CCA announces the winner of the 2008-2009 James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City Competition

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), in collaboration with the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), announces the winner of the third international competition for the James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City. The jury awarded the prize to Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray, the 2008-2009 Stirling Lecturers for their proposal entitled CAOCHANGDI Urban Rural Conundrums: Off Center People’s Space in the Early 21st-Century Republic of China A Model for the Momentous Project of the New Socialist Village.

Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray, principals at Studio Works in Los Angeles, were selected from 43 applicants of 15 countries, ranging from senior scholars and practitioners to emerging voices. The bi-annual James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City competition was launched in 2003 to inaugurate a unique forum for the advancement of new critical perspectives on the role of urban design and urban architecture in the development of cities worldwide. Previous winners are Eyal Weizman (2006-2007) and Teddy Cruz (2004-2005). Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray will develop their research project and present the Stirling Lecture in autumn 2008 at the CCA in Montreal, and at the London School of Economics in autumn 2009.

The jury was impressed by the range, originality and quality of their proposals, their international scope, critical links to practice, and engagement with key political, social and design issues in contemporary cities. Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray’s winning proposal opens up an original discussion of issues of development in China, going beyond a concern with extreme densification, and addressing a dynamic urban context in a way that is both historically informed and clearly oriented to emerging social, political and cultural processes. Jury members highlighted the innovative character of this project, its collaborative strengths, and its experimental approach to practice.

The Stirling jury consists of James Corner (Founder and Director of Field Operations, New York; Chair and Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Design), Ann Pendleton-Jullian (Associate Professor of Architecture, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, Boston), Matthias Sauerbruch (Architect, Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Berlin and London), Fran Tonkiss (Associate Director, Cities Programme, the London School of Economics and Political Science [LSE]) and Mirko Zardini (Architect, Urban Theorist, and Director of the CCA).

Speaking about the goal of the Stirling prize in the context of the CCA’s mission, Mirko Zardini stressed that “the CCA actively seeks opportunities to collaborate with academic institutions such as the London School of Economics which have demonstrated a commitment to raising the level of critical discourse research and writing that informs innovative and even radical tendencies in architecture and urbanism today. Beyond this, for the CCA, the theme of the city is central to our concerns, because as more and more of the earth submits to urbanization, we are confronted with a virtually inexhaustible source of new problems and potential investigations.”

The winning proposal was selected from a strong field of finalists that included:

Gilles Clment and Miguel Georgieff, landscape architects, for Urbanodiversity, Keys for the Birth of a Symbiotic Man, which argues for the city’s potential as refuge for natural diversity, and the capacity of new urban practices that renew energy and other resources to ensure this biodiversity.

Keller Easterling, Yale University School of Architecture, for Extrastatecraft, which analyzes forms of global infrastructure free zones, cable networks, high-speed rail in sites in South Korea, Japan, Dubai and Kenya as spatial and political forms that go beyond nation-states and constitute complex sites of activism.

Susannah Hagan, School of Architecture and the Visual Arts, University of East London, for Between Data and Design, which addresses the relationship between environmental datascapes and strategies of urban design, drawing on case studies in Barra Funda in So Paulo and the Royal Docks in London.

The jury also commended the following projects for emerging ideas and innovative potential: Nicholas de Monchoux, University of California, Berkeley, for Spacesuit City: Evolution, Informality and Urban Design, bringing together architecture and digital design intelligence to explore the effects of small “spatial catalysts” in urban environments; Laura Kurgan, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, for Million Dollar Blocks, examining the prison system as the “distant exostructure” of contemporary American cities; and Peter Mrtenbck, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Vienna University of Technology, for Informal Markets: Architectures of Survival, exploring informal markets in Eastern European cities as networked urban sites of “counter-globalization.”