From his first competition in Portland, Oregon for Pioneer Courthouse Square, to the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program, to three simultaneous competitions for reinvention of areas on our National Mall, Don has evolved his philosophy on and expertise in design competition management and designer selection processes, in general. Recognized as one of the premiere competition experts in competition management, Don has managed and coordinated over 60 design selection processes nationally and internationally—ranging from traditional design competitions to design/build and design/build/develop delivery processes. Moreover, he has integrated into the design competition processes the sensibility of an architect as to what it takes to build, and the sensibility of a planner/urban designer that understands the strategic interventions necessary in city building.
An urban planner and design advocate, Jennifer Mannhard has been Don’s trusted associate and project manager for all the major competitions he has undertaken in the past twelve years. In this time we have tested and further developed Don’s competition philosophy and methodology.
We believe a design competition is a far greater enterprise than a mere beauty contest. It provides a platform for the expression of ideas and innovation as well as an opportunity for research and exploration that transcends everyday practice. The goal of a well-conceived and executed design competition process is that everyone involved (participants, jury, sponsor and general public) benefits from interacting with, and participating in, the process.
Our competition management is founded on a simple principle: GOOD PROCESS, GOOD PRODUCT. We know how to “design” a process that will pave the way for designers to create their best work—to create an environment that is inclusive, transparent, and educational. We design and execute processes that recognize and deliver designs that balance aesthetics, cost, contractibility, regulatory constraints, maximized long-term value, and environmental efficiency.
But we are more than Competition Managers. As practitioners and advocates, we understand both design aspirations as well as the practicality of building. We believe that a competition requires more than the capacity to execute a great design competition PROCESS—it requires professionals that, by the writing of the design program and designing the process, ensure that the PRODUCT will fulfill the aspirational as well as the practical goals of the project.
Designing the most appropriate and effective process is dependent upon understanding how the competition process can inspire design excellence and bring out the best from designers. Our ability to attract the most innovative designers is a result of “designing” processes that not only engage and are laboratories for innovation, but are also based on fairness, respect for the participants, and a commitment to process integrity.
Donald J. Stastny FAIA FAICP FCIP
STASTNY : architect llc | Competition Manager
Jennifer Mannhard AICP
Communicate Design | Competition Project Manager