After the jury’s deliberations were done, the real Andy Groarke of Carmody Groarke arrived. Carmody Groarke have had an extraordinary run of success in competitions over the past two years, so of anyone to judge and comment on a competition, Andy was the person. We left him alone for 45 minutes to look over the schemes, and then asked him to announce his shortlist, based simply on inspection of the panels. He also made thoughtful comments on the whole process – mainly centering on the need to get under the skin of any competition brief and be acutely aware of the aspirations and pressures that the client faces.
Interestingly three of the five schemes on his shortlist had been judged by the role-playing jury as in the bottom group. Where the jury was predominantly lay, and therefore fell in some cases for the obvious, Andy was able to rescue some of the quieter but maybe architecturally more sophisticated work.
The work will now be put on public display and the public asked to vote. The three sets of votes – jury, architect, public will then be compared. I suspect that everyone will be a winner.