Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Step Right Up and Guess The City of the Future - eight top Chicago designers compete in Friday marathon at CAF

There'll be a great show at CAF on November 17th.

Details are out on this Friday's public design competition, The City of the Future: A Design and Engineering Challenge, sponsored by The History Channel. The event, which promises "a frenzied build" in which the teams will have four hours to assemble their models, still strikes me as something of a stunt, but they're certainly doing it up right.

The final list of eight participants is a blue ribbon roster of many of Chicago's best architectural firms:

Brininstool + Lynch

Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, teamed with ARUP
Strawn Sierralta
CUAdc + friends
Dirk Denision Architects
Garofalo Architects

The jury will be no less illustrious: the GSA's Leslie Shepherd, the Art Institute's Joe Rosa, Chicago's Commissioner of Development Lori Healy, former CAF curator and Architect Magazine editor Ned Cramer, and Diane Legge Kemp of DLK representing co-sponsor American Institute of Architects.

The teams are charged with answering the question, "What will Chicago look like 100 years from?" Beginning at 8:30 A.M. , they'll begin assembling their models in the handsome atrium of the 1904 Railway Exchange Building at 224 South Michigan, whose roster of tenants has included its architect, Daniel Burnham, plus Mies van der Rohe and, currently, both Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Goettsch Partners. They'll have exactly until 12:30 to complete their work - I'm betting at about noon for the "frenzied build" to kick into high gear - and beginning at 12:50, each team will be visited at its respective station by the jury, which will begin deliberations at 3:00 and announce the winner, just before the whole thing is scheduled to wrap at 3:45.

A similar competition was recently held in New York City's Grand Central Station for the east coast, and another will follow in Los Angeles early next month. The winner of each competition receives $10,000 and moves up to the finals. Poor Daniel Libeskind is billed as the "national juror" who will lead the main event, but just as he was squeezed out at WTC, the National City of the Future winner, who gets another $10,000, will actually be selected by on-line voting after the work of all three finalists goes up on the History Channel's website on January 2nd.

It should get interesting this Friday, and it's open to the public, so make up a good excuse for your office voicemail and grab a ringside seat.

With all that energy on display, it's a shame that Friday's exercise is kinda moot, since as we all know, a hundred years from now, all architecture will be created by biotech-generated glands in our bodies secreting proteins with the strength of carbon fiber and the transparency of Starphire, configuring themselves at the direct command of our brainwaves into whatever external structure we may need or desire, in a manner that is unyieldingly reliable and delightfully and infinitely spontaneous all at the same time. I'll probably be dead by then, but send me a postcard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This should be an exciting event, a studiomate of mine helped systemsarchitect assemble their presentation at grand central a couple of weeks ago and brad lynch gave us a preview since he's a visiting critic here at syracuse