Young Architects Forum's 2011 Ideas Competition Results

Courtesy WDG Architecture

The American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Young Architects Forum (YAF) and Committee on Design (COD) have selected the recipients of the second annual YAF/COD Ideas Competition, sponsored by TOTO. Results in addition to images of the awarded projects with brief narratives from the designers can be found after the break.

Submitting teams were asked to explore the principles of Universal Design as well as their overlap with the values of social and environmental sustainability. The competition site is the same site proposed for the Olympic Village in the official Tokyo 2016 bid documents, 31 hectares of municipally owned land along Tokyo Bay, within the Ariake-Kita District. Historically, the Olympic Village has served first the Olympic and then the Paralympic athletes in sequentially staged games. Designers were asked to build upon the efforts of the past decade by proposing a vision for Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games that is guided not only by socially and environmentally-sustainable principles, but also by the principles of Universal Design. Successful designs would propose identical configurations for the Olympic and Paralympic athlete residences, with no modifications required as the Village transitions from Olympic to Paralympic mode.

Courtesy WDG Architecture

The jury for the 2011 YAF/COD Ideas Competition included: Michael Graves, FAIA, Michael Graves and Associates; Hansy L. Better Barraza AIA, LEED AP, Studio Luz Architects; Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, US Access Board; and Walter J. Hood Jr., ASLA, Hood Design.

Via Aequalitas (1st Place) – WDG Architecture

Courtesy WDG Architecture
Courtesy WDG Architecture

Buildings break from an orthogonal grid, creating dynamic interstitial spaces of varying scale and character. On the east side of the site these pockets become parks, engaging the water and providing green space for the city, while west side pockets are more urban in nature, allowing the existing urban fabric to infiltrate the site. The location of the site at the edge of the urban context eliminates the need for thru streets, which limits vehicular traffic on the site by bringing cars directly into structured parking or loading areas. This encourages experiences at the human scale and allows for more refined control of movement, scale, and experience.

Instead of viewing the building envelope as a barrier between indoor and outdoor space, this proposal investigated ways to interweave the two. This resulted in a system of pedestrian streets located between buildings that link the ground plane to the elevated ground plane. These “Vias” are lined with retail and community functions, providing equity of access to residents and creating a more granular sense of neighborhood. Landscape and hardscape plazas run down the middle of each via providing moments of rest along the gradient.

Urban Village (Honorable Mention) – KGD Architecture

Courtesy KGD Architecture
Courtesy KGD Architecture

The concept of the Urban Village is an exercise in modulating density and scale of larger urban networks to better suit the pedestrian scale. This urban network is composed of numerous garden hubs–or hamlets. At the heart of each hamlet is the core garden. This public space acts as physical and social focal point of surrounding program and circulation. With careful use of plan composition, density modulation, and orientation of these hamlets, an intriguing network of meandering paths and urban spaces is created.

Layered over this sub-texture of intimate pathways is a pedestrian boulevard that blends and joins the individual hamlets, larger parks, and waterfront into the overall composition of the Village. This boulevard is generous enough to accommodate small urban gatherings, peak event usage, and small electric taxis for those with special needs. In conjunction with these pedestrian networks a new vehicular service corridor will be located along the South edge of the site. Off of this service axis will be smaller North/South service streets that will partially penetrate into the Village to provide necessary supplies, off-site transportation, and various services to the Village hamlets. All of which existing on one singular universal plane of sustainable occupation and circulation for maximum accessibility and interaction between all athletes, employees, and visitors

Warp & Weft: Constructing Tokyo’s Olympic Selvedge (Honorable Mention) – Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Courtesy Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
Courtesy Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

The major threads to be woven within the site are hydrology; pedestrian, transit and service right of ways; landscape; and architecture. These threads can compress into one another or bypass each other at different scales and elevations. As these infrastructures are intertwined as warp and weft, they create a new selvedge for Tokyo’s waterfront.

Weaving, by supporting an array of human capabilities through topographic order and the aforementioned three core principles, also supports social and ecological sustainability. The site and its architecture become useful for an unlimited array of users, and the way that they evolve as humans over time. The site and its architecture enable equity of access and integration – the power of meeting eye-to-eye. Users sense water and ground despite ability, which tangibly transmits socio-environmental awareness.

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Cite: Hank Jarz. "Young Architects Forum's 2011 Ideas Competition Results" 30 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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