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FAIRY TALES Supported by:

The Competition:

Once upon a time, Architecture was at the forefront of social innovation, addressing issues that the entire society felt were worth finding creative solutions for. A curse was then cast on Architecture: the Evil Witch of Banality tricked the architects into believing that their ideas were worthless, that society didn’t care about them, and that the only way to advance their projects was to produce vacuous glitzy renderings. Only those would lure developers into financing projects, and publications into publishing them. You are the hero that is being given the chance to battle the Evil Witch of Banality. Your magic power is Creativity. Your ace in the hole is Good Communication. Will you accept the call to this epic battle?

Fairy Tales is an open, international, ideas competition that challenges creatives from all professional realms to develop visionary, narrativebased design proposals. The competition is an extension of Blank Space’s mission to uncover the true power of architecture by creating new opportunities for design to engage the public. We’d like you to invent a story for your design. We’d like you to rewrite the way architecture communicates itself to the world, and to do so in the most unconventional way.

Image Source: Artus Scheiner (Cover) / Nadezhda Illarionova (this page)

Table of Contents:


The Brief


Procedure of Participation




Questions & Answers




Panel of Judges


Evaluation System





1.10 Rules and Regulations 1.11 Rights & Property

Image Source: Virginia Frances Sterrett

The Brief Fairy tales span millenniums and cultural boundaries with their special way of communicating complex ideas through simple, yet fantastical means. They are the first form of narration we are acquainted with as children. They are usually told or read by a person we are close to and trust, and they speak to us about situations and worlds that are foreign and distant, yet understandable. Fairy tales are our gateway to significance, to making sense of the intricacies of the real world we get to know as we age. They present us with problems and with ways in which they are dealt with by their protagonists, who often have to prove themselves in the course of the story, or are called to choose their friends and to identify enemies, or must find the resources in themselves to overcome whatever situation they are called to act upon. They are paradigmatic of experiences we haven’t yet had, decisions we haven’t yet made, feelings we haven’t yet felt, but surely will. Without us being cognizant, they are our first training in logic, in empathy and in creativity. The way the English language calls these children stories, “fairy” tales, can be partially deceiving. The word “fairy” describes fantastical, magic creatures such as elfins and spirits. Those are often are involved in such stories, and in the plots of these tales there is a magic component playing a role in the events: a magic object is needed, a cursed object is found, a person who has magic powers helps the protagonist or keeps them from succeeding, a spell is cast and needs to be broken. However, many of the Latin words that are blended in the English definition for these folk tales have meanings that reveal a deeper level of significance. For example, the Latin verb “farior”

simply means “to tell a story.” The verb “fari” means “to speak.” Another very similar word is “fatum,” fate in English: the tales we are talking about are often telling the story of someone’s destiny. Fairy tales, therefore, are not simply about fairies, they are also about fates, and about the relational activities of speaking, of telling someone a story. Studying fairy tales, psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim concentrated his attention on both the relational aspect of telling stories and on the educational effects of being told a story. According to Bettelheim, fairy tales describe inner states of minds by means of images and actions, translating internal processes into visual images. The visual stimulation makes complex concepts relatable, ignites unconscious processes, promotes insights and gives validity to the feelings felt while listening to the stories. These properties are so important that Bettelheim tells how in ancient Indian cultures, a parable or a fairy tale was often told by doctors to their patients who were troubled with stress and preoccupations, so that they could repeat it to themselves while meditating and figure out the solutions to their problems while retracing the steps of the characters in their quest for happiness. A fairy tale, therefore, is a story from which the listener can extract not only information on the world and their surroundings, but a deeper knowledge about themselves, their needs and their desires. Referring to the child’s experience of fairy tales, Bettelheim writes that “Fairy tales, unlike any other form of literature direct the child to discover his identity and calling, and they also suggest what experiences are needed to develop his character further.” This conclusion is generalizable to readers of all ages. Image Source: Harry Clarke

Italian writer Gianni Rodari, who specialized in modern fairy tale writing, firmly believed that fairy tales are the only game that adults and children can play together without the need for anything else than their minds, feelings and words. To Rodari, modern fairy tales as well as the ancient ones are important for both kids and grownups. “Fairy tales are the place of all the hypotheses: they give us keys to access reality from paths that are off the beaten track.”

emplotment – every creative idea has a plot, a structure, internal tensions and patterns of significance that make it understandable to the reader, the viewer, the user. That is true in storytelling as it is true in architectural storytelling. Ricoeur went so far as to actually compare architecture and narratives, and found that both of them have the power of “creating memory,” “making what’s absent present.” If narrative tells a story in time, architecture builds a story in space. In both cases, something is constructed, whether The return to fairy tales in a later stage of life in the physical or the mental space, and that allows the recognition of their deeper structures something becomes inhabited with memories and of meaning and of their essential, basic, universal experiences. It comes from the mind of its creator, value. A very popular quote of C. S. Lewis’ words who has to plot it and structure it, and becomes a is “Someday you’ll be old enough to start reading part of the life of somebody else, who establishes fairy tales again.” In contemporary culture, we feel a relationship with it. like that time has come already: so many fantastic stories are now brought to the 3-D theater screens Another reason why fairy tales matter to for consumption by adults and children. The architecture is the element of play. Playing is key success of contemporary animated movies, the in design. So much good design sparks from resurgence of the fantasy literary genre, testify doodles, from absurd ideas, from fantasies. So that the interest in fantastic stories is very much many great ideas for something that looks like a alive, potentially more in former children than in building actually can’t be built – nevertheless these the younger audiences. Even in the news, the concepts push architectural creativity forward, and elements of surprise and amazement play a key are the place to experiment with new issues, new role in selecting what stories have what it takes to topics, new scenarios. go viral. The world is permeated by the desire of being told stories. It’s a great time to be storytellers. Most importantly, the reason why an injection of fairy tale magic is crucial for architecture has to do How does this apply to architecture? with the very mission of Blank Space. We believe It does so in many ways. architecture can be more interesting, more fun and more social. Communication is omnipresent, and Stories form the foundation of architectural good communication helps great ideas change proposals, and it is through various stages of the world. Currently, there is a gap between storytelling that a project’s general challenges architecture and the rest of the world. Architects and constraints are outlined, as well as a formal have lost their centrality in the society. Architecture outcome is determined, and an architectural is now marginalized in its new role of aesthetic strategy is put in place. commodity, trapped in technical jargon and in concerns that are just the designers community’s. This process shares so much with what Paul By retreating in self-absorption, architecture has Ricoeur used to define as “mise en intrigue,” or lost its ability to send universal messages, to Image Source: Arthur Rackham

represent culture in its time, and to address issues that are those of the general public. Telling a story is the primary way of communicating a message effectively to every audience. By asking you to think in terms of stories we want to excite your imagination and to invite you to go beyond the classic topics and typologies that architecture competitions often focus on. We also highly encourage you to team up with non-architects and non-designers, to maximize architecture’s exposure to the world and the society it is thought for, and we hope, soon enough, thought with. As we illustrated, fairy tales are the most accessible stories humans are able to tell. It’s not at all a matter of them being simple -- they present structural rules, precise patterns and feature distinct element, some of which we covered, many more of which are the subject of in-depth studies by anthropologists, semioticians and literature academics alike. They are as sophisticated as a specimen of great architecture, and like great architecture they are relatable, fascinating and understandable to all, even to those who have no expertise -- whether that is the life-expertise that children are too young to have, or the architectural eye that the general public is not called to develop, but that architects intend to catch. For all these reasons, we invite you to create your own architectural fairy tale, in hopes that reconnecting with the magic, the whimsy and the fun will impact the shape and form of our collective tomorrow. >>> Best of luck! Blank Space Image Source: Arthur Rackham

Procedure of Participation:

Fairy Tales is an open international ideas competition in a single phase. Participation is open to architects, engineers, designers, illustrators, students and creatives worldwide. Individual or group entries are permitted. Multiple entries per individual or team are permitted, but each submission must be registered and paid for separately. The indication of a group leader is mandatory. Proposals do not need to be generated exclusively for this competition, but they must address the intent of the competition and should not have been published elsewhere before. The official language of the competition is English. All proposals must be submitted in English.

Image Source: Kay Nielsen


You can register for the competition here: ENTRY FEE: - Early Registration: Until Dec. 6 (50 USD); - Late Registration: Until Jan. 17 (75 USD). REGISTRATION FORM & PAYMENT: Registering for the Fairy Tales competition is very easy. First, complete the registration form at the link above and click “Register” to submit it. You will then be automatically redirected to a page with a Paypal link. Payment must be completed by using the Paypal link.

The form and the payment must be successfully submitted to complete registration. After receiving the form, Blank Space will provide a registration number by email within 24 hours. This unique code must be included on all entry panels. IF PAYPAL DOESN’T WORK: If Paypal is not accessible to you, other arrangements for payment must be made by contacting us. Please direct all questions regarding registration to:

Image Source: Artus Scheiner

Questions & Answers:

Please send your questions to: competitions@ with subject line “Fairy Tales Q&A” on and before January 10, 2014 by 23:59 EST. Questions and answers will be posted as they come in at: Please make sure that your questions are not already answered in the FAQ section.

Image Source: Arthur Rackham


11” x 17”

5 Images

The scale, location, and program of the project is up to each team. A successful submission will craft a unique narrative that is communicated through a combination of visuals and text in the most spectacular way. This includes renderings, typical architectural drawings (plans, sections, elevations), diagrams, and a text-based narrative, that combine together to form a unique architectural fairy tale. This is a digital competition and hard copy proposals will not be accepted. All entries are to be submitted via email on and before January 17, 2014 to the following email address: If necessary due to file size, mailing via web services such as wetransfer and hightail is acceptable to the above email address. The maximum allowable file size is 20MB.

8.5” x 11”

Text Narrative

8.5” x 11”

Team Info

The attachment, packed in a ZIP file, should include: 1. IMAGES: 5 slides of the project in 11” x 17” (horizontal format at 300 dpi in .jpg format) that represent an architectural fairy tale in the most fantastical way possible. These images can be collages, maps, plans, sections, elevations, pictures, diagrams, 3d representations or any other graphic tool. Each of them must be a unique document, independent and self-explanatory. Each sheet must contain one scheme or image only. There are no special layout requirements. Every image must include the entry ID number supplied by Blank Space at registration in the upper right hand corner.

continued on next page... Image Source: Nadezhda Illarionova


continued from previous page... 2. TEXT NARRATIVE: A text-based, fictional fairy tale in 8.5” x 11” .doc format, between 750-1500 words in length, that coincides with the graphic boards. It is optional to include this text into the 5 graphic boards, but it still needs to be submitted as a separate text document in any case. This text must be in English. 3. TEAM INFO: Individual or Team participation data in 8.5” x 11” in .doc format. This must include the names of all participants with their profession, home address, phone number and email. If the entry is a group submission, a leader must be selected. The entry ID number must be included on the top right hand side of all layouts, including the

2 word documents. This ID number is a unique number issued to every registrant. No other form of identification is permitted. The file names should quote the entry ID number followed by an underscore and number of the board as follows: xxxxxx_01.jpeg, xxxxxx_02. jpeg, etc. The same system is to be used for the text narrative (xxxxxx_narrative.doc) and the participants data (xxxxxx_info.doc). All files should be packed into a single ZIP file labeled with your Registration Number, as follows: We reserve the right to refuse any entry that does not meet the above mentioned rules and requirements.

Image Source: Virginia Frances Sterrett

Panel of Judges:

The competition entries will be submitted to the judging panel for review and judging. The jury will elect the winners.

WILL ALSOP Director, All Design PAULA SCHER Partner, Pentagram MITCHELL JOACHIM Co-President, Terreform ONE JACK ZIPES Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota NIGEL COATES Principal, Nigel Coates Studio FRANCESCO LIPARI Director, Cityvision Image Source: Artus Scheiner

Panel of Judges:

WILL ALSOP Director, All Design

PAULA SCHER Partner, Pentagram

Will Alsop is a prominent architect who established ALL Design in 2011 and currently works on smaller scale artworks and buildings as well as large-scale urban planning and design initiatives. His practice is an international operation guided by the principle that architecture is both vehicle and symbol of social change and renewal. The philosophy extends from the design of individual buildings to embrace broader principles of urbanism and city development. By abandoning the hegemony of an acceptable style, he has rendered the whole process of architecture one of increasing fluidity and transparency; a new and refreshing position for architecture both in the UK and elsewhere.

For four decades Paula Scher has been at the forefront of graphic design. Iconic, smart, and accessible, her images have entered into the American vernacular. Scher has been a partner in the New York office of Pentagram since 1991. In the mid 1990s her landmark identity for The Public Theater fused high and low into a wholly new symbology for cultural institutions, and her recent architectural collaborations have re-imagined the urban landscape as a dynamic environment of dimensional graphic design. Her graphic identities for Citibank and Tiffany & Co. have become case studies for the contemporary regeneration of American brands.

Image Source: Arthur Rackham

Panel of Judges:

MITCHELL JOACHIM Co-President, Terreform ONE

JACK ZIPES Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota

Dr. Joachim is a founding Co-President of Terreform ONE and Associate Professor at NYU. He was formerly an architect at Gehry Partners, and Pei Cobb Freed. He is a TED Senior Fellow and has been awarded fellowships with Moshe Safdie and Martin Society for Sustainability, MIT. He was chosen by Wired magazine for “The Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To”. Rolling Stone magazine honored Mitchell in “The 100 People Who Are Changing America”. Mitchell won many awards including; AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, Victor Papanek Social Design Award, Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability and Humanity, History Channel Infiniti Award for City of the Future, and Time Magazine Best Invention with MIT Smart Cities Car.

Jack Zipes is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his scholarly work, he is an active storyteller in public schools and has worked with children’s theaters in Europe and the United States. Some of his major publications include Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales (1979), Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion (rev. ed. 2006). In 2013 he received a Leverhulme Fellowship from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (UK) and will be developing projects pertaining to children’s literature and folklore. In the fall of 2013 he will be publishing a new anthology, The Golden Age of Folk and Fairy Tales: From the Brothers Grimm to Andrew Lang. Image Source: Harry Clarke

Panel of Judges:

NIGEL COATES Principal, Nigel Coates Studio

FRANCESCO LIPARI Director, Cityvision

Born in 1949, and trained at University of Nottingham and the Architectural Association. Coates is one of Britain’s consistently original thinkers in architecture, interior and product design. His subversive spirit first came to public attention in 1984 with the publication of NATO (Narrative Architecture Today) magazine. A manifesto for a socio-culturally engaged and popular, narrative architecture, it advised readers to be the architects of their own lives, and in doing so, to radically adapt the buildings around them. Certain themes, in particular that of narrative, have continued in Coates’ designs and research ever since. Beyond issues of function or style, narrative, he asserts, is a language of design that builds on people’s everyday experience. Form must follow fiction.

Francesco Lipari is a sicilian architect based in Rome. Recipient of several prizes for young architects, Francesco has been a lecturer at the MAXXI and MACRO museums and the curator of several architecture exhibitions. He is the founding principal of OFL Architecture, an interdisciplinary architectural practice focused on emergent design processes through a design methodology that integrates architecture with other disciplines. Francesco is also founding partner with Vanessa Todaro of Cityvision, an innovative organization and architecture platform with the aim of generating a dialogue between the contemporary city and its future image. Francesco’s work has been internationally exhibited and published. Image Source: Kay Nielsen

Methods of Evaluation:

The entries will be judged on the following criteria: NARRATIVE: The originality, creativity, and the innovative character of each proposal’s narrative will be taken into account by the jury. The narrative should present a unique architectural fairy tale in the most ambitious way possible. The narrative will be derived equally from both the graphic and text based portions of the submission. A successful combination of graphics and text to form a complete, unique narrative will be at the forefront of considerations.

CONCEPT: The hypothesis proposed by each entry shall be judged on the grounds of its critical and concrete ideals. Entrants are invited to completely define the context and the narrative that their conceptual proposal is situated within. VISION: The jury will review the coherence of the proposal in regards to its formal composition, synthesis, and design sensibility. Architectural innovations, such as new programmatic types, arrangements, and situations, will be highly valued.

Image Source: Nadezhda Illarionova


1ST PLACE: 1,250 USD + Publication in Blank Space magazine + Publication by Media Partners 2ND PLACE: 600 USD + Publication in Blank Space magazine + Publication by Media Partners 3RD PLACE: 400 USD + Publication in Blank Space magazine + Publication by Media Partners HONORABLE MENTIONS: The jury will select up to 10 honorable mentions. PARTNERS COVERAGE: We have media partnerships with some of the most influential design and architecture

websites in the world, including: DesignMilk, Europaconcorsi, Cityvision, KNSTRCT, Archilovers, Archiportale, e-architect, ArchiNinja, Arcoweb, Arquimaster, Metalocus, and ArchStudent. Our partners will cover the competition throughout its life cycle: from the initial launch to the final announcement. The winning designs will be published through these channels and more. BLANK SPACE MAGAZINE: The life of the submissions doesn’t stop at the conclusion of the competition. Subsequent to the competition, Blank Space is launching the inaugural issue of Blank Space Magazine. Select entries will be included in the magazine, as well as featured prominently on the Blank Space website.

Image Source: Kay Nielsen


LAUNCHING DATE: September 9, 2013

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 17, 2014 by 23:59

EARLY REGISTRATION: Until December 6 by 23:59


LATE REGISTRATION: Until the Deadline

Note: All the dates and time listed are EST, which is GMT-5 hours

DEADLINE FOR QUESTIONS: Until January 10, 2014 by 23:59

Image Source: Virginia Frances Sterrett

Rules & Regulations:

To take part in this competition, all applicants must accept the rules. Any infringement of the rules will be subject to evaluation by the jury.

4. Ineligible entrants include any staff or directives of Blank Space, any jury members and direct employees or relatives.

This is an anonymous competition and the Registration Number is the only means of identification. The info files containing personal information are confidential and will not be revealed to the Panel until the final winners have been selected.

5. Applicants who try to contact members of the jury will be disqualified.

1. The enrollment fee is not tax deductible. 2. The enrollment fee is not returnable and non transferable. 3. The official language of the competition is English.

6. All submissions must strictly respect anonymity and not contain any names, symbols, logos or any other types of signs permitting the jury to recognize the identity of the entrant. 7. Blank Space reserves the right to modify the competition schedule if deemed necessary. 8. Blank Space and its partners have the right to publish without prior consent all materials submitted to this competition.

continued on next page... Image Source: Virginia Frances Sterrett

Rules & Regulations:

9. Any work submitted for the competition must be the entrant’s original work. It is the entrant’s sole responsibility to ensure that the work submitted does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any third party, including, but not limited to copyright, trademark and design right. 10. Submissions shall not be published or made public until after the final submission date. 11. The jury might declare the competition deserted and reject any and all proposals received in response to this competition. If jury declares competition deserted, registration fees will be refunded.

12. The decision of the jury shall be final and binding on all parties, and no disputes shall be entertained. 13. By entering the competition, any and all entrants, agree in full to these Rules and Brief. 14. Award winners are responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use. 15. Rules and regulations are subject to change without notice.

Image Source: Arthur Rackham

Rights & Property:

ELIGIBILITY: This is an international competition open to all architects, designers, students and members of the public either individually or as a team. There is no age limit; the projects may be carried out individually or in groups, with no restriction on the number of members of the team. Each team project must be accompanied by a primary contact. Individuals may submit entries as individuals and/or as part of a team. Individuals or teams may submit multiple projects, but it is mandatory that each entry be registered separately, with separate ID numbers.

and further warrants that the artwork does not contain information considered by Competitor’s place of business, university, college or any other third party to be confidential. By submitting an entry by a group of creators, the Competitors warrant that they jointly designed, created, and own the visual artwork or have permission to use copyrighted components, and further warrant that the artwork does not contain information considered by Competitors’ place of business, university, college or any other third party to be confidential.

DISCLAIMER: COPYRIGHT: Blank Space reserves the right to refuse any By submitting an entry by a sole creator, entry. The organizers are not liable for lost or Competitor warrants that Competitor is the sole misdirected, late or substantially incomplete designer, creator, and owner of the artwork, entries, as well as any entries containing including all visual and textual components, or text/images that identify the Competitors has permission to use copyrighted components, to jurors. The decisions and opinions of Image Source: Arthur Rackham

Rights & Property cont.:

the jurors represent their professional viewpoints, not the opinion of the organizers. All prizes will be awarded at the discretion of the organizers and all decisions are final.

Space competition. Blank Space shall have the right to release any of the submitted materials to the media for public relations and will credit the Competitors responsible for authoring the work.

All materials for this competition must be submitted in digital format, printed hard copies of entries will not be accepted. Competitors retain standard ownership of their intellectual property. It should be emphasized that this competition is purely conceptual, and the selection of finalists or prize winners in no way indicates intent of the property owners to implement the proposed schemes. Upon registering for this competition, all Competitors agree to waive any and all claims against Blank Space and its affiliates as a result of the competition. Also, by registering, the Competitors transfer unlimited use for publication, exhibition and electronic posting of all entries to the Blank

All images must either be created by Competitor or Competitors or sufficiently cited. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. This competition, headed by Blank Space, has no intention to award or grant any building contracts for the designs submitted in this competition. Announcements and Publication: Competitors may not release any images of their submissions until after the results are formally announced by Blank Space and its partners. This includes all professional publications and media outlets, including blogs and social media. Winners may be notified in advance of the official announcement date. Winners may Image Source: Artus Scheiner

Rights & Property cont.:

not make an announcement about winning in advance of the official announcement date without permission from Blank Space. In Closing: This competition is subject to the terms of this program. The program of the competition is the definitive declaration of the terms and conditions of this competition. The conditions are binding for the Organizer and the panel of judges. By presenting a design, the participant declares that he / she is aware of and accepts the terms and conditions of the competition.

Image Source: Kay Nielsen


Blank Space:

ABOUT: Blank Space is a new online platform for architecture founded in New York City. We believe architecture can be more interesting, more fun and more social. Communication is omnipresent, and good communication helps great ideas change the world. We like to think of Blank Space as the place where ideas are built.


Early on we recognized a split between architecture and the rest of the world by observing how architects only talk to each other, and we set out to change that. Every endeavor that we initiate takes fun very seriously and strives to be audacious enough to ignite imaginations. Through competitions, publications, and projects, we uncover the true power of architecture by creating new opportunities for design to engage the public. Image Source: Artus Scheiner

Image Source: Arthur Rackham

Bases Concurso de Narrativa en Arquitectura "Fairy Tales"