New England Town Meeting Hall

Sponsor: AIA Vermont Emerging Professionals Network. 

Type: Open, one-stage (see “Eligibility”)

Eligibility: This competition is open to all emerging design professionals within 10 years of graduation or 5 years of licensure, living or working in New England.  Entrants may either work individually or as part of a team.

Fee: $20


4 October 2015 – Registration & Submission deadline

1st Place: $1000
2nd Place: $500
3rd Place: $250

Only 35.9% of eligible voters in the U.S. cast ballots during the 2014 midterm elections*. That was both the lowest turnout and the biggest drop from a preceding presidential election since 1952*. While many factors contributed to this statistic, the role of architecture can not be diminished.
Many towns hold voting and meetings in inadequate spaces, such as cramped town halls, gymnasiums, and church basements. Communities need a new platform to facilitate and celebrate civic engagement. New England already has a strong tradition of holding annual Town Meetings, where citizens publicly discuss and vote on issues. Proposals should consider the Town Meeting as a framework for architecture that encourages an open dialogue among citizens.
Town Meeting Halls may be sited in any New England community in a prominent location. The two primary functions of Hall are: town assembly and informing the public about local and national issues. Halls should be designed to accommodate: local debates, televised state and national debates, hold community meetings, etc.
The Hall shall consist of a large assembly space, adequate bathrooms, and mechanical space. The Hall shall be appropriately sized to the community it serves. As a rule of thumb 10% of the local voting population might be accommodated in the assembly space at one time. Bathrooms should be sized in relation to assembly capacity. Buildings must meet local codes and comply with ADA requirements.
Design Criteria
• How is the building sited to maximize visibility in town and promote accessibility?
• How might the form and facade of the Meeting Hall communicate function and democratic ideals?
• What are the limitations of traditional meeting spaces that are being improved upon?
• How can architecture encourage voter turnout and engagement in local issues?
The jury will be asked to consider graphic clarity, originality in response to the brief, and cohesiveness of concept. Include a description of approximately 200 words, of the concept, on the board itself. Be concise and clear to convey the essence of the proposal.

All submissions must be digital. Email a single, horizontally oriented, 18 in x 36 in file, in JPG or PDF format. Please title the file yourname.JPG or .PDF. Indicate entrant name(s), firm affiliation, town/city, and state in the email. Do not include entrant name(s) anywhere on the board itself. Names will be displayed during exhibitions, but will be anonymous during the jury process.

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