Large response to call for architects for £50m building – but far less than avalanche predicted

More than 150 architects have responded to a call to find an architect for a £50m building at the Glasgow School of Art.

Although it is a significant number of entries for an architectural competition, it is far less than the hundreds of entries predicted by various media reports.

The competition brief was downloaded over 11,000 times from the website of competition organiser Malcolm Reading, leading some to speculate that more than 1,000 entries could be expected.

In the end 153 entries were received, with 58 from outside the UK. Malcolm Reading said entrants included three Pritzker prize laureates and a “large number” previously shortlisted for the Stirling prize.

Malcolm Reading, whose firm is administering the competition, said: “The level of international entries, as well as those from the UK, is exceptional and an indicator of the wide appeal of the project. Glasgow is going to have a sparkling list to choose from.”

The disparity between the number of forms downloaded and the number of actual entries received could be for a number of reasons, including architects who reviewed the terms of the competition before deciding not to enter.

Smaller firms may have been put off by a stipulation in the competition pre-qualification questionnaire that a minimum professional indemnity cover of £10m would be required.

Up to seven firms will be shortlisted for the GSA building, an 11,250m² building opposite Charles Mackintosh Rennie’s main building, on 22 May. A winner will be announced in September.

Read Dan Stewart's blog on the GSA competition.