Combo Competitions: Emphasis On The Idea

Courtesy of Combo

Combo Competitions, an organisation founded by Swedish, London based architect Per Linde, organises international idea competitions for architects, designers and students. With a gentle emphasis on the ideas presented in proposals, rather than aesthetics alone, their main driver is to promote design concepts ”where everything comes together to form a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts.”

With the increasing ease in producing “amazing renderings and images,” underling concepts can often be lost – or hidden by – a seductive final image. seeks to reverse this trend by rewarding an emphasis on “well advised concepts” alongside appearance and presentation. Their latest competition, entitled Hello Nature, invites participants to explore a way of re-introducing nature into people’s consciousness.

Find out more about the competition and hear from Per Linde after the break…

KAMJZ Reveals Proposal for Shenzhen Bay Super City Masterplan

Courtesy of KAMJZ Architects

Already one of the most remarkable examples of China’s urban growth in the last 30 years, Shenzhen will soon also host a bustling new financial district. The Shenzhen Bay Super City Masterplan aims to create a new city center with top headquarter offices for global corporations and related venues for international conferences, exhibitions, and cultural programs. KAMJZ Architects has recently revealed their competition entry with a plan that proposes a more sustainable city center through the design of a radical new typology for office towers. Read on after the break to learn more about the proposed masterplan.

Competition Challenges Architects and Students to Design Zero Net Energy Housing in California

Citation Award: NZ + Beyond Net Zero Energy / Drew Adams, Joseph Yau and Mark Alocilja. Image Courtesy of

Architecture at Zero, now in its fourth year, is challenging all , architects and designers worldwide to envision two mixed-use, zero net energy (ZNE) housing proposals for adjacent parcel sites in Oakland, California. The competition is a response to the ZNE targets set out by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) which aims for all new residential construction in the state to be ZNE by 2020. Entrants are eligible for winning up to $25,000. Early bird registration ends September 12. All projects must be submitted by October 31 at 1PM PST. Learn more on the competition website and review last year’s winners.

4 Visions Released for D.C.’s First Elevated Park

© OLIN /

OMA, Höweler + Yoon, NEXT Architects, and Cooper, Robertson & Partners are amongst four interdisciplinary teams competing to design ’s first elevated public park. As part of a six month nationwide competition, the shortlisted teams have just released their preliminary design proposals for what will be known as the 11th Street Bridge Park.

Suspended over the Anacostia River, the multi-use park aims to re-connect two disparate city districts and re-engage residents with the riverfront by offering a 21st century civic “playscape.” Education and performance spaces, as well as a cafe and water sport areas will all be included in the masterplan.

A preview of the four shortlisted schemes, after the break…

‘Olympicopolis’ Design Contest Officially Open

The Olympicopolis site is to the South-East of the Olympic Park, near to Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre. Image © Flickr CC User Leo Reynolds

The competition to design a cultural complex at London‘s new ‘Olympicopolis’ site formally opened today, seeking to attract “an exceptional team” of architects, masterplanners, engineers and landscape designers to transform the site next to ’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Organizers Malcolm Reading Associates say that the competition has already registered over 960 expressions of interest from firms worldwide before the details were even announced, thanks to their early announcement seeking interested parties in July.

The complex will house outposts for the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, Sadler’s Wells and University of the Arts London. The designs for the complex will also respond to proposals for a new campus for University College London which is planned for an adjacent site, making it “one of the most exciting international developments in arts and culture,” according to Director of the V&A Martin Roth.

Read on after the break for more details of the competition

Artists Seek Alternatives to Proposed Guggenheim Helsinki

South Harbor. Image © City of

As the first phase of the Guggenheim Helsinki design competition concludes, a group of independent arts organizations have launched a search for “alternative” proposals: The Next Helsinki. The counter-competition calls on architects, urbanists, landscape architects, artists, and “all others who love cities to suggest ways in which Helsinki and its South Harbor can be transformed for the maximum benefit of the city.” More information, after the break.

Final Design Concepts Unveiled for Arizona’s Mesa City Center

Design by Colwell Shelor + + Weddle Gilmore. Aerial Context Future Growth. Image Courtesy of

The final design concepts for the redesign of Arizona’s Mesa City Center have been unveiled by the competition’s three finalist design teams: Colwell Shelor + West 8 + Weddle Gilmore; Woods Bagot + Surface Design; and Otak + Mayer Reed.

The Mesa City Center redesign project aims to develop an 18 acre site in the city’s downtown and enhance the urbanization of the area. When complete, the city center will be transformed into a public space with both programmed and passive space that can be used for informal gatherings as well as events. “The signature public space will be a key element in the activation of the downtown core and will be a catalyst for high intensity redevelopment surrounding City Center with a variety of uses that activate the public space,” the competition website states.

Read on after the break for descriptions and images from the architects of their design proposals…

London Science Museum Selects Muf Architecture/Art to Design Interactive Gallery

Courtesy of Flickr CC User Science Museum

London’s Science Museum has selected muf architecture/art to design a new permanent interactive gallery. Set to open in 2016, the new gallery will be an expansion of the current Launchpad children’s gallery, creating a larger area to engage visitors in interactive math and science exhibits and live events.

impressed us with their collaborative approach, strong design and bold vision for the new gallery. Above all, their scheme shows a keen awareness of the prime purpose of the gallery – fostering exploration and curiosity in science through intelligent and exciting design,” Karen Livingstone, Director of Masterplan at the Science Museum said.

Broadway Malyan Designs New Urban District in Chengdu

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Broadway Malyan has been awarded a commission to design the initial phase of a new, iconic urban district in Chengdu in Western China. The  Creative Centre will be the first landmark in a larger master plan for a high-tech mixed use and business park, set to be called Tianfu New Town.

Committed to setting a high standard of environmentally conscious and sustainable design for the region, Chengdu Creative Centre and the future Tianfu New Town district aim to cut current energy consumption standards in half. The entire complex will be composed of interconnected office, retail, and public green space anchored by a striking central retail tower, 110 meters tall.

Rome Invites Ideas For Reuse of Europe’s Biggest Landfill Site

A major competition for reuse has just been announced for the Malagrotta Landfill, one of the European Union’s biggest landfill sites. After Malagrotta was closed in August 2013 due to its controversial size and negative impact on the surrounding community, the Municipality of Rome began a process of redevelopment through community engagement. Multi-displinary teams are tasked with a creating a proposal to reinvent the sprawling 240-hectare property while considering its original purpose. The competition is designed to begin a conversation on the long-term vision for the property.

Self Build Association and Grand Designs Live Launches Open Ideas Competition

Courtesy of National Custom and Self Build Association

Is it possible to build low cost homes in the city that are both sustainable and easy on the eyes? Self Build on a Shoestring in the City, organized by the National Custom & Self Build Association and Grand Designs Live, is an ideas competition in its second year that seeks to answer this question by showcasing innovative designs for a group self build project in an urban location. More details after the break.

Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition 2014

Courtesy of KRob Memorial Delineation Competition

The 40th Annual Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition, the longest running architectural drawing competition, is now accepting submissions. Entries can be conceptual or final elevations, sections, perspectives, or renderings and may be produced digitally or by hand – or a combination of both.

Frank Ching, the acclaimed author and illustrator responsible for teaching countless about basic architectural elements, principles, and relationships, is one of the three jurors this year. The jury panel will be attending the awards presentation and lecture, which will take place on Thursday, November 20th in Dallas. This event will be hosted by the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who have been organizing the competition since 1974.

The competition is open to both students and professionals and there are $11,000 in prizes to be won. Entries are due Monday, October 27, 2014 at 5pm CST. For more details, click here.

St. Petersburg Calls for New Pier Design Submissions

St Petersburg’s pier as it is today. Image © Flickr CC User Robert Neff

The city of St. Petersburg, Florida is once more seeking candidates for the design of its new pier. The call comes two years after a pier design by Michael Maltzan Architecture was selected over rival schemes by BIG and West 8, but was eventually turned down after significant public criticism. To avoid a repeat of that incident, the current selection process for candidates and their subsequent proposals will incorporate more community input.

More on the competition after the break

London Science Museum Selects Wilkinson Eyre to Design Medical Galleries

© Wilkinson Eyre

’s Science Museum has announced Wilkinson Eyre as the winner of its competition to design new medical galleries. Winning the project over a shortlist of six other architects – including Caruso St John, Amanda Levete Architects and Haworth Tompkins - Wilkinson Eyre’s £24 million galleries will occupy 3,000 square metres on the museum’s first floor, almost doubling the size of the museum’s existing galleries.

More on the Science Museum’s transformation after the break

Inaugural Global Schindler Award Registration Now Open: Mobility in Shenzhen

Courtesy of Global Schindler Award

The Global Schindler Award is a new competition for that will explore questions about universal mobility and access amidst rapid globalization and urbanization. In its inaugural year, a real site in Shenzhen – a booming commercial and industrial area adjacent to Hong Kong – has been chosen as the subject of the urban design proposals. Entrants are being asked to re-imagine the city as an inclusive urban environment and will be vying for portions of the $150,000 prize fund.

Students may compete as individuals or in teams, but must work under the supervision of a faculty member. Registration is open until November 15, 2014 and entries are due on January 31, 2015. The winners, which will be chosen by an esteemed panel of interdisciplinary jury members including landscape architect Kongjian Yu of Turenscape and architect Farshid Moussavi, will be announced in early 2015.

For more information, click here.

Does Australia Need More Design Competitions?

© Flickr – User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

Architecture competitions offer an opportunity for architects to launch their careers, and in some cases generate unexpected designs in the process. Many iconic works of architecture, including the famous Sydney Opera House, were the result of open design competitions – but do architecture competitions today maintain the influence they might have had in the past? While critics in the have recently argued that it could be time to quit competitions, Donald Bates argues that Australians should be organizing more. In his article on The Conversation, Bates discusses the state of design competitions in Australia, and why we should take another look. Read the full article here.

Future Ground Competition Open for Registration

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What will New Orleans look like in one year? Ten years? Fifty years? The Future Ground design competition, hosted by the Van Alen Institute, is looking for multidisciplinary teams help shape the city’s future by answering these questions. The competition is specifically looking for teams to “generate flexible design and policy strategies to reuse vacant land in , transforming abandoned landscapes into resources for the city.”

Request for qualification applications are due September 29, 2014 and the three winning teams will be announced the following month. These three teams will be awarded $15,000 to participate in a six-month research and design process alongside national experts and local stakeholders. The outcome of their research will be socially, economically, and ecologically sensitive solutions that the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) can implement and other cities can replicate.

For more information, click here.

Richard Levy Gallery Hatches Architectural Birdhouse Competition

Natural Habitat 67? Fieldworks’ 2010 installation “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven” offers birds and insects a place to stay. Image © Fieldworks

Do you have design skills to crow about? Well the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque wants to hear from you – to raise money for the National Audubon Society (the US partner of Birdlife International), they’ve organized NEST, a birdhouse design competition open to architects worldwide which they hope will result in some birdhouses to coo over.

Hopeful architects have until October 15th to submit their designs. The best submissions will be displayed in the gallery for a month, before being auctioned in March 2015 to raise money for charity. Visit the competition website for more details on how to enter.