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June 2, 2009

Architects may complain to Brussels over design contest

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) is considering a formal complaint to the European Commission over rules set by the ESB for an architectural competition to redevelop its headquarters on Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Street. The RIAI maintains that criteria for entering the competition, such as that practices had to have an annual turnover exceeding €2.5 million, were “unneccessarily exclusionary” and would effectively debar most Irish architects from taking part. The closing date for expressions of interest in the competition was last Wednesday, and an ESB spokeswoman said 45 entries had been received. There was a “good international spread”, with Canada, Japan, the US and Europe represented. The spokeswoman added that a number of those who indicated their wish to enter the competition were Irish practices, some of whom had joined forces with others from here and abroad. This would have been one of the ways to fulfil the criteria. Last Friday RIAI president Seán O’Laoire met ESB chairman Lochlann Quinn to discuss the institute’s concerns over what it sees as a “lawyer-led process”. But Mr Quinn said the ESB was not prepared to change the rules at this stage.

The Irish Times

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