Facebook Twitter Pinterest
[un]restricted access from military space to civic space
Register: Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Submit: Saturday, June 02, 2012

Dotting the global landscape, decommissioned military installations are leaving their mark – symbols of triumph, pride, pain and the unforeseen consequences of military aggression. These abandoned structures and ghost towns disrupt neighborhoods and split entire communities.

Architecture for Humanity is hosting the 2011 Open Architecture Challenge – [un]restricted access – a design competition that will re-envision the future of decommissioned military space. This is an open invite to the global design and construction community to identify retired military installations in their own backyard, to collaborate with local stakeholders, and to reclaim these spaces for social, economic, and environmental good.

Learn More and Register


The Challenge

The Open Architecture Challenge reaches beyond traditional bounds of architecture by challenging designers and architects to partner with community groups and to develop together innovative solutions that improve the built environment.

The 2011 Open Architecture Challenge invites architects, designers and creatives around the world to re-design retired military sites. This competition asks designers to partner with communities surrounding these former places of conflict to transform hostile, and oftentimes painful, locations into sites where groups can create civic change.

How Many Decommissioned Sites are There?

Good question. Help us build a global count of decommissioned military sites. Click here to add a site to the map. They can be any kind from any place.

The only rule is: It must be an abandoned, closed or decommissioning military site.

We are asking you to work on a site near you but it you can't find one, you can choose one of the following:

Site 1: Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, Guantánamo Bay (Cuba)* Gitmo Here
Site 2: NSA "East Bank", New Orleans, LA (USA)
Site 3: Johnston Atoll, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
Site 4: Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Tustin, CA (USA)
Site 5: Flak Towers, Vienna (Austria)

*Currently not decommissioned yet scheduled for closure.


Dates Competition Schedule*
October 18 2011 Challenge Launch
May 1 2012 [Extended!] Registration Ends
June 01 2012 [Extended!] Submission Deadline
June 01 2012 Semi-Finalists Announced
June 29 2012 Winner + Finalists Announced
Fall 2012 Exhibition of Entries

*Dates subject to change. All registered teams will be notified, and promotional documents and media channels will be updated to appropriately reflect updates.

Why This Challenge

Every other year, Architecture for Humanity's Open Architecture Challenge brings international attention to issues in the built environment affecting the health, prosperity and well being of under-served communities. The Open Architecture Challenge will focus on helping communities reclaim abandoned, closed and decommissioned military sites.

Few places on earth are void of defense infrastructure. Military bases have been identified in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide. Even Antarctica is home to at least three military installations. Built in the service of public protection, when these spaces become inactive and no longer serve their intended use, how can they be re-enlisted for civilian purposes?

This year marks a milestone: In the United States alone more than 235 military sites are scheduled for closure or realignment. The U.S. military is under orders to downsize 5% of its entire infrastructure on or before September 15, 2011 in accordance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) ruling. The ruling will force the relocation of more than 125,000 military personnel and their families.

Base closures have a huge adverse affect on the surrounding community. In addition to complex environmental remediation, civilians must address the consequences of unemployment and disinvestment. According to the final report submitted to the President of the United States, BRAC estimates that 12 million square feet of leased space will be vacated resulting in the loss of an estimated 18,000 civilian jobs in this round of closures alone. Interestingly, many of these same sites are for sale.

Decommissioned military sites have tremendous potential if impediments to access can be overcome. This open, international competition will invite designers to identify an inactive military installation in or near their community and develop a design concept and plan for it’s remediation and re-use.

Three designs will place and one design will be awarded the prestigious Founders Award. All of the entries will be available for download on the Open Architecture Network, an online community developed by Architecture for Humanity to provide open source access to design solutions. By sharing design solutions—including CAD files—freely, we aim to give communities around the world the ideas and tools they need to make decisions where it matters most—locally.

'Take Your Base' and Sponsorship Opportunities

We're continuing our recruitment of individuals and organizations who are ready to accept the mission of sponsoring the complex yet rewarding task of successfully transforming previously conflicted sites into civic spaces. If you are ready to enlist your financial resources in service of this greater good, please give us a call at 415.963.3511 or send us an email to challenge_at_architectureforhumanty.org

About the Open Architecture Challenge

The Challenge is hosted once every two years on the Open Architecture Network, an open-source community developed by Architecture for Humanity. Design teams from all over the world compete to design and build the winning scheme. Support from sponsors and implementing partners funds the construction of selected designs. All of the designs are shared freely via the Open Architecture Network and made available for future use.

Past Challenges

2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom of the Future

2007 AMD Open Architecture Challenge: Digital Inclusion

About Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity is a charitable organization that seeks architectural solutions to humanitarian crises and brings design services to communities in need.

For more information, please visit: http://architectureforhumanity.org

Logo by Habi Girgis, winner of the [un]restricted access Identity RFP

[un]restricted access Identity RFP

Tags for this entry:
architecture for humanity, civic, military
Alexander Walter
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, March 30, 2012
Please note that registration and submission deadlines have been extended.

Featured Competitions:
Register/Submit: Apr 29
Register/Submit: Feb 29
Register/Submit: Apr 1
Register/Submit: May 11
Register: Feb 12 / Submit: Feb 19
Register/Submit: Feb 22
Register/Submit: Apr 4
Register: Mar 4 / Submit: Mar 30
Register/Submit: Mar 31
Register: Feb 14 / Submit: Feb 15

Search Competitions by Keyword: