Young Architects Unwelcome


A few months ago we were alerted that Sarasota, Florida, a city known for its emphasis on the arts, was contemplating a selection process for a new performing arts center. Then recently, we noticed that a list of star architects had been named to participate in the selection process. Assuming this list might be an invited competition, the response we got from Sarasota was as follows:

“This isn’t a competition — it’s a blue ribbon process.

 The selection process does not include design concepts for the Sarasota Performing Arts Center; therefore, no design proposals will be shown.”

Among those architects listed, one would have to assume that the firm’s name was what got them in, not the lack of a realized project of this nature. This Is not to say that Sarasota will not get a first-class product; any of the below firms could provide one. But the proliferation of invited processes for high-profile projects excludes any possibility that young architects could test their skills against the best. This is just one more of such events where young architects will be looking in from the sidelines.

It is interesting to note that two recent winners of design competitions for major performing arts projects were not included in the list: BIG, Copenhagen (Prague Concert Hall Competition; and AL_A, London, Belgrad Concert Hall Competition.


Sarasota Performing Arts Center Longlist (18)

  • Adjaye Associates (UK)
  • Arquitectonica (USA)
  • Diamond Schmitt (Canada)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (USA)
  • Foster + Partners (UK)
  • Gehry Partners (USA)
  • Henning Larsen (Denmark)
  • Pelli Clarke & Partners (USA)
  • Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Italy)
  • Rex (USA)
  • Safdie Architects (USA)
  • Sanaa (Japan)
  • Shigeru Ban Architects (Japan)
  • Snøhetta (Norway)
  • Steven Holl Architects (USA)
  • Studio Gang (USA)
  • Studios Architecture (USA)
  • Zaha Hadid Architects (UK)