The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, in conjunction with TR Warszawa Theatre, have undertaken to select an architect for both institutions’ future headquarters, to be built on the north side of Plac Defilad.
This will be the third attempt in the last eight years. The first architectural competition, announced by the Warsaw city authorities in 2005, was cancelled due to a surfeit of formal requirements incompatible with international standards. The next one was announced in 2006, but was an excruciating failure, both for the winning architect’s design and for the city. The reasons behind this fiasco included among others insufficient planning and investment.
Having drawn conclusions from this experience, and bearing in mind the special circumstances, the Museum and Theatre, in consultation with the City of Warsaw and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, have decided to organise the architect selection process in accordance with public procurement law, in the form of advertised negotiations. This is a two-stage procedure. Anyone wishing to take part in the proceedings must meet precisely-defined selection criteria according to a points scale. The amount of investment required to design a complex of buildings for two cultural institutions with complicated building programmes, as well as the extremely difficult location, are both risk factors which could threaten the success of the project. Only those teams with documented experience of designing significant cultural buildings and personally managing large-scale investments will be retained for stage two of the procedure, during which a commission will assess the design solutions submitted by the architects. The chosen procedure differs from traditional architectural competitions in so far as the conceptual aspect of the Museum and Theatre’s future buildings will be just one of the elements to be evaluated in the architects’ bids.
The Museum and Theatre are aware of the international architectural community’s discussions about the inherent problems of traditional conceptual design competitions. The decision not to organise that type of competition is neither a move in favour, nor against established procedure. The decision was made due to the peculiar circumstances and the need to minimise the project’s risk of failure. In this new architect selection process, the organisers’ main idea is to provide an opportunity for close contact and dialogue with the competing architectural teams before the final choice is made. Based on Polish public procurement law, this idea will allow advertised negotiations to be introduced as described.
The Employer will commission a design for the headquarters of the Museum of Modern Art and TR Warszawa Theatre following proceedings to award a public contract, in accordance with the regulations of the Public Procurement Law of January 29, 2004 (hereinafter: the PPL statute), in the form of advertised negotiations.
The grounds for applying this form of negotiations is article 56 (1), paragraph 3 of the PPL statute, i.e. “it is impossible to pre-define certain features of contractual services as part of an open or a restricted tender in such a way as to enable the most advantageous bid to be selected”.
With regard to the scale, value and unique nature of this venture, the Employer has acknowledged that it is impossible to define the contractual services in detail without having the option to further specify and/or supplement the description of the object of the contract, or to define the contractual terms without prior negotiations with the Contractors.
Phase one of the advertised negotiations will involve assessing whether Contractors meet the criteria for taking part in the proceedings as defined in the advertisement. The Employer will publish an advertisement for the contract, containing a brief description of the scope of the contract and the terms regarding Contractors’ suitability, such as the experience required, the availability of employees capable of implementing the contract, etc. The advertisement will also contain information about bid evaluation criteria to be applied later on.
In response to the advertisement, Contractors will submit applications to participate in the proceedings. As mentioned in the advertisement, applications should contain declarations and documents necessary to ascertain whether Contractors satisfy the subjective terms.
The Employer’s evaluation of the applications submitted by Contractors will end with the selection of 15 Contractors who meet the criteria for taking part in the proceedings and possess the most relevant experience and employee capacity to implement the project. The qualification criteria set by the Employer will already be presented in the advertisement for the contract.
Phase two will involve inviting the qualifying Contractors to submit initial tender offers with no detailing of costs. When requesting initial tender offers, the Employer will simultaneously specify the significant terms and conditions of the contract. The initial tender offers will serve as a basis for negotiating details of the building programme and contractual terms. The initial tender offers will be evaluated by the Employer, with article 89 (1), paragraphs 1–3, 5 and 8 of the PPL statute serving as grounds for rejection.
Phase three will involve the Contractors who submitted initial tender offers that were not rejected being invited to participate in negotiations with the Employer. The negotiations will be based on the significant terms and conditions of the tender, as well as the initial tender offers submitted.
Following the negotiations, the Employer may supplement and elaborate the description of the object and terms of the contract. This will result in the final specification of the contract’s vital conditions, which will form a basis for the submission of finalised proposals.
Phase four will begin with a call for tenders, with the final significant terms and conditions attached. The Contractors who took part in the negotiations may submit tender offers containing elements stipulated in the significant terms and conditions, as well as the cost of implementing the contract.
The evaluation of the tenders will strive to select the most advantageous bid, i.e. one which achieves the most beneficial balance between cost and other bid evaluation criteria adopted during the proceedings. The Employer will then conclude a public procurement contract with the Contractor whose offer is deemed the most advantageous.