New Architecture Competition Announced — “Decode” to design Cultural Architecture Museum—

Decode— Architecture Competition by

‘Decode’ is an architecture competition that intends to encourage an authentic understanding of one of the ‘-isms’ in the history of architectural styles, i.e. Deconstructivism. Most often, ‘movements’ begin as a response to a set of circumstances, as steps to bring about change, or as critique. Over the course of time, the reasons, original ideologies, and principles can take a different form as compared to the motivations of the original movement. This competition invites architects and designers to communicate the ‘essence’ of deconstructivism, by means of architecture itself. Through a pavilion design, the competition aims to bring out ideas to sensitize users/the public towards the values of deconstructivism. It also provokes thinking about how public built spaces can imbibe certain ideas in their physical forms and play a part in subtly communicating those to its users.

Fig: 1 — Walt Disney Concert Hall an example of deconstructivism

Deconstructivism — an answer to the rules of modernism

Deconstructivism is a post-modernist movement that was started in the 1980s, against the architectural style of modernism. Created with the original intent of extending boundaries and breaking architectural stereotypes, this movement in itself, gathered many misconceptions.

Computer-aided design software helped to create these designs effectively and its eye-catching style, spread instantly, facing criticisms as well. The style consists of buildings designed in a fragmented nature.

As the term suggests, the design takes dramatic turns and anglesthat allow its viewers to experience a realm of structures that look dynamic and almost futuristic.

Deconstruction is essentially stripping down the different layers of a building and abstracting them in a way that can allow the viewer to visualize the space, with a different perspective.

Fig: 2 — Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum

Understanding architectural deconstructivism today

Today, many architects and designers create aesthetically disruptive and abstract designs, while balancing the functionality of the building effectively. But even though the structure is built soundly, the deceiving nature of fragmented facades pushes people to perceive the building as illogical or absurd. One of the reasons may be the unusual and unconventional forms of deconstructivist architecture that contrast the aesthetic that people are mostly familiar with. Another reason being lack of education or awareness about the movement of deconstructivism and why it exists.

Structures designed by architects such as Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind are enlightening examples of deconstructivism and they push architects and designers to aspire for more. This movement is capable of producing buildings, at both calming and enthralling ends of the spectrum.

With such volatile architectural styles, situations usually get out of hand when later, after the beginning of the movement, its subsequent renditions are unable to sync their meaning with the essence. While as architects we appreciate deconstructivism, the message that is relayed through its expression may get lost in translation towards the end-user.

How can we create a positive impression of deconstructivism in this era?

Fig: 3 — Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Baku by ZHA.

Brief of the competition

When the world predominantly links architecture with the economy, it is tough for an audience to appreciate deconstructive buildings. What if we could tone down the experience of the movement, in a building that celebrates public gatherings?

Brief: The challenge of the design competition is to create a pavilion that sensitizes people experiencing it, about the deconstructivism movement.

Pavilions are a great way of showcasing the bite-sized version of a story while packing some essential features in its spatial design. These spaces deliver the story through an engaging experience. The story can not only be shared with a function (direct sell) but can also be done by adding meaning to the neighborhood (soft sell).

The deconstructivism approach, as lucrative as it may sound, requires a very meticulous approach when designing a civic space within some set conditions. The competition urges participants to explore such relationships with the context.

  • Concept — Understand the meaning behind the movement and break it into smaller principles you wish to incorporate in your design.
  • Landmark — the design of the structure must create a visual impact on the city.
  • Accessibility — the center must be accessible to all types of visitors through easy navigation.
  • Context — the design can be inspired from the context of the site while taking its environmental constraints under consideration.
Fig: 4 — Plan view of the site.

Manchester is a metropolitan city with more than 3 million population. It is a hotspot of culture, sports, music, and architecture among many. The heritage landmarks and world-class events in the city make it a very popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom. The site is located in the neighborhood of Deansgate in the city. It can be accessed by Whitworth street. This corner plot is surrounded by industrial and commercial outlets, with good pedestrian footfall.

  • Site area — 920 sqm
  • FAR — 1
  • Ground coverage — 40%
  • Height restriction — 10m

Area Programme

  • Spaces to gather — Performance Stage, Open-air theatre, etc
  • Spaces to linger — Step seating, Benches, Communal seating & Casual lounge
  • Spaces to eat — Cafeteria
  • Spaces for play — Kids play area
  • Space for the environment — Green areas, Lawns, and Landscaping

The following program is a beginning point to conceive this design challenge. You can modify or add to this program or completely reinvent this from scratch. The mode of telling this story is through elements and spaces, instead of instructional methods like A/V rooms or presentations. The subtlety is one of the key elements of this pavilion, where it will be acting as a public space and a meeting point with various landscaped areas.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this page: Decode | Cultural Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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