January 23, 2011
by Canadian Architect
Metropolis, an American magazine for architecture and design professionals, announces the theme for its annual Next Generation Design Competition, in partnership with the US General Services Administration (GSA). The challenge is to take an ordinary eight-storey GSA office building in Los Angeles, apply immense skill and creative energy, and GET ZERO – Zero Environmental Impact. GSA, one of the world’s biggest landlords, is being challenged by its administrator Martha Johnson to achieve a Zero Environmental Footprint for its existing office buildings. She’s likened this challenge to the Apollo Space Project of the 1960s (the same decade when hundreds of new, modernist government buildings, like the one in downtown LA, were built). GSA’s colossal existing stock of buildings, over 9,600 of them in the US, poses an even bigger challenge: How can forward thinking-design transform backwards-looking buildings?
This competition passes this challenge directly to the design community – to the next generation of designers, in practice for 10 years or less, as well as students. This year, entrants will work on a specific existing GSA office building, an entirely commonplace eight-storey 1960s-era Los Angeles office building that is remarkable only for being typical of hundreds of other GSA mid-century modern buildings, scattered across the 50 states.
Next Generation: GET ZERO asks entrants to design “fixes” that will transform the existing building, bringing it to the highest possible level of performance in a memorable, beautiful, and original way. Entrants may be teams working together to transform the entire building (and its surroundings), or individuals or small groups tackling one or two individual systems and elements (façade, roof, fenestration, interior furnishings and equipment, signage and wayfinding, among many other details). The entries must also focus on making the building safe, accessible, and efficient for the people who work there and the thousands of citizens who visit it. Every design specialist – at every scale of design – has something important to contribute.
Most of all, the winning entries will present design ideas that could be applied to similar buildings that exist by the hundreds across the country and around the world. The winning entry – and no doubt many other entries – could provide innovative ideas to the GSA on how to transform its mid-century portfolio into high-performing sustainable buildings.
The winner of Next Generation 2011 receives a $10,000 prize, but, much more important, the kind of career-building attention that previous winners have enjoyed.
This year’s judges include Michelle Addington, Professor at the Yale School of Architecture; Brian Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Collins; Lawrence Scarpa, AIA, Principal of Pugh + Scarpa Architects; and Leslie Shepherd, AIA, Chief Architect of GSA. The competition judging will be moderated by Susan S. Szenasy, Metropolis Editor in Chief.
Visit www.metropolismag.com/nextgen for entry details, and watch for ongoing updates from Metropolis magazine on this important competition. The entry deadline is January 31, 2011.