This paper highlights the often-underestimated impact of environmental certifications on the judgment process with particular reference to contemporary Canadian competitions for public buildings. It argues that recent attention given to environmental certifications may lead to a potential crisis in the competition process. After establishing a clear distinction between evaluation and judgment, the article offers to reassess current practices through a theoretical model, which shifts from «judgment on design» to «judgment by design».
Despite its importance in the quality of public buildings, the judgment process in the architectural, landscape and urban planning competitions has been far too little theorized. In this theoretical vacuum, two new factors are currently being introduced that further complicate the operations of judgment: first the growing demand for diversification of jury members, heterogeneity understood (in the Canadian context) as a measure to ensure the diversification of viewpoints, and second, the marked increase in the introduction of environmental certifications (i.e. LEED, etc.). In this paper, the focus is on specific weaknesses in the judgment process regarding the adoption of the environmental certification LEED. The discussion is illustrated by examples taken from the Canadian context. It concludes with a call to reconsider judgment in architecture, which instead of being an operation of evaluation or even a form of criticism from outside the project, would rather be considered from inside the project. In other words, the collective act of judging participates to the elaboration of the project itself, as most constructive judgments would. This is not intended to be prescriptive but precisely descriptive as a more accurate theoretical model of a vast majority of practices. This paradigm shift would offer not only a way to theorize judgment in the domain of architecture, landscape and urbanism, but also a way to better contextualize environmental certifications in design thinking.
|Keywords:||Environmental Design, Environmental Certifications Competitions for Public Buildings, Evaluation, Qualitative Judgment, Design Thinking, Geographies of Architecture, Architectural and Urban Forms|
Assistant Professor, Design and Computation Arts, Concordia University, Montreal, Montreal
Full Professor, Faculté de l’aménagement, Ecole d’architecture, Université de Montréal, Montreal