Focusing on the Center: Fargo’s Urban-infill Design Competition

Focusing on the Center:

Fargo’s Urban-infill Design Competition

by Stanley Collyer


As the largest city in the U.S. state of North Dakota, Fargo can afford to speculate about a redesign of its downtown core. Considering the state of the U.S. economy, one might question the planning of such an ambitious venture. But, in contrast to the rest of the nation, North Dakota’s economy is experiencing boom-like symptoms, supported mainly by the energy and agricultural sectors. Until recently, most outsiders regarded Fargo as a sleepy, northern, small city. Now, with a metropolitan population of 200,000 and growing, the community can think bigger and better. Choosing a design competition for a downtown plan is an interesting move in this direction, even though this was only an ideas competition, and there is no guarantee any of the ideas from this event will be used.

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The Olympic Park Legacy Company Design Teams Shortlist

More than 100 teams from all over the world submitted expressions of interest for the Legacy Company’s design competitions for the new public space, visitor centres and playground within the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Five teams have been selected for the south park competition and another five selected for the north park

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Berkeley Prize 2012

Sponsor: University of California, BerkeleyType: StudentLanguage: EnglishEligibility: The competition is open to all current full-time registered students in an undergraduate architecture degree program or undergraduates majoring in architecture in accredited schools of architecture worldwide. The competition is only open to students pursuing their first degree. An exception will be made for Diploma in Architecture students

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re:CONNECT – An Open Ideas Competition

Sponsor: The City of Vancouver Type of competition: Open, international, ideas Language: English Location: Vancouver, BC Eligibility: Urbanists of all professions and backgrounds, architects, intern architects, designers, students and creative thinkers among the general public are invited to submit proposals. Entrants will be able to participate individually or in groups. There is no limit on

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Interview: Matthias Sauerbruch of Sauerbruch Hutton (Spring 2008)

images S-H Firestation
GSW Competition, Berlin Winner Police and Fire Station, Berlin (competiiton 2002, completion 2004)


COMPETITIONS: Many architecture firms today have a multinational composition, and Sauerbruch Hutton is no exception. You started out in London, but moved to Berlin in 1993. Can I assume that was because you won a big competition here, then decided to stay?

MATTHIAS SAUERBRUCH: We started the office in London because Louisa and I met and got our BA in London. We then worked in offices in London, and basically through a number of circumstances decided to set up our own office. During that time we did a number of competitions on the continent, because in Britain there were hardly any competitions, whereas in Germany there were all of these big building projects which were competitions. One of the first competitions we entered, we won (GSE Headquarters Building, Berlin). We discovered fairly soon that there was no chance of actually realizing this project unless we were there. The other reason was that Berlin was really the most interesting place in Europe at that time. It just seemed it would be a missed opportunity not to be part of that. Once we started to set up an office, with all the infrastructure, and all the people attached, it becomes slightly less mobile. The irony is that for some years now we have not had any work in Berlin; it’s all elsewhere. But it is a nice place to be.



Photonic Centre, Adlershof Research Park, Berlin (Competition, First Prize, 1995; Completion, 1998)

COMPETITIONS: In this day and age, with communications as they are, you can be almost anyplace


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The Centre for Water Sensitive Cities Design Competition

Sponsor: Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) Conference Type of competition: Open, international Language: English Location: Melbourne, Australlia Eligibility: This is a student competition comprising teams of up to five students each. All team members must be enrolled in a certified undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate program of study from between July and December 2011. Registration

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Contrabands’ and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial Sculpture

Sponsor: City of Alexandria Type of competition: RFQ Language: English Location: Alexandria, VA Eligibility: Open to all artists or design groups. No geographic requirements. Registration Fee: Timeline: 17 October 2011 – Submissions deadline 1 December 2011 – Finalists selected 5 December 2011 – RFP issued to finalists 20 February 2012 – Proposals due Spring 2012

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Design to Zero Competition

Sponsor: Dow Solar Type of competition: Student, ideas Language: English Eligibility: Open to individual students, student teams or students participating with professionals in any field appropriate to the project goals. Instructors of relevant classes or design studios may also register their entire class – such a class may be subdivided into separate individuals or

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Reimagining the Waterfront: Manhattan’s East River Esplanade

Sponsor: CIVITAS Type of competition: Open, ideas Language: English Location: New York Eligibility: Open to all architects, landscape architects, urban planners, students, and artists. Registration Fee: $50 (includes one-year complimentary membership to CIVITAS) Timeline: 1 September 2011 – Beginning of question and answer period 15 September 2011 – Submission period begins 15 January 2012 –

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Interview: John Ronan (Winter 2008/2009)

01_Poetry Foundation_a 02_Poetry Foundation_RG#42b
Poetry Foundation, Chicago Photos: Hedrich-Blessing

COMPETITIONS: You received an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan; but it was not purely in architecture. When did it become apparent to you that you wanted to become an architect?

JOHN RONAN: Third grade. I remember writing a paper in fifth grade about ‘Why I wanted to be an architect.’ So I knew pretty early on. I always played with those lego-type logs as a kid, and in grade school I was always drawing little plans of houses. In high school I took four years of mechanical drawing, two of those years being somewhat architecturally based. So by the time I went to college, I knew that was what I wanted to do. Michigan’s architectural program is basically two years of liberal arts and two years of architectural with a Bachelor of Science degree. Then you go on to graduate school for your professional degree.


Gary Comer Youth Center, Chicago, IL

COMPETITIONS: As has been the case with many architects, you worked for a few years with large firms. When was the moment when you decided you could go off on your own?

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