In this interview, juror Michael Speaks was clear that his remarks were that of an individual juror and that he in no way was speaking for the entire jury. In other words, this could not be considered as an official jury report.
COMPETITIONS: As for research possibilities, isn’t this new facility programmatically about reentry into civilian life by veterans?
Michael Speaks: Reentry is part of that, but a lot of the veterans are non-traditional students, and having a physical place for them to gather and having a physical headquarters for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IMEF) was really part of the driver for this. But reentry is a challenging issue.
You may know that Syracuse really grew to become a large university after the Second World War, based largely on people returning from the war and taking advantage of veteran’s benefits. So there is a long history at Syracuse of involvement with the veterans’ community. When our new Chancellor came on board about two years ago, veterans' affairs and veterans' issues were very important to him. As I recall, during his first address as Chancellor, he emphasized veterans' issues as one of the 4-5 most important issues to be addressed by his administration.
COMPETITIONS: From your experiences with competitions in Taiwan as a juror, you have experienced both open and invited competitions (Taiwan Taoyuan Terminal 3 competition). I wondered what was behind this choice for an invited competition process.
MS: Over the past 18 months we have been involved with developing a University Master Plan, and Sasaki Associates were hired to do that. That plan was signed off on last May. Although it was never completely finished—it was called a ‘draft framework plan.’ This building was to be one of the very first built projects to emerge from that framework plan. Part of the idea of doing the competition, which the university had never done quite this way before—they had earlier used an RfP, then a selection process with some stakeholders on campus. But I don’t think they have run a competition as such before.
So some of the thinking behind having an invited competition in two stages was that this was definitely the first project out of the gate, and therefore would be an important project not only in itself, but also as kind of an announcement of the true start of the framework and development of the masterplan. It’s a really important site on the university campus, and I think there was real interest in bringing absolutely the best talent to the table. This was also important because of the importance that the university placed on the veterans’ community.
So this project had quite a numbers of layers of importance: the university decided in consultation with the people on the ‘framework’ advisory group, with the administration, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, to use the competition as the means of procuring a design firm to design the building. So shortly thereafter, we decided to hire Martha Thorne, who is the Dean of the School of Architecture at the IE Madrid and Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize, as professional adviser.
COMPETITIONS: So my question is, why an invited competition, rather than an open competition, as was the case where you were a juror in Taiwan?Read more...Read more...Read more...
by Wilfried Wang*
Wilfried Wang’s commentary on the competition results for the extension of Mies’s Museum of the 20th Century (M20) was published in the German journal, Bauwelt (40.2016). The author is the founder of the Berlin architectural practice Hoidn Wang Partner with Barbara Hoidn and has been the O’Neil Ford Centennial Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin since 2002. The text, translated by the Editor, is a slightly modified version (by the author) that appeared in Bauwelt.
Both in architectural and urbanistic terms, the jury’s misguided selection of the Herzog de Meuron entry as the winner of the M20 competition is another missed opportunity for Berlin.
By extending the form of this introverted structure to cover the entire competition site, little or no value is added to the immediate environs. To the contrary, that and the immense surfaces of the facades, right up to the edge of the pedestrian walkways, only serve to diminish the importance of the surrounding buildings. All the trees to the south of the site will disappear, and 90% of the outer walls of the building, regardless of the suggested use of porous brick detailing, are completely closed off. Only the eastern entrance of the Herzog de Meuron plan faces the main entrance of Scharoun’s State Library; the other two main entrances lack any such connection with the urban context. Thus, the Cultural Forum gains nothing in urban quality, but rather the sense of desolation will increase.
The corridors stacked over one another, labeled “Boulevards” by the architects, are connected in the quadrants by smaller corridors and stairs. The metaphor, “Boulevard,” is as misleading as was Le Corbusier’s “rue intérieur.” Boulevards are accessible 24 hours a day as open public spaces. In the evenings these corridors will be closed to the public.
Rectangular exhibit areas are placed on three levels—not easily accessible to the visitor as a result of the labyrinth-like circulation plan. What is so innovative about this? The Goetz Pavilion was innovative.
Viewed from an artistic- and architecture-historic point of view, the selection of this design was an egregious mistake. First of all, a gable roof design is not appropriate for this Cultural Forum, and, secondly, it does not express the modern spirit; actually it is quite the opposite. Originally, the Cultural Forum was not only West Berlin’s gesture to the East, but also an attempt to replace the Nazi north-south axis with a modern alternative.
The lack of sensitivity, unnecessary haste followed by yearlong inaction and a desire for label-architecture have strangely culminated in a provincial selection. The shortlisted designs from the initial open competition were more modern, sensitive, and led one to assume that a different solution would be in store.
If this design were actually to be built, this unfortunate selection process would result in a catastrophe. This reminds me of the competition for the City of Culture for Santiago de Compostela. In that instance I was the sole juror to vote against the Eisenman scheme. Then my arguments fell on deaf ears. I was not a juror in the M20 competition. For this reason, I’m thankful that I can air my concerns about this result; however, I believe that my concerns will once again suffer the same fate. -WW
*The following should be pointed out: For his Master's degree in 1981, the author researched six cultural centers—amongst others, London's South Bank Centre, Paris' Centre Beaubourg and Berlin's Kulturforum. In 1992 the author published a monograph on the work of HdM. The author was a member of the jury for the limited competition for the extension of the Basel Kunstmuseum, which was unanimously awarded to Gigon & Guyer; HdM was one of the five invited architects. In 2013 the author published a monograph on Scharoun's Philharmonie, therein his essay on "The Lightness of Democracy." As part of his activities in the Architecture Section of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, the author was co-organizer of a number of public discussions on the development of the Kulturforum, in which politicians and representatives of the Prussian Cultural Foundation (the users of M20) participated. In 2014 and 2015 the author set the design of M20 as a test for advanced design studios. Finally, the competition entry for the first phase of the M20 selection process by the author's office was eliminated in the first round: www.hoidnwang.de/04projekte_53_de.html.
The above photo of the M20 site makes abundantly clear the difficult challenges facing the architects who tried to produce an acceptable solution for the extension of the Mies museum. One might normally assume that a grand plaza would have been an appropriate answer. However, an extension of the M20 came into the conversation when a major art collector offered the collection to the museum in its enirety—necessitating more exhibit space.So the solution to this expansion had to lie in a design competition.
First of all, the very presence of two easily recognized architectural icons facing each other across the site would normally be enough to intimidate anyone. So the initial question in the back of everyone's mind would have been: should this addition simply constitute a link between the two buildings; or should it be something more?
Organized in two stages, the first, anonymous stage was open internationally and resulted in eight finalist entries advancing to a second stage (http://competitions.org/2016/02/berlins-20th-century-art-museum-competition/?preview_id=18468&preview_nonce=20af7e537d&_thumbnail_id=-1&preview=true). From the 480 competition entries, one would have assumed that at least one entry would have been convincing enough to gain favor not only from the jury, but also the community. The addition of this second stage was to accommodate short-listed name firms, so there could be no complaints that high-profile, established architects were not part of the mix. Based on the final rankings from the second stage, none of the premiated designs really solved this challenge satisfactorily. Most tried to recognize the importance of a sightline between the two icons by going at least partially underground.
The two firms that took this most to heart were both from Japan—SANAA and, no surprise, Sou Fujimoto, with the latter covering the entire partially submerged structure with vegetation. The second-place winner from Denmark found favor from the main client with what looked to be very commercially looking solution, what one might imagine as an outdoor shopping center. The most extreme anti-urbanistic example honored by the jury with a merit award was OMA's pyramid-like scheme, completely blocking any relationship between Mies and Sharoun by inserting their own icon in between the two.
When Herzog & de Meuron's design was declared the winner, it had to come as somewhat of a surprise. Structurally no more than a shed in appearance, it seemed to be completely out of character with all of its neighbors—almost thumbing its nose at them. The abundant use of brick, its blank facade facing the street, and the claim by the authors that the corridor cut through the middle as a "boulevard" would serve as a symbolic link between the Museum and Philharmonie, was hardly convincing. This is especially true when one realizes that it would be closed off evenings to all comers. As an urbanistic solution and example of architectural expression, the winner unfortunately fell flat on its face. -Ed
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©Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten
©Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH mit Lorenz Engster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH
After two rounds of judging, beginning with 187 entries from around the world, the jury reduced the number of competitors to 28 in the first round, then finally settled on two first-place finalists in the second stage, one of which will be commissioned to design the Center. (One may assume that the limited number of entries in such an important competition was limited by the fact that the competition language was held in German.) The building itself is not the only project element, as a tunnel linking the Visitors Center in the Tiergarten to the Reichstag also is an essential part of the plan. The total cost of the project to the government is to be limited to 150€M.
• Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten
• Markus Schietsch, Zürich with Lorenz Eugster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH
Site plan ©Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten
Site Plan ©Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH mit Lorenz Engster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH
Honorable Mentions (5)
• BGAA + FRPO Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos Asociados + FRPO Rodriguez & Oriol Arquitectos, Madrid (Spain) with VWA + UBERLAND, Vevey (Switzerland)
• bob-architektur BDA, Köln with FSWLA GmbH, Düsseldorf
• Henn GmbH, Berlin with Ingenieurgesellschaft BBP Bauconsulting mbH, Berlin
• Allmann Sattler Wappner Architekten GmbH, Munich with Schüller Landschaftsarchitekten, Munich
• ARGE KIM NALLEWEG Architekten und César Trujillo Moya, Berlin with TDB Landschaftsarchitektur Thomanek Duquesnoy Boemans Partnerschaft, Berlin