Calling All Agents

Here are some opportunities for writers, designers, and filmmakers, in case you're looking for ways to challenge yourself over the summer.

[Image: "Angels" (2006) by Ruairi Glynn, one of the co-organizers of Stories of Change].

1) Arup Foresight and the Bartlett School of Architecture have teamed up to gather what they call "responses to some of the world’s most pressing issues as featured in the publication, Drivers of Change. We would like you to tell us your Stories of Change." Original films, texts, and architectural designs are all eligible and welcome; the texts could even "be a poem, a letter, a blog-post, even a currated collection of tweets." Which is good news, but the deadline is approaching quickly: Friday, 24 June 2011. See the Stories of Change website for more.

2) For its new call for papers, the Bauhaus-Universität's Horizonte journal begins by quoting architect Raimund Abraham: "From earliest times," Abraham writes, "architecture has complied with that order of logical forms which is contained in the nature of each material. That is to say: each material can only be used within the limits imposed by its organic and technical possibilities." This fourth issue of the consistently well-designed journal explores the materiality of building: the issue thus "challenges the constraints and possibilities of architectural production, in order to reflect on the material and constructive methodologies of the present day." I imagine essays and even speculative fiction covering everything from genetically engineered building materials to 3D printers—to new types of brick to artisanal craftwork—would be of interest. Your deadline is 8 July 2011.

3) The Architectural League wants to give New York the Greatest Grid:
On the occasion of the two hundredth anniversary of the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan for New York, the foundational document that established the Manhattan street plan from Houston Street to 155th Street, the Architectural League invites architects, landscape architects, urban designers, and other design professionals to use the Manhattan street grid as a catalyst for thinking about the present and future of New York. For two centuries, the Manhattan street grid has demonstrated an astonishing flexibility to accommodate the architectural gestures and urban planning theories of successive generations of architects, urban designers, private developers, and city officials. Given its capacity for reinvention, how might the Manhattan grid continue to adapt and respond to the challenges and opportunities—both large and small—that New York faces now and into the future?
Your deadline is 26 September 2011; see the competition website for much more information.

4) A new Advanced Architecture Contest has been announced, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Architecture and Hewlett Packard. The theme this year is "CITY-SENSE: Shaping our environment with real-time data." Aim to submit "a proposal capable of responding to emerging challenges in areas such as ecology, information technology, architecture, and urban planning, with the purpose of balancing the impact real-time data collection might have on sensor-driven cities." Read more at the Advanced Architecture Contest website; the deadline is 26 September 2011.

5) The California Architectural Foundation, in partnership with the Arid Lands Institute and the Academy for Emerging Professionals, has launched what it calls "an open ideas competition for retrofitting the American West." The Drylands Competition seeks new ways of "anticipating, mitigating, and adapting to projected impacts of climate change" and other "critical challenges" facing the region. These challenges include water scarcity, obsolete infrastructure, and even the growing gap between scientific knowledge and public policy. "Design teams are invited to generate progressive proposals that suggest to policy makers and the public creative alternatives for the American west, ideas that may be replicated throughout the world." Register by 15 November 2011; see their website for much more info.

6) Meanwhile, across the pond, the Architects Journal is seeking essays of up to 1,500 words, by writers under the age of 35, for their £1,000 AJ Writing Prize (the money will be split amongst all winners). The jury consists of Christine Murray, Alan Berman, Joseph Rykwert, and Mary Banham; you only have until 30 June 2011 to participate, so get cracking.

7) Finally, this one doesn't open till September 2011, but it sounds fascinating. Sponsored by Architecture for Humanity, [un]restricted access is "a design competition that will re-envision the future of decommissioned military space. This is an open invite to the global design and construction community to identify retired military installations in their own backyard, to collaborate with local stakeholders, and to reclaim these spaces for social, economic, and environmental good." As I say, thought, it doesn't launch until September, but keep your eyes on the [un]restricted access website for emerging info.

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