a competition. Hey lets open it up and waste everyones time while we have already ear marked the projects (archiects) we like!

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  • Lots of competitions are organised in this way. Why are we making such a fuss about this one?

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  • If that is true, Henry, then they all need to change, not just serve as a basis for excusing this one.

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  • http://www.atzuma.co.il/architects
    If any of you care to sign it, all support is welcome.
    The problem with the competition, one in a long line of problematic competitions held locally, is not only the structure, but (among others) that the fund financing it has a veto right on the competition's outcome, basically making it an empty gesture.

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  • One way and thats up!

    this isnt new pretty standard really...

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  • can´t they decide whether they want an open competition or not? clearly many teams are wasting time here...that reminds me another case from around a year ago...the V&A, in which nearly all the teams involved in preparing the competition got short-listed afterwards

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  • Stewie

    Worst thing any profession can do is to set up an unassailable status quo, particularly architecture. People that are so scared of competition that they go around scratching each others backs trying to avoid going toe to toe with the competition because they are scared the competition will be too strong for them to compete against, how weak and pathetic.

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  • So its an invited competition, with four overseas names with genuine pedigree and four local designers, and just to open things up, if you like, you can enter too and maybe make a shortlist.

    What on earth is wrong with this? Invited competitions are very normal, and had this been simply 'by invitation only' no-one would have batted an eye. Seems to me the organisers have tried to do something good and are being lambasted.

    Stewie: if you are so confident that you can go "toe to toe" with these guys and win, you have the opportunity now. Good Luck!

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  • As Haaretz, Israel's most serious national newspaper, says, "The Palestinians are willing for Jerusalem to be declared capital of Israel on condition that it is also their capital. Israel refuses to recognize their right to this"

    Until this is sorted, architects should not be compounding the problem by agreeing to build on land that might well end up not being in Israel.

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