From the 359 graduation projects designed by young architects, landscape architects and urban designers that were submitted for the latest edition of the Archiprix International, an international jury selected 6 winners.
All 359 graduation projects were reviewed and discussed in the online sessions due to the covid-virus and the political situation in Ethiopia, where the 11th edition of Archiprix International was planned to take place. In general, as one jury member put it: “What stands out are two kinds of projects. First, the ones that respond to the needs of underserved and vulnerable populations. Those who suffer from all sorts of injustice as well as environmental risks or social displacement. These projects stand out because they had to go deeper to forge new forms, to lift up and reimagine ways that are just, safe and sustainable. The second type are projects that go back to basics. They were exquisitely simple, yet they reminded us of how intimate our relationship with architecture is and how important it is to pay attention to ‘needs’.”
The jury for Archiprix International 2021-2023 was made up of architect Rahel Shawl, founder of RAAS Architects Addis Ababa; landscape architect Stacy Passmore, co-founder of SUPERBLOOM in Denver; Aric Chen, educated as an architect and currently director of the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam; urban designer Nathalie Jean-Baptiste, currently Deputy CEO and Senior Programme Manager Wealth Inequality at the Julius Baer Foundation in Zurich; and architect Marlene Wagner, founding member of NPO buildCollective for architecture and development in Vienna and nominated for Archiprix International 2011. After intense discussions about speculative projects versus buildable projects, the need for clear models, guidance and inspiration to reimagine the act of building, and whether it is possible to judge the intrinsic quality of projects if they are based on a genuinely different world view than that of the assessor, a total of six projects were eventually – though not unanimously – selected as winners.
The winners of the 11th edition of Archiprix International are, in alphabetical order:
Toby Fong – Wild [life] nomad bootcamp: Back-to-basics for the age of the amateur
(The National University of Singapore Department of Architecture – Singapore)
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Wild [life] nomad bootcamp’ offers a solution for import-dependent Singapore. By rewilding Singapore into a productively secure nation, it can address the continued crises. This thesis proposes a Back-to-Basics Bootcamp, an intermediary between the north-west and the city. Over the course of 50 years, the Bootcamp mints an urban population into resourceful and productive agents for Singapore’s rewilding. By the year 2070, after the gathered north-west practices root themselves into our daily existence, the Bootcamp will be rendered obsolete.
The jury: The project shows architecture as a process of transition and speculates on what this transition process could look like. With the suggestion of rewilding for food production security as a shared responsibility, the project conveys un-learning and re-learning with processual, indigenous, generational and endangered knowledge, mediating between urban and rural life as a reciprocal plant-architecture relationship.
Sebastián León, Cinthia Olate, Constanza Jara – Choyü Fen Park
(Universidad Autonoma Arquitectura – Temuco, Chile)
The Choyü Fen Park project – the rebirth of the ancestral – accommodates everything that once was, and everything that will be at the time of rebuilding and healing our wounded culture to forge living heritage. Mapuches (People of the land) are a fundamental part of everything that the Araucanía region symbolizes in Chile and the world: the culture of the indigenous people. Their culture and way of life prevailed and still lives among us, recognized for the strong and unbreakable bond with nature and everything that Mother Earth encompasses, a powerful deity in their culture, expression and way of life. Under this Mapuche concept of respect and union, it repeatedly presents an eternal struggle between the way of life of the ‘White race’, and the ‘Mapuche’, so that one’s way of life alters the other’s way of inhabiting.
The jury: The project is set in a contested place, which is also subject to a lot of tension. The designers use architecture to take a site, the site of the Mapuche, and propose a meeting place between two cultures – that of the oppressed and that of the oppressor – for a shared history. It’s a beautiful project that shows the potential of architecture as a tool of significance.
María Martínez-Morón – Silk-Skin City: A women’s cooperative dedicated to silk crafts
(Universidad Europea de Madrid Escuela de Arquitectura – Madrid, Spain)
Silk-Skin City is located in Varanasi (India) and presented as a women’s textile cooperative, focused on transforming silkworm into saree, and as a strategy to restore an artisanal treasure. It demonstrates how architecture can contribute to redefining the role of women and, with that, to building a healthier, freer and fairer world. The project is structured into events that define the process: urban productive events that revitalize degraded urban voids, and domestic productive events that introduce the productive character into the domestic scale through a lightweight, foldable and transportable device, and a catalogue of solutions that improve housing and the climatic conditions of dwellings.
The jury: The project is socially relevant. The designer has dealt not only with the building but also with the activities around it, and the significance of the building for its surroundings. Silk-Skin City deploys architecture to force change and does this in a convincing and consistent way, with an eye for details.
Tamar Ofer – Towards a New Architect
(Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Architecture – Jerusalem, Israel)
The subtitle of this graduation project reads: ‘A Critical Roadmap for the Freshly Graduated Architect: Or, How I opened an Architecture Residency in Bat-Yam’. The project started with a critical analysis of the architect’s role and challenged the precepts and ultimate goals of the profession by comparing two neighbourhoods that were designed by the same architect under almost the same conditions.
The jury: Many young architects reflect on the role of the architect and research new ways of practising architecture. For them, architecture is more than building. Towards a New Architect is a taxonomy of the profession of architect that pays attention to all stakeholders. It is a thoughtful and mature project, a handbook for architecture today.
Icao Tiseli – Mapping the Feke Bigness in Relation to Pacific Voyaging
(University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning – Auckland, New Zealand)
The project reclaims an architectural process that adheres to and emboldens a world view that celebrates and advocates for the cultural values of the indigenous people of Tonga. It proposes a school for studying traditional Tongan practices of navigation.
The jury: A highly conceptual project and, at the same time, a political statement. The celebration of indigenous knowledge also amounts to a questioning of the Cartesian world view. The project narrates a cosmological journey based on indigenous Tongan culture and provides an ontological understanding with architecture as a processual spatial framework for continuous observation and learning.
Andrew Zi Hang Law – The Ark of Antwerp. A Provocation and Provision against the Apocalypse
(Mackintosh School of Architecture – Glasgow, United Kingdom)
Antwerp’s Ark can be understood as a vessel for the conservation of the tangible (Artefacts) and intangible (Spatial Quality). The project is a story-based construction that eventually evolved in seven phases, within a timespan of 200 years, and a final endgame against the apocalypse.
The jury: As a speculative infrastructure, the project relates conditions of land-water transformations throughout centuries and proposes human spatial interventions such as the preservation of the city as memory to dissolve in phases, thinking 200 years ahead.
A last word from jury member Nathalie Jean-Baptiste: “My message to all participants is that we should not forget that the majority of people around the world build because they need to: whether is it a shelter, a road, a school, a health facility, a public space, etc… Architects have the opportunity to rethink and rework means and ways to foster protection and restoration of inner peace and harmony. This is needed more than ever! The time has come for a collective reassurance that we are better than what we have built and currently destroy, and the new generation of architects – that is you – is far better equipped to face and address the challenges of today.”