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SKIN: International Digital Fabrication Competition
Register/Submit: Monday, July 01, 2013

SKIN is a two-stage international design competition established to foster the deeper developments within the field of computational fabrication. We are soliciting design proposals that further existing research, by enabling prototyping at a larger scale or full scale, and proposals to jumpstart new research and design concepts into a first prototype. Choice of project location, contextual constraints, programmatic and functional requirements are open and should be freely interpreted to further the proposal’s thesis.

The building envelope and the transition between what is outside and what is inside presents the most complex and fundamentally linguistic element of architecture today. The form and performative capacity of what we might call the activated envelope is foundational and presents a dialogue the building has with itself and that of its context. A building’s skin has the potential to synchronize form and illustrates the totality of the project, while driving how the building responds to its context, its role and ultimately its utility. Fundamental to this is an explicit or implicit adaptability found in its performance – how it functions and meets the needs of the building. In the preceding 100 years since the beginning of the 21st century the transformation from a static, heavy and obfuscating series of load bearing walls, to its current role of a communicative skin, dynamical and exploratory, sets the stage for what we believe is the most important area of research in architecture. SKIN, as a digital fabrication competition, asks architects, designers and researchers to speculate, or if they so choose present existing research, on its role – by exploring new methods to enable the performative qualities of a façade.

Design submissions may develop any context they choose, real or virtual, at any scale and on any building type so to present a complete thesis. Integrating structure, dynamical cladding or other system whether static and active may be submitted. We encourage the boldest visions and challenging technologies in the development of your proposal. The competition will select four of the most robust and intriguing projects, that best rethink the envelope, supporting those selections through prototypes developed to illustrate the potential of the competition submission.

Phil Anzalone, Atelier Architecture 64
Maria Mingallon, Arup
Gregg Pasquarelli, SHoP
Randy Stratman, ZAHNER
Skylar Tibbits, SJET

June 30, 2013 - Submissions due (Midnight) 23:59 PM EST
July 14, 2013 - Jury Finalists announcement – First Round
October 24, 2013 - Opening reception for First Round Finalist exhibition
October 25, 2013 - Jury review and Announcement of Winner
February, 2014 - Exhibition in Austin, Texas at TEX-FAB 5

In the first stage a total of 4 selections that will be awarded a 1000 USD stipend to further develop their project in a scale mode. Each winning team will have the opportunity to work with aACADIA 2013, (a shipping fee stipend of 250 USD will be provided), during which the second round jury will announce a winner made public during the conference. The final winning proposal – will be build at scale with fabrication sponsorship by Zahner Co.valued at $12,000 – will also be paid a 1,000 USD and exhibited in Austin, Texas for the TEX-FAB 5 event in February 2014.


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