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Thursday, May 6th, 2021

International Design Competition Launched in Canada to Intervene in Borders

CBDX: BORDERLANDS brings political, geological, social, and other boundaries into sharp focus
CBDX: BORDERLANDS brings political, geological, social, and other boundaries into sharp focus
CBDX: BORDERLANDS brings political, geological, social, and other boundaries into sharp focus | Image © SAPL

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) at the University of Calgary has launched its second international design ideas competition, asking: How can designers intervene in borders?

Borders are spaces of transition. Whether political and imposed through human agency, or natural and made manifest through geographical features, borders are associated with civilization’s greatest challenges. How we choose to choreograph and intersect these transitional spaces will reveal much about our priorities.

The competition asks entrants to consider the opportunities, challenges, and complexities latent within borders and propose new paradigms. Participants can choose any type of border, define a friction that presents a programmatic opportunity, and propose a design that impacts the agents (human or otherwise) that are affected, influenced, or in proximity to that border.

2050 Lagos Amphibious City, CITIES FOR ALL winner
2050 Lagos Amphibious City, CITIES FOR ALL winner | Image © Gi Chul Choe and Joanne Li

As humanity wakes from the immobility that has been imposed by the pandemic, the relationships that govern our world will look much different than those of just one year ago. In this transitionary phase to new tomorrows, borderlands hold immense potential as microcosms of civilization. This competition tackles a timely topic that seeks to examine urgent questions.” - Alberto de Salvatierra, assistant professor with the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape and CBDX chair. 

Converging crises over the past year including the global pandemic, racial divides, geopolitical conflict, and the climate emergency demand a clear focus on society’s challenges and vulnerabilities.

Vesicular Cities, CITIES FOR ALL finalist
Vesicular Cities, CITIES FOR ALL finalist | Image © Alana Kerr, Danielle Kim, Edward Park

Confronted with an unprecedented number of calamities and injustices, we need to reconsider how design can challenge the nature of borders and participate in their reconsideration. We have a responsibility to understand and shepherd positive future change that questions and potentially bridges these lines of division. We’re pleased with the ideas generated from our previous competition, CITIES FOR ALL, which speculated on new approaches for equitable, diverse, and inclusive cities; we challenge everyone — including designers, planners, policy-makers, humanitarians, and social scientists — to respond to the global condition of borderlands.” - Dr. John L. Brown, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape.

Above the Clouds, CITIES FOR ALL finalist
Above the Clouds, CITIES FOR ALL finalist | Image © Yiying Tang, Shijia Liu, Yucheng Gao

CBDX: BORDERLANDS - The Jury

  • Luis Callejas, Director and Founder, LCLA Office (Medellin, Colombia) and Professor of Landscape Architecture, Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Oslo, Norway)
  • Danika Cooper, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley (Berkeley, USA)
  • Clare Lyster, Founder and Principal, CLUAA and Associate Professor of Architecture, UIC School of Architecture (Chicago, USA)
  • Dima Rachid, Founding Partner, Studio Libani and Lecturer at the American University of Beirut (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Lola Sheppard, Founding Partner, Lateral Office (Toronto, Canada) and Professor, University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Canada)
  • Rania Ghosn, Founding Partner, Design Earth and Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, MIT (Cambridge, USA)
  • Niall Kirkwood, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Harvard GSD (Cambridge, USA)
  • Alberto de Salvatierra, Director, Center for Civilization and Assistant Professor of Urbanism and Data in Architecture, University of Calgary SAPL (Calgary, Canada)
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