For Immediate Use
Released by UCLA cityLAB, School of the Arts and Architecture

Nov. 19, 2009

cityLAB Design Competition WPA 2.0 Rides Perfect Storm in DC Carbon T.A.P.// Tunnel Algae Park, R_Ignite, Aquaculture Canal_New Orleans winning proposals at WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture

WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture, the design competition organized by UCLA's cityLAB, culminated with the announcement of “Carbon T.A.P.// Tunnel Algae Park” (an image of whihc appears below) as the winning proposal of the professional competition and “R_Ignite” and “Aquaculture Canal_New Orleans” as the winning proposals of the student competition – WPA 2.0 (SE). UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Chair Hitoshi Abe, Dana Cuff, cityLAB director, and Roger Sherman, cityLAB codirector congratulated the winners at the conclusion of a day-long symposium in Washington, DC on November 16. Housing and Urban Development’s Ron Sims and Adolfo Carrion of the White House Office of Urban Affairs urged those gathered at the symposium at the National Building Museum to think outside the box, and to “boldly lead us to places we have never gone before.” The federal administration is primed for innovative thinking about urban issues, creating a perfect storm for designers to lead the way.

The WPA 2.0 winners do just that.

“Carbon T.A.P.// Tunnel Algae Park” is the brainchild of PORT architects Andrew Moddrell and Christopher Marcinkoski of Chicago and New York. The proposal uses algae pontoons to capture mobile-source carbon-dioxide emissions along New York City’s transportation arteries and employ them in bio-fuel production, creating an urban park with structured wetlands, aquatic and avian habitat, recreation amenities, as well as high speed bike lanes and public promenades. The jury of Elizabeth Diller, Cecil Balmond, Marilyn Taylor, Walter Hood, Stan Allen, and Thom Mayne was unanimous in its decision, citing two primary qualities: The floating, carbon-capturing bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan would be a visible marker for the tunnel hidden below, and the periodic rotation of the parkway across the river had the power to reshape the image of the city. “R_Ignite” was designed by four graduate students of the Manchester School of Architecture – Peter Millar, Jamie Potter, Andy Wilde and Stuart Wheeler. This proposal revitalizes port cities and greens the shipwrecking industry through the addition of recycling and social activities. “Aquaculture Canal_New Orleans,” by Fadi Masoud, a Landscape Architecture student at the University of Toronto, envisions the New Orleans’ Industrial Canal as productive infrastructure for flood control and aquaculture. The jury noted that the winning submissions were ideal as a pair, representing the range of innovative ideas relevant to WPA 2.0.

For the WPA 2.0 competition, more than 300 proposals – half from professional teams, half from student teams – envisioned a new legacy of publicly-supported infrastructure hybrids. The projects explore the value of infrastructure not only as an engineering endeavor, but as a robust design opportunity to revitalize communities. Students from China to the United Kingdom submitted proposals to WPA 2.0 (SE) tackling the problems of America's next generation of public works. Seven student finalists' proposals were exhibited at the National Building Museum: Re-Ignite, Aquaculture Canal_New Orleans, Polytechnic HighSchool and Transportation Center by Douglas Segulja, Fluctuating Freeway Ecologies by The Crop, urban ConAgraculture by Dale Luebbert, Cash for Clunkers = Bike Sharing for Chicago by Matt Moore, and Topographic Infrastructure: Hollywood Freeway Central Park by Meng Yang.

The six finalists from the professional competition presented their work at the symposium, and exhibited creative videos that animated their projects, bringing them to life. They are: PORT (Chicago/New York), Lateral Office / Infranet Lab (Toronto), Rael San Fratello Architects (Oakland), UrbanLab (Chicago), aershop (Los Angeles), and Nicholas de Monchaux & Collaborators (Berkeley). The symposium, held in the impressive Great Hall of the National Building Museum, allowed experts to examine infrastructure from a range of unique yet critically integrated perspectives. In his keynote address, White House Director of Urban Affairs, Adolfo Carrion, praised all the finalists for imaginatively engaging the future of American cities. His words were echoed by HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims who called on designers to reimagine public works in terms of sustainability, community, and jobs. Director of cityLAB and UCLA Professor Dana Cuff, said the cityLAB team followed his advice. “The cityLAB team spent the entire day after the symposium taking the message to agency heads and legislators on Capitol Hill. We showed them that designers have the vision to bring innovative policies to reality. Our timing couldn’t have been better.”

Sponsors of WPA 2.0 include: The Graham Foundation, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLC, Buro Happold, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, The Architect’s Newspaper, The National Building Museum, The Ziman Center for Real Estate Development, Sarah Jane Lind, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.