Okay I took my ball and went home. Yup, I’m a bad sport, a purveyor of sour grapes, and a sore loser. Why, well I dropped out of the designbymany building to building competition. Why, well I was deeply frustrated with the way the competition was handled. (and yes I would have lost, see sore loser above.)
First off, I think designbymany will be hugely popular with architectural students. It is the perfect place to compete and share ideas. Having HP as a sponsor /co-owner doesn’t hurt either. A $10,000 plotter plus the fame of being recognized on archdaily could jump start a budding career. (Hey HP how about sponsoring an engineering website! Hell I will sell it to you.)
Why the frustration then? The first part is the jumbled nature of the website. It is frustrating not to know what is going on or who actually owns the site. (No contact information on the site but you can find the owner by looking up the domain registration. Update: Reading the about page this site is run by design reform and Case.) The style of communication on the site was difficult because it all ran together in one lump of comments and responses. In addition, it is not clearly stated what rights the competitor has in regards to their submitted material.
Now that in itself is not a reason to quit. What frustrated me the most was allowing competitors to join the competition after the closing time period. This is not done in a competition. I fired off an angry email to the owner and he was very polite in his response. Seems like a nice guy. (yes I am a jerk, yes I should be nicer.)
I know the pain of being disqualified from a competition for not adhering to the rules. (See Calgary Bridge Competition.) It sucks after all the hard work, but strict rules are needed for a fair competition.
So, summing up, me = jerk.
I like the idea behind designbymany very much. I enjoyed competing even though I was a lot older than most of the competitors. I love the idea of online competition with a great worthwhile prize. I liked the owner. I did not like the uncertainty in the rules.