[Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a backpage comment by Marshall Brown, “Kick the Architectural Competition Habit” (AN02_02.19.2014_Midwest). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email email@example.com. ] Bravo. This “addiction” at the top of the field inspires exploitation of architects all the way down the line. While I was in graduate school, a professor “employed” a classmate to pull all-nighters on a competition entry, which had no relation to his coursework. He was told that if they won the competition, then he would be offered a job at the firm. Just how did this arrangement correlate with his supposedly progressive politics? As a firm principal, I have also encountered job applicants and employees, long out of school, whose skill set was incredibly narrow due to their fixation on competition entries, which only required graphic dexterity. They couldn’t make anything. Christopher Rawlins Rawlins Design Incorporated
Posts tagged with "Competitions":
It’s a battle of the starchitects in Mexico City—and the Brits are leading the pack. Out of the seven finalists short-listed to design an expansion for the capital city's airport, Benito Juarez International, four hail from the UK: Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Pascall+Watson. They are joined in the final round by Teodoro González de León with Taller de Arquitectura X, SOM, and Gensler. All of these teams are being led by Mexican practices, and construction could begin later this year. The multi-billion dollar expansion should accommodate 40 million annual passengers at over 70 new gates. The airport's current cheese-grater-like facade in Terminal 2 was completed by Serrano Arquitectos in 2008. The envelope's many circular windows are used to maximize natural daylight within the terminal year round. [Via Architects' Journal]
The Institute for Rational Urban Mobility is hosting the just-announced vision42design Competition calling on architects, designers, and transportation gurus to re-imagine one of the most iconic (and congested) streets in New York City—42nd Street. Submit your plans today to transform the street into a world-class boulevard complete with a high-quality public spaces and a light-rail tram. In addition to the $10,000 winner's prize, the jury’s top selected projects will be featured in The Architect’s Newspaper. For more info and to register visit the competition website. Registration Deadline: Sept 8, 2014 (Midnight) EST
For the fourth year running, Robson Street in downtown Vancouver will play host to a public art project designed to enhance people's connection to one another and people's connection to the space. The brief for "Robson Redux "entails transforming a street that acts largely as a pedestrian thoroughfare into something more akin to a plaza or city square for the coming summer months. On today, April 15th, a jury will select one of the 79 entries to build and install in time for Canada Day (July 1st for those not in the know). Loose Affiliates' Picnurbia, 2011's winner VIVA Vancouver, a subsidiary of the City responsible for public art programming, is the host of the competition, which was inaugurated in 2011. Local design collective Loose Affiliates were responsible for that year's winning design; rolling orange turf-covered hills traversed by occasional flat walkways and umbrellas. Subsequent winners Pop-Ups and Pop Rocks and Corduroy Road were continued efforts to recast Robson as a site for gathering rather than circulation. 2012 Winner Pop-Ups and Pop Rocks While only a single design will be realized, two additional submissions will receive honorable mention while online voting will decide the recipient of the people's choice award. The winner will remain in place through the end of August. On April 3rd all of 2014's entries were displayed in a public exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Last year's winner, Corduroy Road
A team of American architects and public health professionals has won an international competition to design a mobile health center for impoverished communities in Southeast Asia. The Moved to Care Design Competition, which received more than 200 entries from around the world, called on designers “to create an innovative design solution for a relocatable healthcare facility.” The winning team of Patrick Morgan, Jhanea Williams, and Simon Morgan designed a colorful, compact, and secure healthcare structure that can be easily transported. The multi-purpose space can also serve as an educational hub for the surrounding community. “Working through design challenges we focused on how architecture and public health were consistently always beneficial to each other, focusing on not only the clinical aspect, but also the community that will be affected by the facility,” said Patrick Morgan in a statement. The jury also announced Christopher Knitt from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee won their student competition. The competition was organized by Building Trust International, a non-profit that helps bring design projects to impoverished parts of the globe. David Cole, the organization's founding partner, said in a statement, “we look forward helping realize the project over the coming months.”
Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League have selected Jason Austin and Aleksandr Mergold as the winners of their Folly 2014 competition. Commenced in earlier this year and launched in 2012, the contest's name and theme derive from the 18th and 19th century Romantic practice of architectural follies, or structures with little discernible function that are typically sited within a garden or landscape. Austin and Mergold's SuralArk was deemed the most deserving contemporary interpretation of the tradition, and will be erected within the park's Long Island City confines by early May. The winning submission takes equal parts inspiration from an upturned ship hull and a suburban home to arrive at its final form. Measuring 50 feet long and 16 feet tall, the design and its context are meant to speak to the increasingly ambiguous distinctions between city, suburban environments, and rural living. In a nod to its greater surroundings, the structure will be coated in the same vinyl sidings frequently found coating the walls of Queens residences. Such paneling will allow light to filter through the building's exterior, an effect that becomes more dramatic with night fall. The resonance of the ark form grows when one considers the East River's uninvited entry to and eventual submergence of the Park during 2012's Hurricane Sandy. A jury of Chris Doyle, Artist; John Hatfield, Socrates Sculpture Park; Enrique Norten, TEN Arquitectos; Lisa Switkin, James Corner Field Operations; and Ada Tolla, LOT-EK judged 171 entries from 17 countries before choosing the Austin and Mergold design. The pair currently work at a Philadelphia-based architecture and landscape firm that bears their name. They will be granted unfettered access to the Sculpture Park's studios and facilities throughout April in order to oversee the execution of SuralArk which should be open to the public on May 11th and remain on the grounds through August 3rd.
The Guggenheim will launch a competition in early June to design their new branch in Helsinki. Working alongside the Finnish Association of Architects, the Foundation is seeking proposals for a currently vacant site alongside the city’s South Harbor. The competition comes three years after the city expressed interest in a Guggenheim outpost. But, according to the Art Newspaper, despite the competition, a new branch is not certain. The paper reported, “The Guggenheim announced that a decision to go ahead with the project would be taken after the architectural competition is completed." The competition comes as the Guggenheim faces heated backlash for their planned museum in Abu Dhabi, which has a dismal record on workers’ rights.
Every year at about this time, Los Angeles' design community comes together for a good cause—and a chance to show off their ingenuity working with an unusual building material. We’re talking Canstruction LA, which just wrapped its eighth outing. Like other Canstruction events nationwide, Canstruction LA invites teams of architects, engineers, builders, and designers to design and build sculptures entirely out of canned food. The 2014 competition produced an array of impressive designs and—most importantly—donated 28,551 cans of food to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Canstruction LA is put on by an all-volunteer steering committee under the auspices of the Society for Design Administration. Julie D. Taylor, Hon. AIA/LA, who serves on the committee, first read about the Canstruction program in a magazine. “[I] thought, this would be great for my clients to do,” said Taylor, who is the principal of Taylor & Company, a public relations firm for creative professionals. “I called up the national organization and said, ‘Who’s doing it in LA?’ They said, ‘No one. Why don’t you do it?’” So Taylor did, and the event keeps getting better. This year’s participants donated 7,000 more pounds of food than last year’s. Because the design teams are responsible for obtaining the cans, “it’s a major commitment for the firms that contribute,” said Taylor. Participants must also agree to a set of ground rules: they’re limited in size to a 10- by 10- by 8-foot cube; they have to use nutritious food, and the labels have to stay on. The designers can use a few additional materials to hold their creations together, but the sculptures should be mostly cans. The participating teams submitted drawings to the event organizers ahead of time. “Every year I look at them and I go, ‘There’s no way they’re going to be able to do that,” said Taylor. “And every year they knock me out.” Once on site, the designers have just one all-nighter to put their sculptures together. A jury of art, architecture, and culinary experts reviews the creations and awards several prizes, including the Juror’s Favorite, Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, and Structural Ingenuity. Visitors to the exhibition of finished works can vote for a People’s Choice honoree for one dollar, with all proceeds going to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. This year’s Juror’s Favorite was FOOD FIGHT! by PCL Construction Services, KPFF Consulting Engineers, and Callison, a face-off between a container of french fries and an apple that reflects on Angelenos’ struggle to access nutritious foods. Best Use of Labels went to Reflecting Hunger, by Steinberg Architects, which is based on Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago. CANimal Style Trio, by American Society of Civil Engineers Younger Member Forum, which imagines a health-conscious update to the classic fast-food meal, took Best Meal. The spiraling Pineapple Twist, by NBBJ and Thornton Tomasetti won both Structural Ingenuity and People’s Choice. Honorable Mention went to CAN Get some Satisfaction, a Rolling Stones-inspired challenge to hunger by LARGE Architecture and HKS Inc. Canstruction LA 2014 took place for the second time at the Farmers and Merchants Bank in downtown Los Angeles as part of the Downtown Art Walk. “Being open during the Downtown Art Walk is incredible,” said Taylor. “The number of people who go through, and the diversity of people, is fabulous, and so that’s been a really big boon. We hope to be downtown for many, many years and engage the downtown community.”
A nonprofit in Detroit is calling on artists and designers “to breathe new life into the historical viaducts at Second and Cass Avenue in Midtown.” In partnership with the New Economy Initiative, Midtown Detroit, Inc. will sponsor public art and light installations in the TechTown District of Midtown Detroit. Accepted proposals win $75,000 per viaduct. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 30. Applicants can propose interventions for one or both viaducts. Apply here. The two viaducts, located between Baltimore and Amsterdam Streets in TechTown, were fully operational railroad bridge grade separations. Originally constructed in 1934, they’ve fallen into disrepair. While Detroit’s been happy for international design attention in recent years, this competition has a residency requirement. It’s open to “all professional artists, architects, designers, design firms and/or teams consisting of these entities located in the following eight southeast Michigan counties: Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne.” Non-residents can join a design team as long as the project lead can prove physical residency in southeast Michigan. Read the full list of guidelines here.
Each year eVolo Magazine hosts a competition soliciting new visions for vertical living. This year's iteration of the nine-year-old Skyscraper Competition received 525 projects from 43 countries. Out of this vast field, three winners were announced with Yong Ju Lee of New York–based firm E/B Office taking first prize for his project Vernacular Versatility. The winning design looks to the traditional domestic architecture of its creator's homeland. Lee's building uses the beam and girder system of the curved roofs commonly found on Korean Hanoks in order to construct a contemporary skyscraper. Second place went to Mark Talbot and Daniel Markiewicz for their Car and Shell Skyscraper: Or Marinetti's Monster, a vertical suburb that arrived with a bombastic manifesto in the mode of its futurist namesake and all the plug-in trappings and immense scale of mega-structural architecture. YuHao Liu and Rui Wu of Canada took third with Propogate Skyscraper: Carbon Dioxide Structure. Their approach harnesses carbon dioxide gases in order to generate a material that allows the building to grow organically around a basic guiding framework. Many of the highly theoretical entries seem to be essentially exercises in sleek and sexy renderings, but provide food for thought none the less. Twenty additional submissions were tabbed for honorable mention by a jury consisting of Wiel Arets (principal Wiel Arets Architects, dean of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture), Derek Pirozzi (architectural designer Oppenheim Architecture and winner of 2013's competition), Carol Willis (director Skyscraper Museum, professor at Columbia University), and Dan Wood (principal WORK Architecture Company, professor at Yale University) among others. Competition winner Lee will receive a $5000 prize and a press kit from competition sponsor v2com. The honorable mentions are featured below.
A video illustrating the general concept behind the elevated park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition) Washington D.C. is using the rebuilding of a local bridge as an opportunity to create a new 900-foot elevated park across the Anacostia River. Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and the D.C. Office of Planning are hosting a competition for the design of this developing project. Participants are invited to think of the initiative as a blank slate sitting upon the extant structural piers, the only holdovers from the old bridge that will be preserved. A community design charette held on December 7, 2013 to discuss the park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition) Organizers have laid out four goals for the new design: "connect two diverse communities, re-engage residents with the Anacostia River, improve public health, and become an anchor for economic development.” The communities in question are the historic districts of Anacostia and Capital Hill. Efforts have been made to incorporate local opinions into the park's design. Over 200 meetings have been conducted with public figures and residents in the surrounding area. An environmental education center, a performance area, urban agricultural facilities, a cafe, and kayak and canoe launches are some of the suggestions that have emerged from these consultations. University of Washington public health scholar Dr. Howard Frumkin, Carol Mayer Reed of landscape firm Mayer/Reed, and Howard G. Robinson III, Professor of Urban Design and Dean Emeritus at Howard University will be members of the jury deciding upon the winning design this coming fall. Backers are expecting the park to cost in the range of $25 million, $500,000 of which has been raised already.
Arnhem, Netherlands is in the midst of commissioning designs for ArtA, a new cultural center planned for the city. Proposals from an impressive list of four international firms are being considered for the space, which is to house the Museum Arnhem and the Focus Film Theater. Beyond accommodating both exhibition and theater programming, the structure is also meant to act as a link between the city and the waterfront of the adjacent Rhine River. SO-IL, NL architects, Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), and Kengo Kuma are the four studios shortlisted for the project. SO-IL presented a modular design composed of five units of varying size. A central staircase leads visitors deep into the interior of the structure, while each unit is strategically pierced by large openings that provide views of the river and the surrounding city. In keeping with the two pronged program of the center, BIG elected to place a black box and a white box at either pole of their proposal. These archetypes of museum and theater architecture are fused by a twisted volume and diagonal arts plaza. The torqued form creates new types of semi-protected public spaces in the plaza designated to host the center. Both NL Architects and Kengo Kuma arrive to the competition armed with stepped structures. Kengo Kuma offer a series of offset stacked glass rectangles partially clad in red clay tile, an arrangement that also generates a number of rooftop terraces. The Rhine is metaphorically invited into the site in the form of cascading reflecting pools. NL Architects envisions a more uniformly staggered facade in the form of a large staircase-shaped structure growing in size and stature as it approaches the waterfront. These, too, are coupled with rooftop green space and a sculpture garden, while the steps rest upon an expansive and largely open multifunctional art square.