Design competition seeks innovative uses of aluminum

AluminumIn the interest of fostering the innovative use of aluminum in building design, the Centre d’expertise sur l’aluminium (CeAl) and Alcoa Innovation are announcing a competition with the theme Community-Focused Architecture Starts with Aluminum. This call for creative projects is being launched in collaboration with the Association des Architectes en pratique privée du Québec(AAPPQ) and with the financial support of the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation (MESI).

Whereas previous editions of the competition were dedicated to industrial design projects for a consumer product, the 2018 edition, for the first time, is inviting Québec architects to consider the place of aluminum in sustainable architectural design in order to promote the judicious, local, innovative and proactive use of this material.

Open to architects and interns of AAPPQ member firms, the competition was officially launched today as part of a series of training activities and conferences organized by the association. David Prudhomme, Director of the CeAl (an initiative of AluQuébec, the Québec Aluminum Industrial Cluster), took this opportunity to explain that the competition is a remarkable initiative that will provide aluminum a greater presence in building design through innovative new applications, while demonstrating its synergy with other construction materials in accordance with the principle of “the right material for the right job!” François Racine, President of Alcoa Innovation, emphasizes the challenge facing participants: “Permanent and mobile construction in sectors as diverse as health, culture, education and housing provide a vast and extremely attractive playing field for dedicated, forward-thinking architects.” Anne Carrier, President of the AAPPQ and a member of the jury, encourages architects to focus on emerging practices that approach the use of aluminum in architecture from a sustainable perspective.

Washington D.C.'s Tenley-Frienship Library (Perkins + Will) makes prominent use of aluminum. Photo by Payton Chung via Flickr Commons
Washington D.C.’s Tenley-Frienship Library (Perkins + Will) makes prominent use of aluminum. Photo by Payton Chung via Flickr Commons

“Aluminium has a bright future, and we should be taking full advantage of it. Competitions such as this one, which fosters the emergence of innovative uses of aluminium, help to shape the future, right here, in Québec. For this reason, we are proud that our government is partnering with the Centre d’expertise sur l’aluminium and with Alcoa Innovation to ensure the success of this initiative, which shares the objectives of the 2015–2025 Québec Aluminium Development Strategy,” echoes Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy.

CeAl and Alcoa Innovation will award $50,000 in prizes: $25,000 to be distributed among 5 winners, $15,000 to the recipient of the jury’s Grand Prize and $10,000 for the public’s Grand Prize winner. In addition, the two Grand Prize winners will receive expert services from Alcoa Innovation valued at $5,000 each. The winning teams will also receive visibility among promoters and the AAPPQ network.

Architects in action – Analyze, design, participate

Taking inspiration from aluminum’s many valuable properties (versatility, lightness, malleability, resistance to corrosion, conductivity, recyclability, etc.), architects are invited to imagine a building of less than 120 square metres that leverages the intrinsic qualities of aluminum, a metal that remains misunderstood and underused in construction. Working from a perspective of social responsibility and sustainability, architects should present plans or previews of a structural project that is strongly anchored in its community or sociocultural context.

Architects have until noon on February 27, 2018 to submit their proposals, which will be evaluated by an independent jury. The designs will be presented anonymously and graded on their innovative nature, functionality, formal and ecological qualities, social added-value and, naturally, contribution to promoting aluminum.

Architecture: Growing public awareness

Increasingly, the general public is demanding quality architecture that reflects community priorities. To enable citizens to appreciate the talent and dedication of Québec architects, the CeAl and Alcoa Innovationwill present all eligible submissions on their websites  starting in early April. At that time, the public will be invited to vote online for their favourite project among the five winners. The project with the most votes will be awarded the public Grand Prize. The winners of the jury’s Grand Prize and public Grand Prize will be announced around mid-June 2018 and posted to the Alcoa Innovation and CeAl websites.

The competition jury is composed of Carlo Carbone, professor at the École de design (UQAM), Anne Carrier, architect with Anne Carrier Architecture and President of the Association des Architectes en pratique privée du Québec (AAPPQ), David Prudhomme, Director of the Centre d’expertise sur l’aluminium (CeAl), François Racine, President of Alcoa Innovation and Ron Rayside, architect and senior partner with Rayside Labossière.

Architects wishing to receive more information are asked to send an email to