Transfigure — Architecture Competition by

Architecture Design Competition ‘Transfigure’ Launched by UNI — Challenge to design and installation

Fig: 1 — Performance art is the form of expression to enliven a community space

Urban art and performance

Art is a dynamic field that has evolved and taken its place in urban settings in new forms. Urban art first emerged as a way of protesting the social, traditional, and political reforms in society. It is now seen as an effective way of engaging with audiences and expressing opinions. Interaction with the public to form crucial connections to the artworks has managed to keep urban art forms popular. Performing arts are now taking over the urban art scene, as more and more performers are partaking in public exhibitions. Unlike urban art which leaves a material trace, a performance leaves a sentimental trace.

Artists have taken over streets and public places as a means to display their talent and craft. Public squares, plazas, and local sites are hotspots that provide a platform for artists to perform and even earn wages and publicity. The image of the place changes depending on the art and performances.

Can we interpret how the public landscape can transfigure with the introduction of urban art and performance?

Fig: 2 — How can we provide a feasible and comfortable platform for the existing artists?

Exploring the engagement of a public performance

The history of performances in the public domain dates back to ancient history. Street performances were the only way artists could earn their living. But as recording came into the scene, the ‘live’ performance aspect fizzled out. Its reintroduction was made when the potential for performing arts in public as a way of expression and communication was encouraged. The art forms of music, dance, and drama performed in public spaces differ from the theatre performances, wherein the former, a more intimate connection with the audience is explored. They are extremely visual and their perception highly depends on the settings of the performance.

Cities are vibrant hotspots of culture and people, and performing arts enriches this environment. Performing artists can occupy existing public spaces reanimating the area for a certain period.

But can we extend this period for not only a single artist but for multiple artists? Can a temporary setup provide easy access and a platform to existing artists? Can it transfigure the pace of people in space? How can a physical setup and backing for such an instant transformation be brought about in an urban setting?

Fig: 3 — Design an installation for street performers


Brief: The challenge is to design an installation that can be used to transform the image of the given public space into a performance arena.

The installation is to be placed in a public space to elevate the ‘live’, outdoor experience of the urban performance. The idea is to build out the infrastructure that could hold or transform the space with attachments that are used temporarily.

The setup and the equipment are permanent, but the installation must be operated temporarily to change the ambiance of the public space only during events and performances. The storage of the removable equipment must be convenient and compact.

The design aims to create an installation that is inspired by the context of the city it is placed in. The design must be suitable for all kinds of art performances. It will be a design that can transfigure a space and add to the experience of the performance but does not overpower it.

Design objectives

  • Agile: The installation and dismantling must be mobile, compact, and portable with secure storage on site.
  • Modular: Modular units can be used for easy use and scalable interventions.
  • Multi-functional: The design of equipment and setup must cater to a range of performances and the capacity of the event.
  • Material + Technology: The palette chosen must be suitable for all climate conditions and systems engaged must be least energy-dependent.
  • Growth/Evolution: A potential to scale the setup to replicate as and when required.


Fig: 4 — Site image

Berlin, Germany

The German art and performance scene is impressive with influences drawn from all over the world today. Folk music and contemporary artists are making their way on the streets of the country to showcase their talents in creative ways. Berlin is rich in topographical features such as lakes and rivers. It is the center for performing arts and hosts several venues for events of international recognition. It is also a popular destination for exploring street performances.

The site is the Alexanderplatz in Berlin city. It is a large public square and transport hub. It is a major commercial area of the city with many notable landmarks. It is a popular pedestrian tourist spot that is occupied by street performers all the time.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Transfigure | Installations Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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