Winners of the Atlanta Bridgescape Competition were announced last week at the AIA Conference that was held in the city. The competition, launched earlier this year, asked multidisciplinary teams to reimagine two of Atlanta’s outdated bridges with a budget of about $3 million. Hometown designers Max Neiswander and Luke Kvasnicka won with (sin)uosity, their plan to remake Midtown’s 10th Street Bridge with plantings, fresh bike lanes, and a curving, ribbed shell. Roger DeWeese, head of the Atlanta-based Peachtree Architects, also earned top honors with Organic Canopy, a vision to top Courtland/McGill Bridge with a geodesic dome–like structure. This plan actually won twice as it was selected by the competition's blind jury and the general public through the People's Choice Award. The other People's Choice Award went to Green City Spectator by the Poland-based KAMJZ Architects along with ARUP. Perhaps the most adventurous design, this scheme tops the bridge with what appears to be farming areas, and also has a zigzagging structure similar to to HNTB's vision for Los Angeles’ 6th Street Viaduct. “Competitions are about vision and big ideas,” said competition manager Tony Rizzuto, Chair in the Department of Architecture at Kennesaw State University, in a statement. "They have the potential to take us out of our comfort zone to see possibilities we never imaged. They provide a catalyst for discourse on public space and promote the pursuit of better design.” The ideas-centered competition was sponsored by Central Atlanta Progress, Midtown Alliance, and the Atlanta chapter of the AIA.
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Enormous architecture-shaped pillows will fill a vacant field for Chicago’s third annual Ragdale Ring
A suburban field on Chicago's North Shore will host a fantastical summer pavilion fashioned after a toy box, with outsized pillows in the shape of architectural elements, according to designs selected as the winner of the third annual Ragdale Ring competition. Young Chicago designers Design With Company (Dw/Co) took their cues from the original Ragdale Ring garden theatre designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1912. The Ragdale Foundation was founded in 1897 on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Shaw’s summer home in Lake Forest, Illinois, 30 miles north of Chicago. Architects Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer dubbed their contemporary interpretation of the outdoor theater Shaw Town. Dw/Co plucked architectural details from some of Shaw's early 20th century buildings in the Chicago area—such as the rooftops of Market Square in Lake Forest and the Quadrangle Club at the University of Chicago—and created “audience-friendly pillows” in their form, to be stored in a giant wooden toy box when not in use. “The moveable pillows sprinkled across the landscape are intended to be used by the audience in a multitude of ways from seating to play,” reads Ragdale's announcement. “Visitors are encouraged to rediscover Shaw’s buildings without even knowing it.” Last year's winner, New York–based Bittertang Farm, sculpted an earthen grotto from packs of hay. (See a gallery of photos from that installation here.) Like Bittertang's ring, Shaw Town is also made from biodegradable materials. Shaw Town, whose construction will be funded by a $15,000 production grant, debuts June 13 at 1230 North Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, Illinois. More information can be found on Ragdale's website, ragdale.org.
Competition winner uses composite materials to re-imagine Semper's primitive hut.The title of TEX-FAB's fourth annual competition—Plasticity—has a double meaning. It refers first to the concept at the core of the competition brief: the capacity of parametric design and digital fabrication to manifest new formal possibilities. But it also alludes to the material itself, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). “Plastics have the potential to push contemporary architecture beyond the frame-plus-cladding formula dominant since at least the 19th century,” said competition winner Justin Diles. Pointing to traditional stonecutting and vault work, he said, "I'm very interested in this large volumetric mode of construction, but I'm not at all interested in the stone. I think that composites probably offer the best way of addressing this old yet new mode of constructing architecture." Diles' proposal, Plastic Stereotomy, builds on his work as a KSA fellow at The Ohio State University. But where his earlier Eigenforms were two-dimensional freestanding walls, Diles' Plastic Stereotomy pavilion—which he will build at scale during the coming months—is fully three-dimensional. Inspired by teaching tools designed by Robert le Ricolais, Diles used a finite element analysis 3D modeling plugin to simulate surface buckling by superimposing volumes onto one another. "Those pieces are voluptuous; they create a lot of poché [thickness] as they overlap with one another," Diles observed. While the plugin developed by his friend was critical to the design process, Diles remained focused throughout on the end goal of fabrication. "What I'm really looking at is how we can use simulation to think about issues of construction rather than just optimization," he said. Custom fabrication shop Kreysler & Associates will provide technical support as Diles moves from design to construction. Diles cites the fire-resistant FRP cladding developed by Kreysler for Snøhetta's SFMOMA as an example of how composite materials can ease the transition from two-dimensional to volumetric design. "Even though the project still adheres to Gottfried Semper's model of a lightweight frame and cladding, the panels don't have a frame expression," he said. "They're massive, with ripples and indentations. They point to a new way of thinking about architectural surface and enclosure." Kreysler and Diles will work together to streamline the techniques he used to build his competition prototype, a scaled-down section of the Plastic Stereotomy pavilion. (Bollinger + Grohmann will provide additional structural and material engineering support.) For the mockup, Diles used a 5-axis CNC mill to shape EPS foam molds onto which he layered up FRP cloth. He then removed the pieces from the molds, painted them, and glued and bolted them together, adding stiffeners to the open-backed components. Because the FRP is so light, he used two solid foam blocks to weigh down the structure. "I'm interested in working with Kreysler around thinking through production to make it more efficient," said Diles. For the fabricators, the TEX-FAB collaboration represents another step in Kreysler's journey from boat-building to other applications of composite materials, including architecture. "We're excited to work on this with Justin," said Kreysler's Josh Zabel. "It's exciting to see designers put fresh eyes on these materials we're devoted to." Plastic Stereotomy will be on display at TEX-FAB 2015 Houston at the University of Houston College of Architecture, March 26-29. The conference will feature workshops, lectures, and an exhibition on the theme of Plasticity.
As several Chicago sites—as well as institutions in New York City and Hawaii—vie to host Barack Obama's Presidential Library, the Chicago Architectural Club is “calling for speculative proposals” to consider the design impacts of the nation's 14th presidential library. Submissions are due January 10, one month after official contenders for the library have to submit their proposals to The Barack Obama Foundation. Winners will be announced February 3 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 South Michigan Avenue. First prize nets $1,500, while second takes $1,000 and third gets $750. The Architectural Club and CAF will exhibit the winning projects on their websites. Jurors for the award include Andy Metter (Epstein), Brian Lee (SOM), Dan Wheeler (Wheeler Kearns Architects), Elva Rubio (Gensler), Geoffrey Goldberg, (G. Goldberg + Associates) and John Ronan (John Ronan Architects). More information on submission protocol is available on the Chicago Architectural Club's website AN's editorial page has called for the library to catalyze the development of public space wherever it ends up, and the speculative designs offered by the Club's annual Chicago Prize are sure to spur good conversation on that topic. The competition literature identifies the site as the rail yard at the southwest corner of the Chicago River confluence—a site already devoted to Goettsch Partners' River Point development, currently under construction. In library news more likely to materialize as built work, the University of Chicago is mulling Jackson Park as a potential site. The Hyde Park university where Obama taught law is also reportedly considering an empty lot at Garfield Boulevard and Martin Luther King Drive, the South Shore Cultural Center, and an area of Jackson Park across from Hyde Park Academy High School at Cornell Avenue and Hayes Drive, according to DNAinfo Chicago.
As AN recently reported, the Guggenheim Foundation has unveiled more than 1700 proposals for its planned campus in Helsinki. All of these submissions have been kept anonymous and made available to the public through an online gallery which displays two renderings and a brief description for each plan. Given the amount of proposals the Guggenheim received, the gallery can be a little—let's say—hard on the eyes. If you're not up for scrolling through all of it, we picked out some interesting renderings that stood out to us. Yes, we undoubtedly missed some good ones in the process—there are 1,700 after all. If you're looking for Guggenheim's comprehensive list, head on over to the full gallery.
As we’ve mentioned before, the biggest competition in town is not in the United States. Virtually every design firm in California and everywhere else has entered the competition for the Guggenheim Helsinki. Proposals were due on September 10, and Eavesdrop received a secret picture of the storeroom where they are being kept. Let’s just say it is FULL. There appears to be several hundred submissions. Only six of the proposals will advance to stage two of the competition, a list that will be announced later this fall. The winning entry will eventually be chosen next June. So stay tuned, there’s plenty of Guggenheim madness left! (And why doesn’t the Guggenheim open a branch in Los Angeles already?!)
Architectural competitions with substantial cash prizes tend to focus on monuments, museums, and other high-brow concerns. Such is not the case for Breaking New Ground: Designing Affordable Housing for the Coachella Valley Workforce. Sponsored by The California Endowment, a Los Angeles–based private health organization, Breaking New Ground targets the gap between the people who come to the Eastern Coachella Valley to play and those who keep its $4 billion agriculture and tourism industries running. Home to resort communities including Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Rancho Mirage, the Eastern Coachella Valley lacks affordable housing for the permanent and seasonal workers who harvest its crops and staff the local service industry. With annual salaries of just $15,000–$30,000, workers and their families are forced to live on the streets, in cars, or in one of more than 100 unpermitted mobile home parks, without access to adequate heat, hot water, sanitation, or ventilation. Breaking New Ground will offer a total of $350,000 in unrestricted awards, including prizes for four finalists in each of the Open and Student categories. The jury will evaluate submissions based not just on physical design, but also on their economic, social, and regulatory aspects, such as: market feasibility, the provision of integrated social services, and proposed policy changes. The competition will be based on an existing 9.4-acre vacant site, selected by the County of Riverside for competition purposes only. Though Breaking New Ground is a design and ideas competition, “The California Endowment does intend to fund a project inspired by the competition entries,” said Colin Drukker of PlaceWorks, the competition’s lead project coordinator. “Winning entries will not be guaranteed a chance to participate in a potential construction project, but they will obviously have an advantage in any subsequent RFP.” The competition begins October 21, with online registration open sooner. The first round will conclude December 19, at which point the jury will select four winners from the Student category as well as four finalists from the Open Category. The second round, to begin January 22, will conclude with live presentations and a celebration March 30–31. (All dates are subject to change until registration opens.)
A new international airport for Mexico City won't just fix the problems of its predecessor—which typically delays planes because the two runways were built too close together—it will be unique in its efficient expansive single enclosure, according to its architects, Foster + Partners and FR-EE. Foster and FR-EE were announced as the winners of a design competition last Tuesday, in which all the finalists had worked with local design talent. Mexico City-based FR-EE's founder Fernando Romero is married to Soumaya Slim, a daughter of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. The new airport, which aims to become the busiest in Latin America, has received a $9.17 billion pledge, partly in public land from President Enrique Peña Nieto. The government will finance its early construction, issuing bonds for later stages of development. Officials estimate Mexico will receive $19.6 billion in additional tourism revenue through 2040 as a result of the new airport. It will accommodate more than 100 million annual passengers. At more than 6 million square feet, the new airport will be one of the world's largest. It's also labeling itself the most sustainable. While still a complex committed to promoting air travel, a substantial contributor to global emissions of carbon dioxide, its layout is intended to be entirely walkable and won't need heating or air conditioning for most of the year. Foster + Partner's website said the project will be LEED Platinum:
The entire building is serviced from beneath, freeing the roof of ducts and pipes and revealing the environmental skin. This hardworking structure harnesses the power of the sun, collects rainwater, provides shading, directs daylight and enables views—all while achieving a high performance envelope that meets high thermal and acoustic standards.Organized around a single massive enclosure, the airport weaves cavernous, naturally ventilated spaces around an organic "X" shape that appears in plan like a cross section of DNA. The lightweight, pre-fab structure will open its first three runways by 2020. Another three runways, set to open by 2050, will quadruple the airport's current capacity. Mexico City's current airport, Benito Juárez International, will eventually be closed and rehabbed into a commercial development and public park. The design competition that preceded this week's unveiling drew high-profile names, including Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, and Pascall+Watson. Mexican-American architect and partner at JAHN, Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, also submitted a design to the competition, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He teamed up with local designers Francisco Lopez-Guerra of LOGUER and Alonso de Garay of ADG for the airport, whose form evokes both flight and traditional Mexican art. A pyramidal arrangement of structural white "umbrellas" transmit light while shielding occupants from the hot Mexican sun.
The vision42design competition to rethink and redesign the entire length of New York City's 42nd Street was launched last April by AN and The Institute for Rational Urban Mobility. Entrants in the competition have the opportunity to not only rethink this important street but transform Manhattan at its core and become a model for major urban thoroughfares worldwide. The competition has generated wide interest from architects, urban designers, transportation planners, landscape architects, and other professionals and academic design studios from around the world. The date for submission of digital design materials for the competition is midnight EST on October 1, 2014, but the digital registration deadline is September 8 at midnight. In order to register, go to the competition website and then click "Registration." We will announce a short list of phase one winners on October 6, 2014.
Earlier this month, the Van Alen Institute announced Future Ground, an international design competition that is hoping to attract fresh strategies for reusing the many vacant lots that dot New Orleans. The competition is seeking submissions from landscape designers, architects, planners, public policy wonks, and pretty much anybody in the business of shaping urban environments and is supported by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), which owns more than 2,000 vacant lots. There are somewhere around 30,000 empty lots and abandoned structures throughout New Orleans today, most of them left by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in 2005. As the 10-year anniversary of the storm approaches, Future Ground is looking to create design and policy strategies capable of adapting to changes in density, demand, climate, and landscape in New Orleans over the next half-century in an effort to turn these abandoned landscapes into lasting resources. NORA is currently working with New Orleans–based landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels to develop land use strategies to reduce maintenance on many of its vacant lots. The firm's principals, Elizabeth Mossop and Wes Michaels—along with Richard Campanella of Tulane University, Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson of the University of New Orleans, and Allison Plyer of The Data Center—are serving on the competition's Futures Team. "Some of this land might not be developed for a long time. It's important that the teams we select are not just looking at solutions for now, but for 10, 20, 50 years from now," said Jerome Chou, director of competitions, Van Alen Institute. "They need to be flexible, accommodate future needs, changes in the climate, and shifting development pressures. That's what the Futures Team is going to help us do. They will be working on potential scenarios of how the city might change over the next half century. It's obviously not set in stone, but thinking through those scenarios can help us tell residents, government officials, and philanthropists 'here's what's possible.'" Winning teams will be selected from an international open RFQ process. Applications are due by September 29, 2014, and will be evaluated by a jury of local design and policy leaders, as well as representatives of other cities with land reuse problems of their own, including Dan Kinkead of Detroit Future City, and Terry Schwartz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Each winning team will be given a $15,000 stipend and will be asked to work closely in a six-month collaborative process with local stakeholders and national leaders. The goal is to bring small, incremental improvements to individual neighborhoods as well as the city as a whole; to develop policy that bolsters beneficial design strategies; and to make these strategies good enough to be sustained into the next generation. The Van Alen Institute will help out the selected teams to make up for the modest figure of the stipend by promoting their work nationally and internationally and developing networks.
In 2009, vandals pushed a dump truck through a hole in the wall on the fourth story of the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit. (Of course there’s a video.) It’s a level of dereliction and decay that’s frankly common to North America’s foremost basket-case city, but it’s made a bit more poignant by the fact that the plant (built in 1907 and closed in the late '90s) was once an icon of Detroit’s command over automotive technology and the automotive industry. The 3.5-million-square-foot facility was designed by Albert Kahn to produce luxury cars, and was the first of its type to use a reinforced concrete structure. But now it’s time for some more creative thinking about how to use the Packard site, beyond inventive ways to project giant pieces of refuse out of windows. As such, Parallel Projections released the winners of an ideas competition to adaptively reuse the site on Friday. The competition (the first one Parallel Projections has hosted) garnered 200 entries from 30 countries. The three winners received $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively, and six Honorable Mentions were named. Called Reanimate the Ruins, Parallel Projections founder Kyle Beneventi said that, beyond adding another chapter to the history of a building that’s forced the carry the symbolic weight of the city’s struggles, he wants the competition to show how design can address social and economic problems. “We hope to act as a catalyst, and put these ideas in front of decision-makers to raise awareness about how design can address these issues,” he said. The site is currently owned by Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo, who has his own plans for the site, though Beneventi says proposals from the ideas competition can be complimentary to his efforts, and that he’s been working with Palazuelo’s company, Arte Express. The competition winners range from pragmatic land-use proposals to loose thought experiments. The winners are: 1st Place Cross the Plant by Vincent Lavergne is based on one simple programmatic shift: Turn much of the factory into housing, provide financial incentives for residents in unsustainably depopulated neighborhoods to move in, thus freeing up more land for urban agriculture. 2nd Place The Packard Belt by Javier Galindo crisscrosses the plant with a car-path belt, inspired by automotive engine belts. It’s a slow, nostalgic ride through Detroit history—a sort of a linear museum you experience while driving. 3rd Place Ecological Engineering Center Detroit by Toni Yli-Suvanto installs a waste recycling, urban agriculture, and power generation facility on the site. Sewage treatment yields biogas, power is harvested from the sun, hydroponic plants are grown, and water is recycled. Honorable Mention Higher Calling: A Spiritual Mycoremediation Corridor for Detroit by Tak Stewart, Arnulfo Ramirez, and Giselle Altea recruits monks to remediate the site’s polluted soil with mushrooms via mycoremediation, using fungi to degrade or absorb contaminants. Honorable Mention Packard City by Bastian Gerner and Pola Rebecca Koch is an open-ended series of templates for ways to repurpose the factory’s buildings. Honorable Mention Urban Paradox: Architectural Iteration to Paranoiac Tensions by Chun Shing Tsui develops a hub for Detroit’s newest, saddest industry: scrap metal recovery. In an effort to tempt car companies back to the city of Detroit, this design proposes an organ that aids the city in cannibalizing itself. Honorable Mention Packard [Model D]etroit by Dominic Walbridge, Michael Miller, and Yan Ding divides the site into light manufacturing and fabrication areas, office space, a museum, and leisure and retail space. Honorable Mention Hollow Ground: Reconceiving Packard as an Urban Archipelago by Samaa Elimam and James Leng begins by renovating the site’s most recognizable buildings and converting them with strong geometric shapes into education and cultural spaces. Honorable Mention Augmented Chassis by Jason Butz and Akshita Sivakumar augments the physical infrastructure of the factory with smart-phone enabled “augmented reality” applications that overlay historical imagery as well as potential future renovations into museum and exhibition spaces.
Work wrapped up this summer on Bittertang Farms’ installation at Ragdale, the nonprofit artists’ community in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, and true to its plans the straw amphitheater springs forth from a lush hillside in Lake Forest, Illinois. Designers Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres of The Bittertang Farm won $15,000 earlier this year to erect the 102nd Ragdale Ring—an ongoing design competition for temporary outdoor theater spaces in north suburban Chicago. Based in Mexico City and New York City, the designers evoked the theater’s bucolic setting with straw-filled tubes of biodegradable material. Dubbed Buru Buru, Bittertang’s amphitheater creeps up from the soil with straw wattle tendrils. Wrapping around a framework of trusses, it forms a pentagonal opening whose womb-like quality is only enhanced by LEDs that illuminate the interior at night. Buru Buru’s organic elements are more than a formal nod to fuzzy ideas—the structure is actually meant to entwine with its natural habitat over time. In addition to sheltering actors and activating the rolling hills of Lake Forest, Buru Buru is also a substrate for growing grasses and mushrooms.