World Heritage Bernau Bauhaus Visitors Center

 

From Storied Restoration to Prime Time Destination

 

Winning entry ©Steimle Architekten

 

When we first included an article in COMPETITIONS about the restoration of Hannes Meyer’s Berlin Trade Union School in 2007, little did we anticipate that this subject would resurface on several occasions over the years. With the initial publication of

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Aarhus New School of Architecture

 

Young Architects win a Restricted Competition over

High-Profile Competitors

 

“Today the majority of design competitions are exclusively based on prequalification, which means that only established companies that have participated in numerous building projects qualify. The competition format that was chosen for this project challenged this, and the result shows that it was

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Competitions as Stepping Stones for Young Architects Example: Weiss Manfredi

 


Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus Photo: ©Iwan Baan

 

In the early 1990s, Weiss Manfredi emerged as one of the most interesting young architecture firms in the U.S. How did this happen? Winning two important competitions in 1990/91—the Women’s Military Memorial in Washington, DC, and the Olympia Fields Mitchell Park competition in a Chicago suburb—served to propel this relatively unknown pair into the national limelight. From then on, the firm began to receive invitations to participate in invited competitions, winning several high-profile competitions, which included the highly acclaimed Seattle Art Museum Olympia Sculpture Park and the more recent Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design competitions.

 

What marked their rise was not simply their expertise in developing landscape plans to fit a specific site, or detail in retrofitting or realizing significant buildings, but recognizing that architecture does not cease to exist at the front door. As a result of their success in those early competitions, the firm has received a number of commissions, such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Nanotechnology Institute and Cornell Tech’s recently completed “Bridge,” at their Roosevelt Island Campus. Not known for their high-rises, the firm seemed to strike just the right chord on this project. As a major piece of the Roosevelt Island campus ensemble, this building can hold its own with any of its neighbors—a tribute to the firm’s versatility.

 

Would all of this have been possible without those winning competition efforts? It’s clear that those experiences smoothed the path to career advancement…as both a learning experience and raising the firm’s profile.

 

 


Exterior and interior views Photos: Iwan Baan

 

See Weiss Manfredi interview:
https://competitions.org/2016/07/interview-weiss-manfredi-architects/

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The Berlin Trade Union School Competition (1928/1930)

 

Bauhaus Director, Hannes Meyer, Rehabilitated with


the 2007 Restoration of his Winning Design

 

 

After the Nazi government ascended to power in 1933, one of their first acts was to take possession of a trade union school in the Berlin suburb of Bernau and turn it into a training facility for the SS and Gestapo. This action represented an antithesis of the school’s original purpose when it was built in 1930—to serve as a training facility for the members of the All-German Federal Trade Unions. Since the union movement was an anathema to the Nazis, it is understandable that this institution was a high-profile target on their agenda so soon after they took power. The fact that the architect of record was a Communist may also have played a role.

 

Initially, the Federal School of the All-German Trade Unions (ADGB in German), had been the subject of a competition in 1928, won by the new Director of the Bauhaus School in Dessau, Hannes Meyer, with his partner, Hans Wittwer. The team also included a supporting cast consisting of the architecture design department of the school and the Israeli architect, Arieh Sharon. Although this competition was hardly as high-profile as one which took place a couple of years earlier for the League of Nations Headquarters in Geneva—also entered by Meyer—it could hardly be characterized as one which slipped completely under the radar.

 


Aerial view of model from east; Bauhaus competition entry (right)

 

Why this competition was limited, rather than open to all architects was made clear by the program. Although it could have been limited for political and budgeting considerations, the list of shortlisted participants was an indication that the goal was to produce something modern, rather than traditional, and more in tune with the forward-looking philosophy and pedagogical Zeitgeist of the left.

 

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Hannes Meyer’s German Workers’ Seminar in Berlin as UNESCO Heritage Site


When we recently learned that Bauhaus Director Hannes Meyer’s Bundesschule ADGB (German Workers’ Seminar in Berlin/Bernau) had been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, we felt it was an opportunity to toot our own horn. Back in 2007, when a renovation of the complex had just been completed, we were given a tour of the facility and subsequently did a feature article on that 1928 competition in our COMPETITIONS quarterly magazine (Vol. 17, #4). Hardly six months passed before we learned that the site had received the initial award for the 2008 World Monuments Fund Modernism Prize. In most cases, we wouldn’t have made a case for any influence that may have resulted from our publication, except that one member of that 3-person jury happened to be on our distribution list. So when the UNESCO designation occurred, we also received congratulations from a member of the German committee responsible for the renovation—for any role we may have played in the matter.

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Gallaudet University Design Competition Results

hall-mcknight-1
Winning entry by Hall McKnight

This design competition for the historic core of the Gallaudet campus and adjacent public realm focused on themes of cultural exchange and creative placemaking. It ran from September 2015 to November 2016.

Background
Established in 1864, Gallaudet University is the world’s only liberal arts university in which all programs and services are designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students. One of the challenges faced by the competitors was the use of “DeafSpace” in their proposals—design principles based on the knowledge that the built environment, largely constructed by and for hearing individuals, presents a variety of challenges to which deaf people have responded with a particular way of altering their surroundings to fit their unique ways-of-being. Examples of DeafSpace design elements can be found on the Gallaudet campus in two of its buildings. This project is the first time these design principles will be incorporated into a public space off the Gallaudet campus.

 

Throughout the competition, the Gallaudet community participated in a number of design events, including the Shape Gallaudet launch, a colloquium or discussion, and a charrette, also known as a live design critique.

 

The competition featured two parallel initiatives:

Shape Gallaudet invited ideas, inspirations, sketches, images, and videos from students, staff, alumni, local residents, and supporters of Gallaudet, both international and stateside. The finest of these were used to inform the briefing to be given to the design teams shortlisted after the first stage.

A Request for Proposals invited applications from multidisciplinary teams of designers, landscape architects and specialists in human behavior, performing and fine arts, communication technology, wayfinding and engineering disciplines, amongst others.

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St. Hilda’s College, Oxford

Gort Scott
Image: ©Gort Scott; courtesy MRC

St Hilda’s College has selected Gort Scott to design a new £10m+ front-of-house development for its exceptional riverside site in the conclusion of the Redefining St Hilda’s invited design competition, organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants. St Hilda’s College was one of the original group of five women’s colleges founded at Oxford at the end of the nineteenth century. Since 2008, it has selected its undergraduates and graduates without regard to gender. St Hilda’s now has one of the highest proportions of international undergraduate students of any college within the University.

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‘Smart School’ Educational Complex in Irkutsk, Russia

A Holistic Strategy for a Community Learning Environment

CEBRA PANELS-2a
Winning entry by CEBRA (image © CEBRA, courtesy Strelka)

Can it be that pedagogues from all over the world will soon be traveling to the far reaches of Siberia to examine the workings of a school, which not only will be catering to average students, but also feature a live-in community offering an optimal educational environment for disadvantaged children. A competition for this ‘model’ school occurred in 2015, and the winning entry came from a team led by the Danish firm, CEBRA.

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Laval University School of Architecture “Emblematic Addition

Honoring the Old, In with the New

Laval University School of Architecture “Emblematic Addition” Ideas Competition

by Stanley Collyer

title

Addressing an addition to a centuries-old seminary building in the heart of historic Québec—designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site— would represent a unique challenge to any architect. To probe the boundaries of this scenario, the Laval University School of Architecture, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding, sponsored a one-stage ideas competition, open to professionals and students alike for an “emblematic addition” to the heritage building where it resides.

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Strategizing for Expansion: Mälerdalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden

by Gretchen Milliken 3XN-1

Winning entry by 3XN (image © 3XN)

The intention of the Mälardalen University competition is to evoke a holistic architectural approach to the design one of Sweden’s largest universities with 12,000 students and over 900 faculty and employees. The University is well known for its strong partnerships with regional businesses and municipalities with a focused curriculum on education, health, technology and economics. Six established research departments further strengthen the University’s program, the flagship being Innovation and Product Development.

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