An unexpected recognition – entering a competition without a conscious direction

Debates, long conversations, good laughs, misunderstandings, long nights and days and common cooking. Doing a competition is almost like a summer camp with the beauty of architecture slowly overtaking forming an inevitable field of a battles with opposing views. It requires patience and openness. Once it is achieved though, a new understanding and new perspective on your processes is developed.

Aleks, Andrew, Cameron and I were done with our first years when the idea of taking part in a competition came up. Some of us were recovering from the struggle of finishing our projects in a challenging, out-worldly experience. While the rest were commencing forming their summer plans – finally, the restrictions were allowing some to happen.

As inexperienced as we were – not participating in a competition before – we jumped into the large number of competitions. Once we entered this world, their was no way to get out. We found all possibilities exciting, enriching. Very much different to the briefs we encountered with in our first year. These were leaving us in the dark, not giving any directions. First it seemed like a big step forward, soon we had to realize that we are free to choose what and how we want to achieve. We started to bring in ideas about designing on the Mars, cities for animals and of a floating transport system. It was all new to us bringing us to an unobstructed world of ideas.

Comparing it to architectural school, the competition was very much about allowing to think outside of the possibilities we have/ of the ideas someone has put forward. It was about developing our own thinking. It pushed us to go beyond our research of architectural projects. To see what is out there and abstract it.

By entering into the competition Reimagining Museums for Climate Action, we stepped into something much bigger than we have thought. It was a project entitled to revision sustainable cultural centres for COP26. Bring in new ideas about a way to educate, to raise awareness and give voices to the public. We did not realize what we end up immersing ourselves into until the project outcomes were published. We reached a recognition. We were published.

Looking back from almost a year far from our submission, we were explorative and conceptual. We started from an unrealistic world and brought it into reality. We were not in our conscious mindset. We were making. Relying very much on our intuitive.

Design does not have to be about pursuing someone else’s ideas and beliefs. It is about developing your own thinking. Your own interpretations based on your experience. Everyone has their own images of the world. We store these carefully in our collections. Without using these, we lose the leading force of architecture – empathy.

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