The Obama Library Competition: What Would Olmsted have said?

Jackson Park :White City

The location for the site for the future Obama Library will be in one of two parks on Chicago’s South Side—Jackson Park (the most probable choice at the time) or Washington Park. Both parks were designed by the American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted’s reputation as a landscape architect really began with his winning entry in New York’s Central Park design competition. There was nothing secretive about the process leading up to Olmsted’s choice as the winner. And millions have been the beneficiaries of that successful competition ever since.

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Animal House: a Student Design and Scholarship Competition

It’s never too early to start! That might be the slogan of the Michael G. Myers Student Competition in Houston, which took place earlier this spring and was participated in by students from several of the city’s high schools. The topic of this year’s competition was “Animal House,” the challenge being to design an animal

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In Memoriam

With regret and sorrow, we report the passing in April of two of our founding members of The Competition Project, Armand Ostroff and Robert Kissinger. Armand was our Board President since our founding in 1986, and Bob was our Secretary/Treasurer during the same period. Their service was essential to the success and growth of our

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Obama Library Architects Selected

The Obama Library Foundation announced today that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects / Partners together with local Chicago firm, Interactive Design Architects has been chosen from a shortlist of six finalists as architect for the Obama Library. Although a site on Chicago’s South Side has not yet been finalized, this certainly represents one of the

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Latvian Museum of Art Competition

1Adjaye Associates - Rendering 1
Winning design by Adjaye Associates (courtesy MRC, ©Adjaye Associates /AB3D)


Location: Riga, Latvia
Type: RfQ
On June 22, the office of Malcolm Reading Consultants, the competition organizer, announced the results of the competition:
Adjaye Associates (UK) and AB3D
• Caruso St John Architects (UK) and Arhitektu brio’s Jaunromans un Abele
• Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark) and MARK arhitekti
• Lahdelma& Mahlamäki Architects (Finland) and MADE arhitekti
• Neuterings Riedijk Architects (Netherlands) and Brigita Bula arhitekte
• Sauerbruch Hutton (Germany) and Arhitekts Ingurds Lazdins
• wHY (US), OUTOFBOX Architecture and ALPS

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Snøhettta: Craig Dykers Lecture

The Architectural League’s Current Work series features the work of significant international figures who powerfully influence contemporary architectural practice and shape the future of the built environment. Craig Dykers and Elaine Molinar will present Snøhetta’s work in a public lecture

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New SkyRider Competition Cancellation

To the Competition Participants:First of all, please accept my deep apologies for the situation.The tendering procedure of New SkyRider International Competition project, conducted by Urban and Rural Development Department, New Taipei City Government (hereinafter referred to as ”Agency”) has been suspended due to the project site, located in the Wenzizhen Redevelopment Zone, cannot be obtained

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West Smithfield Museum of London Shortlist

The Museum of London announced the six architectural teams shortlisted to design its new museum in West Smithfield in the international design competition organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). The museum also released full details of the competition jury. The new museum, which has a £130-150m construction budget, will secure the future of a series

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New Competitions 4/7/2016

Tall Building Design Competition

Sponsors: CTBUH and KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox)Type: Open, International, studentEligibility: Open to students in accredited schools of architectureLanguage: EnglishFee: noneTimetable:Monday, July 18th – Registration deadlineMonday, July 25th – Submission deadlineMonday, August 8th – Short-listed “Semi-finalists” announcedThursday, August 18th – Top-five “Finalists” announcedMonday–Friday, October 17th–21st – CTBUH 2016 Conference, Top-five Finalists will

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In Memoriam – Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid by Mary McCartney    
Photo: ©Mary McCartney

As was the case with many in the U.S. who had not seen her work, my first encounter with a Zaha Hadid project and with the architect herself was at the dedication of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (COMPETITIONS 2003, Vol. 13, #2), with the headline, “Cubism Comes to Cincinnati.” This was a real challenge, because the CAC site was not generous in size or configuration, but constrained on a prominent corner location in downtown Cincinnati. Because of site and floor plan limitations, the staging of large exhibitions is in itself a work of art. And the generous space allocated for the stairs in the atrium, while bringing in much needed light and resulting in a moving experience for visitors, did reduce valuable space for exhibits. This was an additional case that posed

Corner View b&w
Photo: ©Paul Warchol

the question: whether Zaha’s design talents could also produce a building that would work ideally for users.



Later projects, such as the BMW plant in Leipzig, indicated that function and form could happily coexist. Even her unbuilt Cardiff Opera House, a competition so well documented by Nicholas Crickhowell’s book, Opera House Lottery, held promise as one of the world’s groundbreaking performance venues. The Cardiff Opera house controversy may not have enhanced her reputation in the eyes of some potential clients; but she subsequently was able to design and build many projects around the world, but few in this country—one of the notable exceptions being the new Michigan State University Art Museum.
Over the years, Zaha’s firm became one of the foremost invited participants in competitions worldwide. We never counted them, but we were amazed that she could devote so much energy and time to the number of competitions which her firm participated in.

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