Jury: Stan Allen,Cecil Balmond, Elizabeth Diller, Walter Hood, Thom Mayne, Marilyn Jordan Taylor

WPA 2.0: an open design competition for working public architecture organized and sponsored by cityLAB

cityLAB, an urban think tank at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design, announces a call for entries to “WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture.” WPA 2.0 is an open competition that seeks innovative, implementable proposals to place infrastructure at the heart of rebuilding our cities during this next era of metropolitan recovery. WPA 2.0 recalls the Depression-era Works Projects Administration (1935-43), which built public buildings, parks, bridges, and roads across the nation as an investment in the future—one that has, in turn, become a lasting legacy. We encourage projects that explore the value of infrastructure not only as an engineering endeavor, but as a robust design opportunity to strengthen communities and revitalize cities. Unlike the previous era, the next generation of such projects will require surgical integration into the existing urban fabric, and will work by intentionally linking systems of points, lines and landscapes; hybridizing economies with ecologies; and overlapping architecture with planning. This notion of infrastructural systems is intentionally broad, including but not limited to parks, schools, open space, vehicle storage, sewers, roads, transportation, storm water, waste, food systems, recreation, local economies, 'green' infrastructure, fire prevention, markets, landfills, energy-generating facilities, cemeteries, and smart utilities.

Designers of all fields are eligible to submit for this competition, which is staged in two phases. Multi-disciplinary teams are particularly encouraged, in the belief that design invention comes from more integrated approaches to problem-solving--whether by applying new thinking to old problems, or old thinking to new ones--to yield visionary hybrid forms and relationships.

From the first stage submittals, six proposals were selected by a jury of world-renowned design professionals to advance to a second stage. Each finalist team will receive $5,000 in order to develop its preliminary design in greater detail. Team representatives have traveled to Los Angeles for a workshop in which they will present their proposals to and receive feedback from leading experts in fields relevant to infrastructure and urban redevelopment, such as policy, energy, infrastructure systems, urban agriculture, planning, market analysis and land use development.

The fully-developed proposals will be presented on Monday, November 16, 2009 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. in a day-long symposium that includes jury members, nationally-recognized experts on infrastructure, and a selection of officials involved with recently-passed stimulus plans and their implementation.

The final projects, along with video from the workshops and symposium, jury commentary, and media coverage, will be featured in a web exhibition launched by cityLAB in February 2010. The proposals will also be featured as part of a larger coverage of the symposium in The Architect’s Newspaper.

Download the competition brief here.