CABE insists on design contests

Britain's top design watchdog is vaunting the value of building competitions by insisting creative head-to-heads are one of the best ways of achieving high-quality design.

CABE will make its case in an exhibition, which opens today (17 January), to promote the value of design competitions. Schemes from contests supported by CABE will take centre stage at the Competitions Work show.

"In the UK we tend to use design competitions for large, landmark projects," said CABE chief executive Richard Simmons. "But our European counterparts routinely use competitions for smaller-scale, everyday projects, and it shows.

"Design competitions attract keen design teams," said Simmons. "They put the focus on the big picture rather than the detail and they unlock the under-used talent in big architecture practices."

The exhibition, held at the Building Centre in London from 17 January to 14 February, displays project work for Europan 9, a Europe-wide competition that focuses on new urban ideas.

Project work on show includes designs in Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent.

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