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Architectural Competition Line of Site was created to stimulate creativity, to inspire and to engage the architectural and design communities through a new approach. Now that we have completed this first year of competition, what I can say with absolute certainty is that it has succeeded in delivering a great deal more. It seemed unimaginable at the outset that we would have well over 3000 individuals and practices from 114 countries participating, but now, having enjoyed considerable correspondence and interaction with many participants, I can see the original objectives of the competition, together with the blend of unique landscape, and creative freedom, serve to create a brief that truly stimulates and challenges the imagination. It reminds us just what architects can do when given the chance.
Everyone who has taken part deserves thanks and I only wish we had more space here to do justice to their efforts. What is shown here is the story of the final â€“ a day when the twelve winning entries were presented to our judges by their creators. It was a demanding day for them and a truly inspirational one for us. The competition enjoyed the input of a particularly distinguished panel of architectural judges who were joined by the principal sponsor of Line of Site â€“ Hans-Julius Alhmann, (Chairman of ACO and Severin Alhmann Holdings GmbH). Our grateful thanks is extended to them all.
Having been involved in the development of the competition from the start, I have now run out of adjectives to describe the outstanding quality of entries that have been received.
Design and art direction: pushcreative.com 01952 250 156 PR and marketing: bridge-global.com 01295 701 726
Image by Baharash Bagherian
Peter Ridgway ACO Technologies
The Competition The three design briefs at the heart of Line of Site were set in dramatically contrasting locations – Mount Everest, the Namib Desert and the Thames Estuary. By exploiting the mapping technologies available through Google Earth, participants were able to visit each location and view in detail the surrounding landscapes, drawing on the influence of individual topography and visual statement to fire ideas and to develop first stage design.
With water resources under growing pressure, the second Line of Site brief asked for proposals for a United Nations Water Embassy in the heart of the Namib Desert.
It would act as the global hub for defining plans and strategies that would ensure the protection of the world’s water sources. Ideas for an iconic opera house within the environmentally sensitive wetland area of the Thames Estuary were invited by the final brief. The building was to define a visual landmark at the entrance to London, one of the world’s most exciting, vibrant and culturally diverse cities.
1 Peter Ridgway (Co-ordinator) ACO Technologies
4 Edward Jones Dixon Jones
7 Matthew Wells Techniker
2 Paul Hyett Ryder HKS
5 Sadie Morgan de Rijke Marsh Morgan
3 Hans-Julius Alhmann ACO Technologies
6 Neven Sidor Grimshaw
8 Ivan Harbour Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners
9 Richard Hill (Assessor) ACO Technologies
The complete Judging line-up
The challenge at Mount Everest was to conceive a climbing and research centre at its base camp, alleviating the pressures placed on the site by dozens of summit expeditions and hundreds of visitors each year.
Four entries from all the submissions to each brief were selected to go through to the final. On the day, fully developed proposals were presented to, and scrutinised by, the Line of Site judging panel.
Selection of photos showing the judges during the finalists presentations
The Finalists 1
1 Baharash Bagherian 7 Nicholas Worley United Kingdom United Kingdom
2 Alex Kaiser United Kingdom
8 Cameron Conwell Australia
3 Alex Flint United Kingdom
9 Daechung Suh USA
4 Simone Braschi Italy
10 Alastair Parvin United Kingdom
5 Francisco Garrido Argentina
11 Peter Allen United Kingdom
6 Simon McAllister United Kingdom
All our finalists’ first meeting
Rewarding their success in the selection rounds, each of the finalists had been given, before the final, a Sony VAIO Professional notebook loaded with Google SketchUp software to complete their designs and presentations.
The finalists knew that the judges were to assess each of their presentations against five key criteria:
They were also provided with Sony video cameras to help record their experiences on the run up to the event.
• Does the proposal possess original and innovative qualities.
You can access the Line of Site Finalists’ blogs via the competition website at: www.lineofsite.info
• Practicality – is the structure buildable.
In keeping with the spirit of the competition, no boundaries were imposed on what methods the finalists could use to communicate the essence, qualities and completeness of their designs. They were instructed to approach the final as if they were making a concluding presentation directly to the client who had created the original brief.
“There was considerable diversity both in the ideas and the methods used to convey them. The real success of the competition was the way it mixed the use of the web with having the finalists presenting their ideas in person.” Ivan Harbour.
• To what extent does the proposal fulfil the specification of the original brief. • Does the design follow a logical development path from the original concept.
• Was the concept clearly communicated with style, confidence, passion and originality. The finalists, including those from overseas who were flown in to London for the final, came together on the evening before at a special hosted event. The relaxed and easy atmosphere generated as the individuals got to know each other was less evident the following day as the finalists prepared to make their presentations.
Selection of photos showing the finalists at the Google offices and presenting
OVERALL WINNER The ‘EvGuage’ Everest Base Camp Proposal
Alastair Parvin WINNER OF THE OVERALL COMPETITION AND THE BEST EVEREST BRIEF Alastair Parvin receiving award and prize from Hans-Julius Alhmann (ACO), Sian Coughlan (Sony), Roberto Solimene (Google)
Judges Comments: "A powerfully symbolic structure that creates a strong and engaging narrative." "An intelligent application of thought to all the unique challenges presented by the site."
"A lyrically beautifully and complete solution that is highly practical."
The average, everyday cairn of stones - as found on any mountain or fell in the British Isles - is, in fact, a form of democracy. Each hiker who passes by on that particular route adds a stone (or at least some of them do), so the physical size of the cairn corresponds to the popularity of that route. As a result, quite a large heap of stones can be formed, but no individual stone has moved more than a few metres, and no one has put in any great deal of effort - There’s strength in numbers. All we need to do is enable this to take place using a lightweight kit of parts, transported to the site cheaply over time, and on removing that kit of parts, the site is returned to its original condition, its resources having formed the primary structure of the shelter. The twist to this process, which is the bit I’m really interested in, is that as it grows through use, the Base Camp itself becomes a visible Gauge of the extent of the tourism ‘problem’ - becoming a physical representation of a political condition – thereby encouraging in visiting climbers a sense of environmental responsibility. Thus the structure actively contributes to the debate which may ultimately lead to its own expiry.
BEST THAMES BRIEF
Francisco Garrido WINNER OF THE BEST THAMES GATEWAY BRIEF AND THE BEST USE OF GOOGLE SKETCHUP. Francisco Garrido receiving award from Roberto Solimene (Google)
Delays to one connecting flight on Francisco’s journey from Argentina forced him to stay overnight in the airport terminal in Rio de Janeiro. Eventually arriving in London on the afternoon of the final, he went straight in to make his presentation. The judges were won-over by his incisive and committed presentation. As Sadie Morgan commented, “Francisco’s passionate presentation and explanation of his scheme reflected the rigour of his second stage submission. The jury were queuing up to buy a ticket for the first performance in this explosive building.”
BEST EMBASSY BRIEF
Simone Braschi WINNER OF THE BEST EMBASSY BRIEF Simone Braschi receiving prize from Sian Coughlan (Sony), Hans-Julius Alhmann (ACO)
An open façade, monolithic structure embracing 28 separate decks; each with its own experimental roof garden. The outer skin allows free movement of air and sand through the building. Judges Comments: "A very exciting structure with huge possibilities." "It has a monastic quality that is truly inspiring."
3D For Everyoneâ€Ś Developed for the conceptual stages of design, Google SketchUp Pro is a powerful yet easy-to-learn 3D software. It combines a simple, yet robust tool-set with an intelligent drawing system that streamlines and simplifies 3D design. From simple to complex, conceptual to realistic, Google SketchUp Pro enables you to build and modify 3D models quickly and easily. If you use Google Earth, Google SketchUp Pro allows you to place your models using real-world coordinates and share them with the world using the Google 3D Warehouse. Download the free trail now at www.sketchup.com
A selection of work by Francisco Garrido. Winner of the Line of Site Thames Opera House brief, and winner of best use of Google Earth and Google SketchUp Pro software.
Finalists Gallery BEST PRESENTATION
WINNER OF BEST PRESENTATION WITH HIS EVEREST BRIEF
Cameron Conwell A triangular community of pods set out to reflect the climbing path to the summit with each corner cluster representing a separate operational function. Judges Comments: "An excellent attempt to balance the poetic with the pragmatic." "A scheme that would enhance the experience of the location."
Simon McAllister EVEREST BRIEF A prefabricated â€˜nestâ€™ of discreet egg-shaped pods housing educational, medical and management functions. Manufactured from carbon fibre with self levelling feet. Lightweight and carried to site. Judges Comments: "A strong sculptural entity with a purely functional and conventional interior." "The concepts relates to modern high-tech climbing techniques."
Nicholas Worley EVEREST BRIEF A single structure of three levels surrounded by a timber gridshell supporting a titanium mesh. The gridshell, strong in compression, attracts rime ice which builds to form a protective barrier against avalanches. Judges Comments: "A vivid spectacle for visitors when illuminated from beneath." "A conventional back/front structure that would behave differently through the annual climate cycle."
Finalists Gallery Peter Allen EMBASSY BRIEF A mobile embassy based on an airship design. Housing administrative and research facilities it would be free to move around the African continent. A scalable proposal that that is designed to operate on an domestic and industrial level. Judges Comments: "Challenges the brief by asking the question â€“ is this issue beyond an architectural response." "A gutsy proposal that has answered one polemic with another."
Daechung Suh EMBASSY BRIEF A structure inspired by the Namibian dune-scape with glass sections within the roof that mimic the reflective qualities of sand. A porous concrete five storey building that is cooled by the passage of rainwater as it moves through the building fabric. Judges Comments: "A very powerful form which is at odds with its intended purpose." "A beautiful structure."
Alex Kaiser EMBASSY BRIEF subterranean structure that uses wind to generate energy and harnesses water through a series of movable, radial fog collectors. Judges Comments: "A high-tech oasis with a vivid delicacy." "The beautiful presentation drawing help convey the poetry of the structure."
Baharash Bagherian THAMES GATEWAY BRIEF A building that celebrates the link that that the location has with the local community. The earthfilled wire matrix exterior would, over time, integrate into the aesthetics of the surrounding marshland. The network of internal walkways mimic the paths that criss-cross the shoreline. Judges Comments: "A mind-blowing interior concept that has strong associations with its location." "The construction method adds to the environmental aesthetic."
Alex Flint THAMES GATEWAY BRIEF A glass reinforced plastic façade that is manufactured in one piece and symbolically floated down the Thames into position. Ballast tanks, which are used to flip the structure into its vertical position and hold it in place. The building stands at the end of a two storey pier. Judges Comments: "An interesting proposal that should move to different locations." "A strong symbolic structure that activates the visiting experience."
Alastair Parvin THAMES GATEWAY BRIEF A raft structure that can be re-configured when the Thames tidal movement raises it twice a day. The raft buildings include restaurants, theatre seating, a radio station and bird observation centre. The outer shell acts as a bird feeding and nesting site. Judges Comments: It has an ‘edgy’ quality that reflects the ownership of the area." "A rigorous and well thought through proposal."
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS.
Survey findings Line of Site has not restricted itself to design against briefs, several surveys have taken place, covering a wide variety of subjects (mostly) to do with architecture and design. The full findings of the survey are only available to participants but here is a surprise snippet. When asked what the best car design of all time was, the Citroën DS (below) scored number 3, surprised? I think we were!
The Line of Site team would value any comments or questions relating to the competition, simply email email@example.com
THANKS TO THE LINE OF SITE TEAM.
Another finding highlighted Line of Site participants ‘most respected’ reading list. S,M,L,XL by Rem Koolhaas was the top book named. A full listing of the preferred reading can be found on the website.
L-R: Peter Ridgway, Tony Clarkson (seated), Michael White and Ed Ellis.
FROM THE OPERA HOUSE TO THE EMBASSY…
HIT THE SPOT
Having had a chance to recuperate from his unexpectedly long and disruptive journey to London (to put it mildly!), Francisco Garrido received an invitation to celebrate his success with Havier Pedrazzini, the Cultural Attaché at the Argentine Embassy in the United Kingdom.
During the break between the 06/07 and 07/08 competition we have posted a new challenge known simply as ‘the spot’. It is not comparable to the full briefs associated with the core Line of Site, rather, it is intended as a short brief where once again the imagination will strain to be let off the leash that so frequently constrains it in the workaday. The first ‘The Spot’ is to design a garden shed – to take part you will need to register on www.lineofsite.info where you will also be able to download the full shed brief and find more competition detail.
For Francisco, it appears that the Line of Site strapline: ‘An Architectural Adventure’ has certainly lived up to its promise!
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Cover images from Line of Site shortlisted entries
lineofsite.info Design and art direction: pushcreative.com 01952 250 156 PR and marketing: bridge-global.com 01295 701 726