Where Nature and Technology Merge: Texas Society of Architects announces Field Constructs Design Competition

Architecture Landscape Architecture Southwest
Wetlands of the Circle Acres Nature Preserve, Austin, TX. (Courtesy FCDC)

Wetlands of the Circle Acres Nature Preserve, Austin, TX. (Courtesy FCDC)

As architects and designers increasingly defer to nature in light of environmental issues, eco-friendly technology takes precedence. The Texas Society of Architects has announced the Field Constructs Design Competition which welcomes proposals from artists, designers, architects, and landscape architects for a temporary site-specific public installation within the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin, Texas.

Grasslands of the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin, TX. (Courtesy FCDC)

Grasslands of the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin, TX. (Courtesy FCDC)

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In addition to exploring design innovations that integrate with the ecosystem and topography of the land, the competition invites designers to ruminate on ways their project could attract attention to areas perceived as peripheral or remote through interaction with the local community. Integrating with unwieldy terrain such as wetlands, forestland and grassland is a further challenge. The site for the competition itself exemplifies this two-pronged concept—the preserve is a brownfield remediation located on a former 10-acre retired landfill that was transformed into a park for the Montopolis neighborhood.

Proposals should evidence mindfulness of zero-impact solutions, interactive media and novel material assemblies. The jury will initially select 10–12 proposals, after which six to eight finalist projects will be shortlisted and receive the green light for building along with a $5,000 reimbursable grant to cover fabrication and installation expenses (travel and accommodation expenses handled separately). Winning installations will open to the public in mid-November 2015 as part of a month-long series of curated events.

Map of the preserve showing the proportion of terrain types. (Courtesy FCDC)

Map of the preserve showing the proportion of terrain types. (Courtesy FCDC)

How to submit

Entrants must submit a PDF document of no more than 20 pages, opening with a statement of intent detailing the installation’s main features, proposed strategy for installation and disassembly, site conditions including topography, vegetation, and access – as well as the hoped-for ecological and social impact. Design documentation is an obvious essential – the jury will be looking for scaled drawings, renderings, diagrams, models or sketches that delineate key physical features and the project’s connection to the site. An itemized budget inclusive of travel and accommodation expenses is also called for. Finally, project authors are required to submit a biography for each team member and three professional references. Although the vision is to create temporary installations, proposals that push the envelope may be considered for longer-term or even permanent exhibition.

The FCDC has partnered with Ecology Action, a non-profit organization in charge of the competition site, the Circle Acres Nature Preserve to explore sustainability, design and creative use of a former landfill. For more information, visit: www.fieldconstructs.org.

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