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Articles on this Page
- 07/27/12--15:19: _The New Bauhaus Mus...
- 08/27/12--16:38: _Low-Tech Solutions ...
- 08/27/12--15:28: _Low-tech as High Va...
- 10/01/12--16:11: _Looking for an Icon...
- 10/01/12--15:24: _Designing a Museum ...
- 07/28/08--04:47: _Welcome
- 01/06/12--11:56: _2011 Annual
- 11/27/12--18:22: _Ideas for Rebuildin...
- 11/27/12--17:04: _A New Icon for Keel...
- 12/20/12--16:31: _A Significant Addit...
- 12/20/12--15:30: _Urban Design in a R...
- 03/26/13--17:37: _In Memoriam: Grady ...
- 03/26/13--16:37: _Uncovering Hidden P...
- 04/23/13--18:59: _Commentary on Compe...
- 04/23/13--17:56: _Designing for a Mos...
- 04/23/13--16:37: _A Step Up for an Ar...
- 05/14/13--16:48: _The Next Generation...
- 05/14/13--15:57: _In Ramallah, the Fo...
- 06/11/13--16:37: _Curbside Action at ...
- 06/06/13--16:01: _Transforming the Br...
- 07/27/12--15:19: The New Bauhaus Museum of Weimar
- 08/27/12--15:28: Low-tech as High Value: De-Materializing Seattle Center
- 10/01/12--15:24: Designing a Museum Addition: No Easy Task in Quebec
- 07/28/08--04:47: Welcome
- 01/06/12--11:56: 2011 Annual
- 11/27/12--18:22: Ideas for Rebuilding East Manhattan's Edge on the Water
- 03/26/13--17:37: In Memoriam: Grady Clay
- 03/26/13--16:37: Uncovering Hidden Possibilities: Lexington’s Town Branch Competition
- 05/14/13--16:48: The Next Generation Container Port (NGCP) Challenge
- 06/06/13--16:01: Transforming the Bridge: 2012 Cleveland Design Competition
Shedding New Light on a Storied Architectural Tradition
Is a museum collection only as good as the architecture that houses it? With the glut of contemporary museum design producing world-class buildings for even the most mundane of collections, that seems to be the consensus of the age. Yet there is no doubt that when a museum collection is distinguished enough, it can benefit from a well-designed container.
The Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, Germany boasts just the sort of outstanding collection in need of a better home. Since 1995, the museum has been housed in an art museum on Theaterplatz that incorporates Clemens Wenzeslaus Coudray’s 19th century classicist Kulissenhaus. As a piece of architecture it is not a bad building, but it is certainly a laughably incongruent style for one of the most influential modernist schools of the 20th century. Fortunately, this mish-mashed arrangement was always intended to be temporary, and this summer, an intriguing museum design was selected as a permanent home through the New Bauhaus Museum Competition.
The Moving School Project in Burma
Children are often the ones suffering most when they become refugees. Not only do they undergo the physical deprivations common to many of the most serious scenarios affecting refugees, they often miss out on the intellectual stimulation provided in their previous educational environment. Because of the relatively recent flow of those Burmese refugees over the Thai border fleeing persecution in their native Burma, the situation of the children has become increasingly precarious. After visiting the Mae Sot refugee camp on the Tai/Burmese border, Louise McKillop and David Cole of the U.K. non-profit, Building Trust International, decided to make an attempt to rectify this, even though if only on a modest scale: they decided to stage a competition for the design of a low-tech, sustainable school module that could be easily dismantled and moved back to Burma when conditions dictated it was safe to do so.
De-Materializing Seattle Center: The Triumph of the Idea
The most ambitious urban plans often don’t materialize beyond the drawing board. Usually, it’s a funding issue, or local politics, or simply the lack of will on the part of those who are calling the shots to take up a brand new idea. Seattle, no stranger to grand urban schemes, seems to be one of those rare exceptions—the sweeping Olympic Sculpture Park by Weiss/Manfredi being a recent example. A new plan by Field Operations (James Corner) for the Seattle waterfront could well turn out to be a worthy addition. So staging an ideas competition for an underused site near Seattle’s urban core—Seattle Center—would seem like an attention-getter and harbinger of great things. As was the case with this competition, initiating a discussion about a site without imposing strict programmatic limitations can sometimes get the ball rolling. Wasn’t this how New York’s High Line got started, first raising the bar with an ideas competition until it developed into a real project?
Looking for an Iconic Answer:
The Oceanside High School Performing Arts Center
Oceanside High School has a location that many other big public campuses may envy. The 2,500-student school is an easy walk to some of California's most beautiful beaches and also is close to the big open spaces of the U.S. Marines' Camp Pendleton base along the Pacific coast. What's more, the campus is just to the west of the Interstate 5, the main freeway route that puts downtown San Diego only about 40 minutes away.
No Easy Task in Québec
All photos courtesy of Catalogue des Concours Canadiens, L.E.A.P., Université de Montréal
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) made architectural history in 2010 by winning an open international competition for a new museum—in a place where international architects hadn’t won one for over fifty years. What’s more, they won in a city that’s been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1985. This aggressiveness in foreign markets is business-as-usual for the world’s top firms. But surprisingly, the competition wasn’t in China or Russia or India or Brazil, but rather Canada. OMA won the international competition for an addition to the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) in Québec City.
For Architects, Artists, and Planners
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Ideas for Rebuilding East Manhattan's Edge on the Water
by Stanley Collyer
Civitas, a New York-based non-profit has focused its programs on the Manhattan side of the East River waterfront. One of its more recent ventures was a design-ideas competition, Reimagining the Waterfront, the overriding idea being to improve the East River Esplanade between East 60th and 125th Streets.
A New Icon for Keelung's Waterfront:
Whether Arriving, Departing, or Just Looking
In anticipation of making Taiwan into the marine shipping hub for the Asia Pacific region, the Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) is investing about NT66 billion over the next five years toward the redevelopment of the port cities of Koashiung and Keelung. To facilitate the design selection process for new terminals in these ports, two competitions have been staged at both locations. In the Koashiung competition, held in 2010, two New York-based firms won the top spots—RUR architecture winning and Asymptote coming in second. In Keelung, it was a repeat performance if you will for Asymptote, which this time around placed second to the winner, Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) of Los Angeles. For some of the jurors that presided over the latter competition, it turned out to be a close decision, coming down to two schemes, Denari’s and Asymptote’s.
A Significant Addition to a Public Place
The Cadogan Café Competition, London
by Stanley Collyer
This place is missing something—probably a subliminal thought of many Londoners who frequented the Duke of York Square area in London, near the entrance to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. The locals also decided the site needed a visual lift—but what kind? Settling on a café as the answer would always seems to meet at least one requirement: You can pick up a coffee on the way to work, or it can serve as a casual meeting place. In any case, it is not to be ignored.
Urban Design in a Remote Village:
The Klaksvik Town Center Competition
by Stanley Collyer
The Klaksvik Town Center competition revealed that even a fishing village in a remote north Atlantic island group can attract the notice of the global architectural community. Located on one of the Faroe group islands in the north Atlantic between Iceland and Norway, Klaksvik was a relatively isolated fishing village until the recent construction of a road linked it to the rest of the island. Before that, all commercial communication with the rest of the archipelago had to take place by boat.
Klaksvik has been dependent on fishing for centuries; but as recent economic uncertainties in the fishing industry have battered the local economy, the municipality is looking elsewhere for economic stability—such as technology. However, in order to stem the brain drain to the European mainland of their younger citizens, the city decided that an upgrade of the town center could be part of the answer. In this way, they could at least visually keep in step with their European neighbors. To increase its public visibility and lend the town a more urban character, the city fathers decided to stage an international competition on the Scandinavian model—the islands are linked politically to Denmark—for modernization of the town’s center.
In Memoriam: Grady Clay
We are sad to report that longtime board member, mentor and nationally recognized journalist and writer, Grady Clay, passed away on March 17 in Louisville, Kentucky. Grady was instrumental in helping to establish The Competition Project, and, subsequently, COMPETITIONS as a quarterly magazine. It was with his continued support and encouragement that we were able to establish our publication and place in reporting on the national and international state of competitions. Grady made things easy for us from the very beginning, getting an interview with landscape architect, George Hargreaves for our very first issue. Whenever any question arose about an article, or a suitable headline, Grady was always there to pass on his invaluable advice.
Uncovering Hidden Possibilities
Lexington’s Town Branch Competition
by Stanley Collyer
Lexington, Kentucky is known primarily for two things, its horse industry and university basketball team. The former has had a positive effect on the city’s urban fabric in that horse farms surrounding the city have declined to sell off their property to developers, with the result that the city’s urban core is more compact and without that ubiquitous doughnut hole that surrounds the downtowns of so many Midwestern cities. As for the basketball team’s Rupp Arena, adjacent to the convention center, this has been a focal point of downtown development for decades, surrounded by hotels, restaurants and commercial structures.
Commentary on Competitions & the Al Jamea Competition in Particular
by Paul Spreiregen, FAIA
There have been numerous international design competitions in the past. They go back centuries, and for both architecture as well as town planning. This is hardly the first. Yet it demonstrates some characteristics of considerable portent.
It is also a long condition of design in general that design predilections of many strains find their ways from their places of origin to places that are far different. Developing countries have long drawn on the design systems, “styles” if you prefer, of more developed neighbors. Even within the same culture borrowing from a distant past for present needs is hardly new. To borrow the old for use in the new has been a characteristic of architecture. It can be seen as a search for identity and order through architectural form.
Designing for a Moslem Learning Experience
Al Jamea in Nairobi Campus Design Competition
By Paul Spreiregen
If there are still any doubts about the profession of architecture being a global phenomenon, they are fully dispelled by the recent competition for the Al Jamea campus in Nairobi, Kenya. Sponsored by a Moslem group in India, and managed by a professional adviser in California, this invited campus plan competition involved designers from the U.S., Great Britain, and India.
A Step Up for an Architecture Program
Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design
By Stanley Collyer
Winning entry by Weiss/Manfredi
Serving the needs of students is one thing. Making a strong architectural statement as a program’s add-on is sure to bring lots of national attention to any educational institution. Chicago’s IIT was in the doldrums before it staged the Student Center competition won by Rem Koolhaas. Once that building was finished, enrollment in the architectural program there rose from 300+ students to 900! As a state university, Kent State would not envision such a dramatic increase in student enrollment, as the competition they recently staged for a new building to house their architecture program has its spatial limitations. However, as a byproduct, one may anticipate that a remarkable new building will undoubtedly result in more competition for those spaces.
The Next Generation Container Port (NGCP) Challenge
by Olha Romaniuk
A former colonial trading hub, and now one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore’s maritime tradition has always been a focal point of its economic life. But having only 274 square miles to accommodate 5.4 million inhabitants, the country faces a scarcity of land for residential as well as commercial development. If Singapore hopes to compete with other large port facilities in East Asia, most notably those in China and Japan, developing a long-term plan for port expansion had to be a high priority for its government. By establishing the Maritime and Port Authority in 1996, the country took an important first step toward solving this problem.
In Ramallah, a Focus on Architecture
The Qattan Foundation Cultural Centre Competition
By Stanley Collyer
On 2 July 2012, the A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) launched an invited competition for the design of a new cultural and education center in Ramallah, Palestine. As a U.K.-based non-profit, which has focused on educational issues with emphasis on the Middle East, the Foundation’s Ramallah center has been located in an existing 80-year-old building for the past thirteen years, but feels that future demand for its services will require substantial expansion. By staging a competition for the new structure, AMQF is also seeking to “raise awareness about the role of built fabric design in improving the quality of urban life in social, cultural and economic terms.”
Curbside Action at the New Museum
The IDEAS CITY StreetFest Tenting Competition
by Stanley Collyer
New York is no stranger to design competitions for smaller projects, especially where the focus is on its streets. Among some of those, either proposed or realized, were the recent Urban Shed competition, protecting pedestrians on the sidewalks from falling debris; and, going back almost two decades, the Urban Outhouse competition. As street fairs are pretty commonplace in New York, it would seem only logical that an ideas competition for a temporary “tent” structure in front of New York’s New Museum would also generate a lot of interest. As part of the IDEAS CITY Festival during the first week in May, this year’s event included one hundred independent project and public events occupying over a square block around the New Museum. Inventors, small business owners, artists, ecologists and activists shared their products and ideas, demonstrating the value of Untapped Capital—the Festival’s current theme.
Transforming the Bridge
2012 Cleveland Design Competition
by Stanley Collyer
Preservation and re-use of old buildings has long been a major focus of our communities. But until recently, those same communities have regarded yesterday’s infrastructure—our railroad heritage in particular—as something to be either ignored or even erased from the urban fabric. At best, those previous rail beds have been converted into hiking and bike trails. Communities now have begun to recognize that some of these abandoned rail structures can be turned into public amenities. The High Line in New York City is certainly one of the best examples; but other projects, such as the recent conversion of Louisville’s Big Four Bridge to a walkway/bikeway across the Ohio River at Louisville, show how rapidly old perceptions regarding these structures can change.