Status: Needs Review

mind is not yet ripe for the reception of such ideas. Another subject I would refer to as of no little importance, and which is having a demoralizing influence upon our practice and one that caused so many unjust disappointments, is that of unregulated or sham competitions. I imagine there is not a member present who has not experienced the feelings of degradation and shame attending comptetions of this kind, or who has ever submitted competitive plans for public work to committees composed, as usual, of men whose only abilities are in the field of politics, but has felt the humiliation of having to submit his chance, not to the merits of his design, but to personal or political influences and manipulations. How often do we find members of such committees, who control the choice of designs in the competitions, that are competent to form a correct judgment of a plan, and who have an intelligent comprehension of its essential features which adapt it to the purposes intended?

Competitions, as a rule, are costly; these costs are borne by the profession, and when controlled by totally incompetent men, who are not familiar with the nature of the work to be done, nor able to discriminate as to the merits of proposals for doing it, are liable to encourage chicanery and trickery, and tend to lower the standing and repute of competent competitors who take part in them. It is not absurd and unwarranted assumption for such a committee of uninformed persons to decide upon the merits of competitive plans presented by those who have made their occupation a life-study? And what private citizen do you suppose would entrust a committee of this kind with selections of plans for his own building for any purpose? How much is our profession benefited in submitting to competitions that are not decided by merit or professional ability, but by such influencers as I have mentioned, brought to bear upon the committee or persons in charge? The public must become acquainted with the fact that men placed in positions of authority through the influence of politics are not always the most suitable in the world for the selection of places for any purpose. A step towards improvement in this matter would be the adoption by our association of a code of rules under which its member will in the future take part in competitions and that they pledge themselves to strictly abide by its provisions. And a fundamental part of this code should be, that no member will propose or submit plans for competition, unless proper inducements are offered and the awards are made by a disinterested professional jury. All competitions, besides being a source of expense, inovlve a great amount of unpaid labor; no pecuniary benefit is derived by the competing architects as the successful one get no higher fee than if he had been employed direct, and the others, unless graduated prizes are offered, get nothing for their time, labor and money. As long as we find architects who rate their services so low as to respond to any and all advertisement, let the inducements be what they may, it will remain a difficult task to regulate matters of this kind. But let architects who have the welfare of the profession at heart, and a due respect for their own position, abstain from unregulated competitions of the kind so much in vogue, I believe that the sentiment of the general public will gradually change in our favor and begin to fully appreciate our position. Especially in competitions for public works which are so apt to serve purposes of political jobbery, it is inecessary that we be careful in upholding the dignity and respectability of our profession.

To place the control of competitions in the hands of well-known, disinterested, professional experts would restrict temptations to unfair dealing, and the profession not be subjected to lottery and gambling schemes, such as most members of the profession now regard the majority of competitions. A committee in charge of any such undertaking composed of uninformed persons, but honest in intention, and working for the best interests of their constituents, may with some degree of fairness insist upon full drawings and specifications, add a large amount of detail work and explanations necessary to give them a vague idea of the nature of work proposed. Such competitions entail heavy expenses, and it is not just to expect us to submit a large amount of unrecompensed labor to a mere chance of the honr (if any there be) of executing the proposed owrk; and especially so, if competing with those who are so mercenary as to consider only the question of fees, which in many cases is the controlling influence with such committees. The method of grduated premiums has not proven altogether satisfactor, as, except in rare cases, they do not represent an equivalent for the work performed; and the classifying of premiums, in such awards, by committees who have no understanding or appreciation whatever, of the work they are judging, is simply an unwarranted assumption of ignorance, intolorable to the educate expert.

Until only those who are properly qualified are allowed by law to practice the profession and are protected against the unprofessional methods and machinations of the unprincipled, all competitions will be of an unsatisfactory nature. It is, however, our duty as an association, to take such steps that may have a tendency to improve, if possible, the unfavorable conditions under which we are now placed. In countries where the essential conditions connected with such undertaking are bet-

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