SCI‐Arc, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, announced the winners of the Los Angeles Cleantech Corridor and Green District Competition. An open ideas competition sponsored by SCI‐Arc and The Architect’s Newspaper, entrants were challenged to use the competition as a forum for provocative, even revolutionary, reconceptualizations of L.A.’s urban fabric. A community celebration was held on Saturday, October 9 in downtown Los Angeles on the SCI‐Arc campus.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa predicts the Corridor will transform downtown’s industrial core into an incubator for green jobs and technology, promote the sustainable growth of Los Angeles’ economy, and place the city at the forefront of the Cleantech revolution.
Following are the top winners:
Professional Category First Place Award: $5000.00
UMBRELLA by Constantin Boincean, Ralph Bertram, Aleksandra Danielak
According to the designers, the winning entry, Project Umbrella, “…reinterprets LA’s existing infrastructure by implementing a point‐based renewal strategy that will gradually transform the city grid into a greener and more attractive public space. Mushroom‐like structures named solar evaporators tap into the city’s sewage, collecting and clarifying the black water originating from the surrounding blocks."
"The clear water is distributed and released into the streets through a process of evaporation and condensation triggering a transformation into a network of lush, cultivated landscapes. Green webs spreading out from the evaporators generate incentives for new, sustainable developments. The central urban plazas become focal points for a gradual process of transformation that will affect the way people will see, use, and experience their city.”
Student Category First Place Award: $2000.00
MessyTECH by Randall Winston, Jennifer Jones, Renee Pean
University of Virginia School of Architecture
The young designers of MessyTECH describe their project this way: “MessyTech recognizes the full life cycles involved in “clean” industries, which can be complex and not perfectly clean. In turn, messy processes can lead to cleaner ones. Designing and manufacturing are inherently messy, where error can lead to progress and where flexibility reigns. Creativity and artistry are fostered in environments of cross‐pollination and collaboration, where conflict and harmony co‐generate good ideas. The weaving of diverse infrastructures, people, and activities makes for a rich and dynamic urban fabric.”
“SCI‐Arc came downtown to participate in the re‐imagining of downtown,” says Eric Own Moss, Director of SCI‐Arc. “The Cleantech discourse is an essential part of that re‐imagining. Unlike most cities to which Los Angeles is often compared, we're a young city with a realistic opportunity to define and implement the next conceptual city. Let's go.”
The competition asked architects, landscape architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, students, and environmental professionals to create an innovative urban vision for the Cleantech Corridor, a 2,000‐acre development zone on the eastern edge of downtown Los Angeles. Seventy entries were received from architectural firms and students in 11 countries including Austria, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States. Entrants were encouraged to challenge conventional wisdom and move beyond industrial uses—creating an integrated economic, residential, clean energy, and cultural engine to re‐invigorate this Arts and Industrial District into a thriving mixed‐use center. The competition was presented with the Office of the Mayor and the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), which established the Cleantech Corridor in the fall of 2008.
Jurors for the competition were Stan Allen, Dean of the School of Architecture at Princeton University; Principal, Stan Allen Architect; Hsinming Fung, Director of Academic Affairs, SCI‐Arc; Principal, Hodgetts+Fung Design and Architecture; Cris B. Liban, D.Env., P.E., Environmental Compliance and Services Department Manager Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Michael Maltzan, Principal, Michael Maltzan Architecture; Dennis McGlade, RLA, FASLA; Partner OLIN; Romel Pascual, City of Los Angeles Deputy Mayor, Energy and Environment; Nikolas Patsaouras, past president of the Board of the Water and Power Commissioners and former board member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; and Donald Spivack, Deputy Chief of Operations and Policy, Community Redevelopment Agency, L.A.
Commenting on the importance of the competition, juror Stan Allen noted that it “envisions a strategic way forward that re‐imagines the city of the future as a place not only of consumption, but a place where things are still made, but now produced using all of the new technologies available today to work more sustainably. It helps to move the debates forward in architecture, landscape and urbanism.” Of the winning project in the professional category by Constantin Boincean, Ralph Bertram, and Aleksandra Danielak, he says: “What appears initially to be an oversized piece of functional street furniture turns out to be connected into a larger network of water purification and resource distribution. The project is highly memorable as an image, at the same time as it transforms the way the city will treat its resources in the future.” He cites the student project by Randall Winston, Jennifer Jones, and Renee Pean as being a “beautifully drawn and well‐resolved urban insertion.”
The Cleantech Corridor is the second competition sponsored by SCI‐Arc’s Future Initiatives program and The Architect’s Newspaper. The first competition inspired by the passage of Los Angeles County’s transit funding measure—A New Infrastructure: Innovative Transit Solutions for Los Angeles—attracted an international array of architectural and design firms and promoted a community conversation about innovative design, policy, and planning responses.
“The Future Initiatives (SCIFI) program at SCI‐Arc aims to be a leader in driving debate and dialogue around the future of cities and urban regions,” states Peter Zellner, Coordinator of the SCIFI program. “SCIFI hosts competitions and exhibitions focused on Los Angeles to draw attention to pressing urban issues, stimulate public discussion and where possible drive the public and private sectors towards innovative ideas and solutions.”
An exhibition of the winning entries at the SCI-Arc Library Gallery just opened on October 9 and will be open until October 27. The gallery is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.