Architecture and Utopia: Henning Larsen Foundation 2020/21 Competition

Architecture and Utopia: Henning Larsen Foundation 2020/21 Competition

The Henning Larsen Foundation is proud to announce the latest edition of its competition series this year an open international competition on the theme of Utopia in architecture. Previous competition editions have explored photography and architecture (2007), drawing and architecture (2008), writing and architecture (2012), architecture and film (2015), and architecture and music (2017.)

The aim of the competition is to request ideas and images that can revitalize the utopia of architecture.

The background of the competition is Henning Larsen's work as a curious architect. He explored new untried paths in architecture and sought inspiration far and wide. It could be in anonymous design and architecture, in structures of the past, and in the latest advances in science, as described in the attached text by architect Troels Troelsen, longtime collaborator at the design studio and chairman of the foundation.

Architecture and Utopia:
Henning Larsen was a curious architect. He was eager and ambitious, though not always explicit in what he striving for. He probably did not know. Had he known, the attraction and magic would have been missed. The exciting thing about working in his design studio was precisely this openness to the unknown. Henning let things unfold in their own way, and was willing to pursue skewed paths to keep the process open. To him, architecture was a magic seed whose secrets were to be unraveled. Even when we achieved something unique, he desired other possibilities. Henning's curiosity was reflected in his numerous initiatives, such as the SKALA Gallery and SKALA Magazine and, most recently, in the annual Henning Larsen's Foundation prize.

It was as if Henning was dreaming of a Utopia.

The escalating progress of our time, more than ever, challenges our understanding of the world. On one hand, advances of science promise overwhelming possibilities that could inspire adventurous utopias with unexpected perspectives. On the other, automated design through algorithms and artificial intelligence (combined with the challenges and trend towards home workplaces and virtual collaboration) curbs both our professional presence and our universal vision. At the same time, acquisitions and unifications between architectural firms, contractors, and engineering firms are on the rise. Here, recent demands tend to require documentation of all the technical, scientific, sociological and environmental aspects of architecture - as if we were aiming for an architecture of spreadsheets. How do we today maintain Architecture as an art not flooded with economic thinking, but developed through new ideas and experiments?

The aim of this competition is to revitalize the notion of “Utopia” in architecture. Modernism was, in some ways utopic, born from and driven by visions for a future not yet possible. It was also a future that mostly turned out differently, with countless new and overwhelming potentials both promising and frightening. One can miss the magnificent, utopian reveries of the 18th century and the modernist visions of early Soviet architecture. They held dreams of adventurous futures, things that could not yet and might never take place. Things that would change our lives and our worldview.

This competition calls for architectural, utopian visions. Ideas that, with artistic and poetic power, can inspire a new dimension and a new quality in architecture are sought.

Troels Troelsen

Submission Instructions:
The task: Describe in sketches and few words a Utopia, a dream or mood with descents in spatial, architectural particulars.

Contributions are to be made in drawing / photo or any pictorial technique including short illuminating texts in either Danish or English (submissions in other languages will not be considered.) Analyses and theses are not asked for.

Entries must be submitted anonymously as a JPG or PDF sheets, max. 4 landscape-format A3 pages or 1 landscape-format A1 poster. Texts included in the sheets are limited to 1500 characters in total. File size is limited to 10mb.
Note: Previously published material will be rejected. Entries from relatives or partners to any of the jurors will not be accepted.

Entries can be uploaded from February 11 2021 until 9th of April 2021 23:59 CET (see details below.) Winner(s) will be published on 20 August 2021. The proposals will be subsequently exhibited at the Danish Architecture Center in BLOX- in Copenhagen.

How to submit:
Go to:

Input Username: utopien
Password: compPASS2021

You will be directed to an upload site with a series of buttons along the top. Click the upward facing arrow in the center of the dashboard to enter your submission (please follow the submission requirements as outlined above.) Drag your item or upload it manually using the dialog box.

Note: your file will not appear in the server once you upload! This is normal.
If you are concerned about your submission, you can email for confirmation of successful submission. Please include ‘Confirmation’ in the subject heading and include your name, the file name of your submission, and the (rough) time of submission and we will get back to you.

Judging + Selection:
During the judging, a name sheet with name, address, e-mail and telephone number) of the author (s) shall be attached to the proposal in a folder with a randomised six-digit number. The anonymization process will be handled by the competition secretary and will be inaccessible to the jury during the judging process.

The jury is comprised of Henrik Oxvig (cand mag. et mag. Art), Jytte Rex (artist), Kathrin Susanna Gimmel (architect), Ben Clement and Sebastian de la Cour (benandsebastian artists) and Troels Troelsen (architect).

The prize money of 14,000 Euros will be awarded to the best proposal or proposals, distributed at the discretion of the evaluation committee.

The Foundation reserves the right to display the proposals on the website one year after publication.

  • Title

    Architecture and Utopia: Henning Larsen Foundation 2020/21 Competition
  • Type

    Competition Announcement (Ideas)
  • Organizers

  • Submission Deadline

    April 09, 2021 11:59 PM
  • Price


This competition was submitted by an ArchDaily user. If you'd like to submit a competition, call for submissions or other architectural 'opportunity' please use our "Submit a Competition" form. The views expressed in announcements submitted by ArchDaily users do not necessarily reflect the views of ArchDaily.

Cite: "Architecture and Utopia: Henning Larsen Foundation 2020/21 Competition " 22 Feb 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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