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Historically, one of the quickest ways for a firm to make a name for itself as a "design" firm was to enter and win an architectural competition. Although the prize was seldom enough to pay for the time spent on the competition, the firms that entered felt the risk of losing money was acceptable for the potential media and reputation boost that would occur should they win.

With the number of architects and designers that are currently under- and unemployed due to this recession, I suspect that the number of entries for design competitions will be up this year, so if you wish to enter, be sure and bring your "A" game to the table.

With that said, here are a few competitions that are currently open. My listing of them does not constitute any sort of endorsement, but they are active and accepting entries.


HB:BX is an open international ideas competition to design an arts center that culturally reinforces the physical connection between the Manhattan and Bronx Highbridge communities of New York City. This competition is hosted by the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA), AIA New York Chapter, in cooperation with Artists Unite and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and it is meant to draw awareness to the current efforts to restore and reopen the bridge. This competition is a forum to explore the urban and community improvement that may come with the achievement of such a momentous milestone. Thus, ENYA challenges emerging architects and designers to explore how disused historic structures can be reprogrammed into vibrant urban centers. Competition entrants are also challenged to rethink the relationship between infrastructure (aqueduct, railway, highway) and it's urban context. These architectural issues, universally relevant to any growing city, take on a more site-specific nature when considering the historic importance of the High Bridge and the topographic challenge posed by the steep riverbanks of the Harlem River. Also grounding this competition to its local context are the unique clients who ask the entrants to reconsider architecture's role in the creation, displaying of and experience of art. The competition expects entrants to use the program as a connector to bridge the ideological gap between such two different arts organizations as Artists Unite and the Bronx Museum of the Arts with the local residents.

Competition launch: September 10th 2009
Early Registration Deadline: November 15th 2009
Late Registration Deadline: December 15th 2009
Submission Deadline: January 15th 2010

Registration Fees begin at $35 for a single student up to $300 for teams of more than 5 people.


California Senior housing Competition

Two San Francisco Bay Area housing non-profits, Suburban Alternatives Land Trust (SALT) and Northbay Family Homes (NFH) have, in the past 30 years, facilitated the building of 4,000 homes - half of htem affordable to low-moderate income families. Together, SALT and NFH are sponsoring an open competition to develop ideas that optimize their site's potential uses, including ideas that address the need for senior housing in a suburban setting. The Project site is located in the City of Novato, Marin County in a recently developed area know as "Bahia." Construction is planned to begin upon securing financing.

Designers are encouraged to develop and present ideas that reflect SALT's mission: assisting low-income individuals and families to secure good housing, become homeowners and improve their economic position by working with donors of land to maximize and leverage tax advantages and benefits generated in the course of developing a full array for land use options for each parcel, including affordable homes, jobs, recreation, agriculture and open space. Site planning and housing designs must demonstrate: innovated sustainable solutions that can also be applied to meet future housing needs, a zero net energy goal, multiple benefits including job creation, carbon and cost reduction, and opportunities for local food production / agriculture.

Competition Launch: July 20, 2009
Deadline for Registration: November 16, 2009
1st state submissions due: December 14, 2009 @ 5 pm

Entry Fee: $100


Air Force Village Chapel Competition

The men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces devote their careers to serving our nation and safeguarding the freedoms on which our democracy is built. Their dedication and committment of these brave individuals is exceptional.

Air Force Village is a special retirement community devoted exclusively to military personnel. Established in 1964, it has grown and evolved over time as more retired officer families have come to be part of its special environment. Today, veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and other postings far and near populate the community.

The campus is currently expanding, with additional housing units slated for completion in the next few years. As a result, the campus will soon outgrow their current religious facilities. The organizers of this competition challenge you to design a new inter-faith chapel for the campus, one that touches the heart and makes the spirit soar. The new structure will become the center of the entire community, and will serve as a visual focal point of the campus, as well.

Competition Begins: September 1, 2009
Registration Deadline: October 10th, 2009
Entries Due: December 1st, 2009

Entry fee: $25 for a student, $100 for a professional

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Each year a distinguished jury will award a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

Your entry must address two of the following issues:
communication and media
community and social systems
economy and livelihood
environmental health
food systems
human health
human rights
materials and resources
shelter and built environment

Submission Deadline: October 30th 2009
Selected Entries Invited for Interviews: November 20th 2009

Entry Fee: $50 for students, academics (employees at a university or research institution), people entering on behalf of a registered non-profit, and financially contributing members of the Buckminster Fuller Institute. All others are $100.


Again, these are the design competitions that I know about, there may be more out there.

If you decide to enter, Good Luck!


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tnrkitect - Musings of an Unconventional Mind

June 2011



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