Tossing Your Teddy vs. Rising to Excellence
This one is easy. If Italian architects want to be awarded Italian projects, all they have to do is submit the most compelling proposals. This extends into all art-related arenas where selection committees choose who gets what. I hear endless bellyaching from artists (and gallerists) who don't get picked for this open-call exhibition or grant (or that art fair), and my first thought is always, "Well, next time submit a more compelling proposal." Imagining that one should get a pass because of one's nationality or any other demographic is insulting to the organization offering the opportunity.
Their protests are supported by the architectural association Direzione Generale per L'Architettura e L'Arte Contemporanea in Rome, whose director, Pio Baldi, says Italian architects are being usurped in their own country.
"It appears that the use of foreign architects has become a fashion, but they are not always the right choice for the right project," he said.
"Architects like [the Brit, Lord] Foster can make skyscrapers in London, but he is not suited to making them in Siena. Italian architects are more capable of marrying the traditional with the modern in an Italian context."
Oh, I know, there are often "political" considerations that can affect such selections, but their existence is no excuse for not submitting a proposal that takes them into account and overcomes them. Most of the time, it's not as if you didn't know they were there.
Excellence is your best defense against any such political considerations, always. Rising to the challenge and submitting the most excellent proposal you possibly can will always be the right approach. It's taken me a few stumbles myself to come to that conclusion, but I know it's correct. Even should the selection committee not be convinced, you'll make an impression. It will register with them. More importantly, you'll elevate your own game through the process.
The more time I spend in the art world, the more I'm convinced: there's only one thing worth striving for and that's excellence. If Italy's architects focussed on that, they wouldn't have time to build Italy's new institutions...they'd be too busy filling the demand for their work in all four corners of the world.