Fantastical fiction and harsh reality aren't so far apart in the winning narratives of the 2016 Fairy Tales Architecture Competition. Living in a time when the inevitable future is constantly on everyone's mind, this year's stories beautifully visualize and perhaps forewarn of what possibly awaits. Created by Blank Space, the yearly international contest invites architects, artists, writers and the creatively inclined to pen their own architectural fairy tale narrative.
Since Blank Space revealed their first set of winners in 2014, the competition's rapid growth can be worthy of its own story to tell. For starters, the 2016 edition reeled in more than 1,500 entries from 67 countries — making it the biggest pool of submissions in the competition's history by far. Plus, the level of creativity was as strong as ever, with poignant tales based on recent incidents in the world's cities to thought-provoking critiques on the current state (and future) of architecture.
This year's jury also included notable members like DS+R's Elizabeth Diller; Serpentine Gallery Co-Director Hans-Ulrich Obrist; Aaron Betsky, dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture; SPUR Editorial Director Allison Arieff; Dror Founder Dror Benshetrit; Sylvia Lavin, Director of Critical Studies in Architecture at UCLA; and Bustler's very own Alexander Walter — to name a few!
After rigorous deliberation, the jury selected architecture practice Olson Kundig, Hagai Ben Naim, and architecture student Kobi Logendrarajah as the top prize winners. Ten Honorable Mentions were also revealed.
Have a look at the winning narratives below.
First Prize: "Welcome to the 5th Facade" by Olson Kundig - Alan Maskin, Jerome Tryon, Kevin Scott, Gabriela Frank & Katie Miller
Synopsis: “Seattle-based architecture practice Olson Kundig won first prize for their story titled “Welcome to the 5th Facade”. Led by Principal Alan Maskin, the team crafted a beautifully rendered story that launches us headlong into the future — a future that is similar enough to our own, yet ripe with new challenges, opportunities, and issues.”
From the winning team: “Our Fairy Tales 2016 submittal became a tangential detour from Olson Kundig's ongoing investigation into urban rooftops, the largely neglected uppermost layer of cities. The idea of applying a narrative filter to both built and conceptual projects became another way to look at and critique design ideas. 'Welcome To The 5th Facade' used science fiction as it is traditionally used as a modality to visualize and imagine a particular future in terms of both the pitfalls and the potential.” — Alan Maskin, Principal at Olson Kundig
Second Prize: "Parisian Lullaby" by Hagai Ben Naim
Synopsis: “The Second Prize was awarded to 'Parisian Lullaby' by Hagai Ben Naim, whose submission deftly leverages satire to address the current climate in Paris, France, and how recent events have affected policy, park space, and the public domain.”
From the winner: “Parisian Lullaby is the product of a personal encounter with the urban space and political climate of contemporary Paris, and was triggered by the recent heartbreaking events that took place in the city. The Parisian municipal obsession with governing and ordering life in the public domain gave birth to a series of regulations regarding preservation, maintenance and security. Some of these rules, such as the Second Empire requirement to close public parks at nightfall, date back to the nineteenth century. Through a satirical reworking of the master plan for the new Clichy Batignolles district, Parisian Lullaby raises the question of the relevance of these anachronistic municipal regulations in contemporary Paris. It opens a Pandora’s box of cultural critique that unleashes fundamental interrogations related to space and identity, freedom, prejudice, cultural dogma and hypocrisy.” — Hagai Ben Naim
Third Prize: “12 Nautical Miles” by Kobi Logendrarajah
Synopsis: “Third Prize goes to Kobi Logendrarajah, an architecture student at the University of Waterloo, for '12 Nautical Miles', an imaginative story that explores how architecture might be created, leveraged, traded, and grown in a literal no-man's-land.”
From the winner: “The spark behind the story was inspired by an anime I used to watch back in the day called Black Lagoon that was based on a fictitious island neighbouring Thailand. The island was home to many of the world's outcasts, ranging from pirates to deserting soldiers from the Vietnam War. I honed the idea of a place of refuge and expanded it to include a place that escapes the eye of any government, where one can practice their full liberties as they seem fit. I wanted architecture to respond to this social structure and I spawned a scenario that touches upon some of the similar issues that we face today. How we claim that a land is ours, who's allowed to be apart of it, and who was here first were all questions I wanted people to think about deeply about.” — Kobi Logendrarajah
Blank Space will also be publishing Fairy Tales: Vol. 3, which is now available for pre-order. Donning a special cover designed by artist Vicente Garcia-Morillo and the book layout designed by Bruce Mau Design, Volume 3 comprises of 25 new architectural fairy tales handpicked by the 2016 competition jury.
For the Honorable Mentions, see the image gallery right below.
Find the full narrative text of the winning and Honorable Mention entries here.
All images courtesy of Blank Space.
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