Canadian Architect


2009 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition challenges designers to fix our energy addiction

November 30, 2008
by Canadian Architect

Metropolis magazine challenges young designers to apply their innovative talents to our energy addiction and rethink the broken models that represented 20th-century life and work. The Metropolis Next Generation® Design Competition, which has been promoting activism, social involvement, and entrepreneurship in design since 2003, is supported this year by sponsors ASSA ABLOY, Herman Miller, Inc., and Sherwin-Williams.

This prestigious award program supports and showcases young designers’ outstanding innovations and this year. Metropolis is taking its cues from the headlines. Rising energy costs is the focus of the worldwide competition, which is open to all designers in practice for 10 years or less, as well as to students. The magazine seeks entries at all scales of design – urban, landscape, building, interior, object, communication – and for every aspect of the man-made environment.

As evidence builds on the economic consequences of a fossil-fuels monoculture and the destruction of our environment, Metropolis encourages the design community to incorporate this information into its design solutions. The magazine asks designers to challenge our current patterns of living and working, and come up with ways to reconnect these daily human functions while minimizing fossil-fuel usage.

“We hope to see intelligent and beautiful ideas, at all scales, that bring out the humanist tendencies of young designers everywhere,” notes editor in chief Susan S. Szenasy. “This socially and environmentally conscious generation is looking for ways to connect with the large issues of our time, and Next Generation® offers them that opportunity. We know that designers are great at fixing things, that they’re masters of creating elegant, sustainable, and humane solutions to real problems.”

Publisher Horace Havemeyer adds, “Because Next Generation® encourages rigorous research, analysis, and the willingness to stay the course with a design idea, to develop the idea to its fullest realization, our competition is designed to provide the solutions society is looking for, at all levels. In this, the competition’s sixth year, we know that this program attracts some of our most inventive young minds. As we continue to face our growing energy problems, we need their ideas more than ever.”

The Metropolis Next Generation® prize is a $10,000 award to one winner (an individual or team). Both the winner and up to 15 runners-up receive invaluable publicity, which has helped many projects leap from the computer to implementation and production.

In past years, those who have been recognized have embodied the core values of good design and what forward thinking can accomplish. The breadth of proposals has been stunning: building projects, urban-planning and community-building schemes, responsive interior environments, population pressure issues, new materials, ergonomics, product design, social and housing solutions, environmental management, water disinfection and transport, waste disposal in crisis situations, and so on. For this reason, in April 2008, Metropolis produced a 25-minute documentary titled Brilliant Simplicity, that includes 15 young designers who entered their projects into the competition and who have paved the way in innovation and research in design.

An inspiring group of design professionals will judge this year’s competition, including Carlton Brown, COO, Full Spectrum NY; Valerie Fletcher, executive director, Institute for Human Centered Design; Eileen Jones, AIGA, LEED AP, principal, Perkins+Will; Alexandros E. Washburn, AIA, chief urban designer, NYC Department of City Planning; and Philip White, principal, Orb Analysis for Design. Susan S. Szenasy will facilitate the jury.

The 2009 winner and runners-up will be honoured at a gala presentation next spring. The deadline for entries is January 30, 2009.

Visit for entry details, and watch for ongoing updates from Metropolis magazine on this important competition.

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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