Lost Spaces: Re-envision Calgary’s Remnant Public Spaces

This competition is a call for ideas to reframe how underused spaces in Calgary might be used. The aim is to address a particular challenge of public space–what to do with seemingly remnant pieces of public property. The challenge: what opportunities do lost spaces afford?

A “lost space” is any space that remains underutilized within our urban environment. They might be leftover pieces, a ghost of the planning past. Lost spaces are part of the public realm, rarely designed to function with both social and environmental benefit to the city. 

You may consider a lost space as a passageway, a roundabout, space between two buildings, a highway shoulder, or tenants of the city’s history and memory. We’d like to ask you to dream, take risks and stretch what we think is possible.

The Lost Spaces competition is open to anyone including architects, artists, designers, engineers and students. Cross-disciplinary teams are encouraged to collectively respond to the diverse challenges of design, social sustainability and low-impact design improvements. Students and members of the public who wish to submit an idea are encouraged to team up with an artist, designer, planner or engineering professional for their proposal. 

To adapt your entry to the local climate conditions, please note that Calgary has a prairie climate. It benefits from high sunshine hours but also experiences unpredictable weather at times. A winter Chinook might increase the temperature by 30 degrees Centigrade within a few hours. Please consult more detail about the local climate in the FAQ section on the website.

The competition is a call for alternatives improving the use, public realm and ecological value of a lost space. Responding to an area’s deficiency in the public realm, can lost space offer greater links and connectivity for people? How can a lost space connect fragments into corridors and attract biodiversity? How might they contribute to the management of stormwater?  How can lost space be remembered and utilized? Is a lost space still “lost” if not used?

Judges will base their assessment on the following criteria: 

*clarity of concept and quality of design
*successfully blends social, ecological and economic considerations
*integrates multiple approaches to the design challenge
*impactfully connects environments to allow greater access, linking people and wildlife to the space
*advances thought on current use of the site
*feasibility of realization

A top prize of $7,500 CDN and up to five (5) field prizes of $3,000 CDN will be awarded. A shortlist of up to twelve (12) will be exhibited in the spring of 2015. Those shortlisted and not awarded a prize will receive a shortlist renumeration fee. An entry is not entitled to more than one prize. Only shortlisted projects will receive renumeration. Awards and renumeration will be granted only to projects considered by the jury to meet the formal regulations and the criteria.

The jury is comprised of: Susan Szenasy, Editor in Chief, Metropolis magazine; Shane Coen, Principal, Coen + Partners Landscape Architecture; Pierre Thibault, Principal, Atelier Pierre Thibault Architecture; Shauna Thompson, Curator, The Esker Foundation; and Diana Sherlock, Independent Curator. They will select a shortlist of up to 12 of the most successful entries. Each of the shortlisted designs will be included in an exhibition in 2015, presented in collaboration with d.talks and WATERSHED+. 

The registration and questions deadline is March 20, 2015, followed by a submission deadline of March 30, 2015 at 23:59 MDT. Winners will be announced on April 29, 2015.

For full details, please visit www.dtalks.org/call-for-ideas.