Competitions

Competitions

1-06

In late August, I found myself hunched over a small pool—my shoes and hands caked in acrid mud—with a group of volunteers attempting to rescue salamanders from an evaporating bog in the humid backcountry of North Carolina. Far from the palm-wringing anxiety of a summer competition deadline, it seemed like a poignant time to take stock of this system which we as architects have all participated in or at least observed. An analysis of the historical arc and the various incarnations of the competition model reveals a volatile terrain of astounding successes and failures in terms of both ideas developed and efficacy of the associated labor. Canonical competitions such as the 1982 Parc de la Villette and 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower serve as markers of intense theoretical and aesthetic discourse. Beliefs were at stake. Are such influential provocations present in today’s submissions? This issue considers the medium of competitions, offers individual experiences, assigns personal value, evaluates the activity levels within the school, and demands that Paprika! readers consider their own positions within this debate.