Intersections: Grand Concourse Beyond 100

Intersections: Grand Concourse Beyond 100

Type: Open, International

Entry Fee: None

Registration Deadline: April 24, 2009
Submission Deadline: May 1, 2009
Finalists Contacted: July 2009
Design Challenge:

The Grand Concourse was conceived during the height of the City Beautiful Movement as the residential Champs Elysees of the Bronx, a broad promenade intended to inspire harmonious social order through grand design. Designed as a wide, tree-lined thoroughfare with carriage drives, bridle paths and sunken cross-streets, it was conceived in 1870 by engineer Louis Risse as a means to connect Manhattan to the parks of the Northern Bronx.

Built in 1909, the Concourse stretches 4 miles in length and measures 180 feet across, with tree-lined dividers separating it into three distinct roadways. Today, the Grand Concourse hosts the largest collection of Art Deco and Art Moderne style buildings in America. The buildings were—and still are—grand, with elaborate ornamentation, large lobbies, landscaped courtyards, elevators, large windows and many amenities that older Manhattan apartments lacked.

Mirroring the tumultuous history of the Bronx itself, the Concourse has survived the ravages of arson, dramatic shifts in population, and an overall decline in the quality of life since the 1970s. Today, however, the Bronx is improving with increased development and investment. Bronx communities are thriving, alive with the art, music, and cultural and social vibrancy that has defied decades of depression.

This competition challenges entrants to answer these questions:

  • What does the Bronx of the future need its grandest boulevard to be?
  • How can the Grand Concourse help inspire harmony and community through design?
  • Is the Grand Concourse of today obsolete? Can the Grand Concourse of tomorrow be a force that catalyzes the Bronx’s positive evolution?

Successful submissions could address these questions at any scale – from the individual human body to city block to neighborhood to entire borough. Entrants are encouraged to address not only the area’s built environment, but the natural, cultural, and social environments as well.

The best ideas, designs, descriptions and images will be selected by some of the world’s most distinguished designers, architects, artists and critics, and will be exhibited at The Bronx Museum in November and December 2009 as part of the Intersections: Grand Concourse at 100 — Future exhibition.

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