Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Handful of Competitions

Here are a handful of competitions, a mix of results and announcements.


The winner of the LIVE FOREVER The Michael Jackson Monument Design Competition was announced on Friday. "Baddest" is the MJ Public Domain Countdown by fi5e from Hong Kong. It is basically a billboard version of an online countdown that "counts down to the moment when all of Michael Jacksons’ creative content will enter the public domain. In 70 years when the clock reaches zero it will play Billy Jean on loud speakers, making it the first time the song is played free of copyright." The simple design dispenses with the imagery of the King of Pop and focuses on what is shared, his music and the time when it becomes truly part of the public realm. That it can be installed anywhere -- and in any form, that it is a billboard as well as a website means it can be ever more things -- makes sense with its conceptual basis of the universality of Jackson's songs.


The winner of 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom was announced on Tuesday. Teton Valley Community School in Victor, Idaho and architecture firm Section Eight [design] received the top award, beating out over 400 competitors. The competition is geared towards implementing "the best of these designs in classrooms across the globe," hence the pairing of designers with actual clients. In Section Eight [design]'s scheme for the rural school, each classroom is a stand-alone building connected to the others via a second-floor bridge connector. In a way the design is a contemporary, site-specific update of the influential Crow Island School by Eero Saarinen and Perkins + Will, where each classroom is afforded its own outdoor space. While the suburban Chicago context warranted a single building, in Idaho the school can be expanded as needed with modular components.


Six finalists have been selected in the WPA 2.0 Competition, announced last week. "The six finalist proposals will be further developed and refined for presentation and discussion at the November 16 symposium in Washington, D.C." One of the finalists is the above entry, Border Wall as Infrastructure by Rael San Fratello Architects, which "names 30 alternatives that might better combat the energy crisis, risk of death from dehydration, disruption of animal habitat, loss of vegetation, negative labor relations, missing creative vision and lack of cross-cultural appreciation likely in the government sponsored version." The various alternatives run counter to the seriousness of the wall as implemented, with climbing walls, teeter totters and other means of engagement. The white-out presentation looks really sharp.


Another shortlisted entry in the WPA 2.0 Competition is Coupling Infrastructures: Water Economies/Ecologies (above) by InfraNet Lab / Lateral Office, which is also the winner of Pamphlet Architecture 30, announced a couple weeks ago. They will receive a grant for their Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism proposal, to be published by Princeton Architectural Press in two years.


And announcing the AIA NY Chapter Emerging New York Architects Committee's fourth biennal ideas competition, HB:BX Building Cultural Infrastructure. Incorporating the historic High Bridge in the Bronx, the competition "challenges entrants to create a public facility that fosters the development of experimental, innovative art forms." Registration is now open, with a deadline of November 20 for registration and January 15 for submission of entries. Prizes range from $1,000 to $5,000.