May 1858 Architectural designs

The profession has attempted to establish a system of public competition on a more satisfactory basis. Recent events vividly manifest the injustice, disappointment and loss that the present system entails for architects, and have enlisted such an amount of sympathy, on the part of the public and the press, as to render facile any well-directed attempt to reform it.

It is remembered that nearly 20 years ago, a committee was appointed to consider my subject, who, having thoroughly investigated it, seemed appalled by the difficulties, and concluded by publishing a report containing much valuable information, but leaving the remedy very much where it was before, in the hands of the profession.

The abuses of the regulations think rest principally with the profession. They may be enumerated:

i. Wilful attempts to gain advantage by exceeding or departing from the regulations.

ii. False perspective drawings.

iii. Inaccurate estimates.

I have essayed to show that it is the abuse and not the use of public competition that has entailed most of the evils that beset the present system; that public competition is advantageous to art, the public and the profession; and that any reform must emanate from architects, as they have the control of the terms and regulations.

I feel confident that the public on their part require only to be made fully aware of the duties and responsibilities that they undertake in inviting competition, and it rests with the Institute to enlighten their ignorance.