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The second place laureates of Velux Award 2013. Korean project “The Mongolian dandelion seed, impregnated with light”

Four architectural student competitions! 0

Karīna Jēkabsone

Architectural competitions have long been a great way for potential clients to create for themselves the privileged situation of having a wide array to choose from. It is also advantageous to the architects; in a recent interview, architect Andris Kronbergs said: “Even if it is hard and quite expensive, you have to participate in them – there is no better way for architects to sharpen their minds and train their creativity.” The sharpening of minds is no longer just a prerogative of degree-holding professional architects, which is why selected several architectural competitions that would be exciting for architecture students to enter.

It should be mentioned that this will be an especially opportune year for both students and professional architects to gain inspiration and knowledge right here in the Baltics: already in May, a whole series of events are planned around the presentation of the Architecture Award of the Year in Riga; the first ever Kaunas Architecture Festival will be held from 1 September to 30 October; and from 4-8 September, everyone should head to the Tallinn Architecture Biennial, which will already be taking place for the second time.

Vision Competition: Recycling Socialism
Tallinn Architectural Biennale 2013
Projects accepted through 30 April, 2013

The organizers of the “Recycling Socialism” competition welcome architects, landscape architects, city planners and students of architecture from all over the world. The project assignment is to create a feasible vision of the future for the distinctive apartment-block neighborhood of Väike-Õismäe (Small Hill of Flowers), in Tallinn. It differs from other residential neighborhoods in Tallinn with its circular layout, and at the center of which is a pond. The complex was completed in the 1980s and won a soviet-wide award for architecture. Nevertheless, the circular plan, which referenced the Renaissance-era model of a an ideal city, can also be seen as a hindering factor. It creates the impression of a functional whole, but like many apartment block neighborhoods of the modernism period, the daily activities that go on there have little connection to the surrounding environment. Participants are asked to find and highlight the local characteristics of the urban neighborhood, develop and describe a method of "recycling" the Väike-Õismäe  area, and provide a proposal of how to create a functional environment in terms of the buildings' architecture and overall layout. The aim of the competition is to discover overlooked values ​​and solutions that could open up new avenues for development to this residential block, as well as to create a pleasant living environment.

There is no entrance fee for the competition, and pre-registration is not necessary. The judging panel will include the well-known Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels; the head architect for the city of Tallinn, Endrik Mänd; and the Estonian architect, Inga Raukas. The first three places will be awarded prizes of 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000 EUR, respectively; certificates of honorable recognition will be given out to the next five runners-up.

The competition is a part of the Tallinn Architectural Biennale, which was first held in 2011, and which will take place again this year from 4-8 September.

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Innovative Minds 2013: Virtual Context
Organized by the website,
Applications accepted through 15 May, 2013

Due to the fact that information exchange these days takes place directly through the internet, cellular/mobile connections and other digital mediums, the way that we interact with the physical world has also changed. The organizers of this competition have posed an open question: how do these two worlds interact, and how does this relationship influence physical architecture and its context? One objective of this contest is to find the point where architectural design, the virtual world and the specific environment (as chosen by the entrant) all converge; the other is to study the influence that the virtual world has had on physical architecture, and how this affects consumers.

Entrees must be turned in digitally – both the visual and textual aspects. Winning projects from previous years show impressive visions that have roots in the virtual world. The best project will receive US$1,000 and will be published on the organizer's website,

There is a submission fee, ten percent of which will be donated to the funding of open-source computer programs; the organizers strongly suggest using these sorts of programs to prepare the projects intended for submission.

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Kit of parts / the subversive cottage [1:1]
European Student Competition on Sustainable Architecture
Must register by 15 October; projects accepted through 31 October, 2013

Organized by the Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine museum in Paris, and in cooperation with leading European universities, this international competition on sustainable architecture will take place for the fourth time. Introductory lectures, seminars, creative workshops and summer schools are also held during the length of the competition. This year's theme is “Subversive Cottage”. The aim of the competition is to bring students' attention to how important sustainable development is to architecture, as well to encourage students to experiment by bringing to life their vision of such an environment. As the themes from previous years indicate (2008 – “Minimal Rec House”; 2010 – “Attic in the City”; 2012 – “Market Hall”), the program for the competition has roots in daily life. This year, students have been asked to find easy and economical solutions which will enable people to build “an extra room”. Working with a real location (a residential area or building), students will work with residents in order to identify their needs and come up with simple and non-bureaucratic
solutions based on an easy-to-build addition that comes in a ready-to-assemble kit. The space can be for either public or private use – a room for a family member, a garage, or a seasonal neighborhood boutique. The process should include everything from conception to construction of the kit. Examples are sheds, pavilions, and extensions, but they must surprise with their humanity and their design, and must embody liberty, simplicity and feasibility. The project should propose a light and rational construction solution – a demountable, re-mountable and transportable structure, either freely designed or adapted from an industrial, prefabricated “garden cottage” type of product.The project should respect the ecological, social, cultural and economic criteria of sustainability.

The organizers allow for the projects to be designed within the framework of the students' studies at University. The winning teams will be invited to two one-week workshops in Paris, where the respective projects will be actualized. There is an entrance fee. The best projects will be exhibited at the Venice Architectural Biennale in 2014, and will then be part of a traveling exhibition that will tour Europe.

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International Velux Award (IVA) 2014
A competition for architecture students, organized by the Velux company
Registration starts October 2013; winners to be announced in 2014

Every other year, the Danish window/skylight company, Velux, holds a special competition for students of architecture. Participants are encouraged to explore the theme of sunlight and daylight – in its broadest sense – and to bring to the forefront the importance of daylight in construction projects. The Award seeks to widen the boundaries of daylight in architecture, including aesthetics, functionality, sustainability, and the interaction between buildings and environment. Students are expected to have a new, open-minded and experimental approach towards the main criterion of quality living – natural daylight.

The competition is decidedly international, and the students who participate usually come from at least 50 different countries, with a total of more than 500 submitted projects. The gross budget for prizes is 30,000 EUR, with the winning project receiving at least 8,000 EUR per student, and 2,000 EUR for the instructor who worked with them.

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