Malcolm Reading is founder and chairman of Malcolm Reading Consultants — a world-leading independent organiser of international architectural competitions, based in the London. We spoke to Malcolm about international competition opportunities for Australian architects and designers.

You specialise in organising international architectural competitions — what would you say are the ingredients of a successful submission?

Clarity and ingenuity. Competitions at their best unearth new talent and ideas. Successful competitors reach out to surprise and enchant the Jury and do this with flair. Clearly communicating and removing clutter from drawings is key.

What do you feel design competitions offer over more traditional procurement methods?

Two fundamental benefits: firstly they allow a client to engage with a wide pool of designers outside of their normal experience; and secondly it offers architects a great way to market and develop their work. Name me a great (any!) architect who did not win his or her threshold commission through a competition.

How can Australian architects and designers find out about your competitions?

Check our website and register for one of our competitions. Over 20 years we have built up a cumulative database that receives regular contact from us. And do let us know what interests you — we have a research team who are always looking for new talent and building lists for the frequent invited competitions we run.

Where do you see opportunities for Australian architects and designers internationally?

Australian architects have great energy and attitude and already have an international reach. The strength areas appear to be cultural masterplans, health and infrastructure. These are strong areas of expertise in a world that is moving toward urbanisation and higher mobility.

What has been the most interesting design competition you’ve organised?

Each and every one! Much of our work for clients is setting the brief and determining viability — we can spend as much time doing this before running the competition itself. So we try to create the right context that architects can respond to. And our satisfaction is placing the right architect with the right client.


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