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Competition: Zoomed out?

Natasa leoni october 2019 rebellion trafalgar square
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Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Architects’ Climate Action Network (ACAN) have launched a contest for ideas to transform UK streets following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions

The competition seeks both practical and experimental concepts for protest installations which could be rolled out in streets and public spaces across the county following the lifting of stay-at-home measures, which have been imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The ‘Zoomed out?’ call for concepts is part of the Lockdown Festival of Architecture – organised by XR and ACAN with Anthropocene Architecture School and Architecture Education Declares – which features a series of talks and events intended to provoke debate over the future of the built environment following the pandemic. Winning concepts will be published online and considered for further development.

According to the brief: ‘Look outside. Take a walk, run or cycle if you can, keeping a safe distance of course. What do you see? What do you hear? How does this make you feel? The Lockdown Festival of Architecture invites you to fill the streets that lockdown has cleared. Photograph a space that interests you and draw, collage and design over it. Digitally or by hand, whatever suits you.

‘We are calling for two categories of entry, crafty or crazy. Either self-build objects and structures or conceptual visions of the future. If you’re crafty, please design schemes that could be crowdfunded and crowd-constructed by architectural activists and Extinction Rebellion. Feeling crazy? Speculate and stimulate debate, make contentious collages worthy of Archigram. Utopias, dystopias or anything in-between.’

Wuhan, China, was the first reported site of the coronavirus disease, also known as Covid-19, which started to claim lives in December last year. By 23 January, the wider Hubei province was put on lockdown and all residents were forced to remain indoors, impacting the lives of 57 million people.

In early March amid rising new cases, the UN World Health Organisation declared a pandemic and emergency quarantine and lockdown measures were introduced throughout much of the developed world. Almost all of Europe, North America and Asia are now preparing for many months of isolation and social distancing with close to 4 billion people now under lockdown.

The Lockdown Festival of Architects aims to create debate between architects, activists and the wider public over the future of our cities and the role of sustainability once stay-at-home measures are lifted. The global lockdown has resulted in a dramatic reduction in travel, resulting in improved air quality. Some cities, such as Milan, have also proposed lasting new pedestrian and cyclist-friendly road networks in response to the crisis.

The ‘Zoomed out?’ competition comes seven months after XR held a week-long climate rebellion in London during which a crowdfunded modular building structure devised by Studio Bark was used to occupy Trafalgar Square. The contest is divided into two categories with the first seeking ‘crafty’ concepts which could be easily crowdfunded and delivered and the second seeking ‘crazy’ proposals which provoke debate.

A separate ‘Fun Palace for Architects’ competition will be held on 6 May seeking ideas which respond to AHMM partner Simon Allford’s call to ‘storm the [RIBA] building, taking it back for architects and architecture.’

Anonymous ‘Zoomed out?’ submissions should comprise three A3-sized digital boards featuring ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs, along with explanatory text, images and drawings. Participants are encouraged to pay a voluntary entry fee in the form of a donation to the Helpful Engineering initiative to produce and distribute open source PPE.

Entries will be judged on their feasibility, cost, sustainability, originality, creativity and ‘how it suits the ethos of climate and community activism.’ A public vote will also be held to determine the winning concepts.

The deadline for applications has been extended to 28 July.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Email: info@lockdownfestivalofarchitecture.org

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