04.18.06 Competition Semifinalists

Twenty-eight young professionals have spent the past several weeks reading and selecting 30 essays to advance to Stage Two of the 2006 ArchVoices Essay Competition. As in past years, it has been proven to be a difficult task, with the 140 submissions invoking a wide range of perspectives, passions, and inspirations about the future of architectural practice.

While only 30 essays can be selected to advance, all 140 submissions deserve your time and attention, and the critical thought and ideas contained in them enhance the fabric of the profession. The essays are available to read on the competition website, and through this Friday you can cast your own votes for the Readers' Choice awards.

Congratulations to the semifinalists below, and congratulations to all the competition entrants who took the time to put pen to paper and share their thoughts with the world.

1. Competition Overview
2. Semifinalists
3. Selection Criteria
4. Stage Two
5. Readers' Choice Voting Ends Friday
6. Special Thanks
7. Other Writing Opportunities

1. Competition Overview

For Stage One, young professionals were challenged to write a 500-word proposal for a longer essay on the following multi-part question:

As the opportunities and demands of architectural practice evolve, entrants are asked to propose a mission statement and an action plan for an architectural practice of the 21st century. Will such an endeavor maintain current methods or redefine practice, as we have known it? What will be the key challenges? Will it be a singular entity or comprised of multiple components? Who will this practice serve and how will it sustain itself? How might the skill set acquired through architectural education and training, technology and material developments, and collaboration with related fields play a role in such a 21st century architectural practice, if at all?

Visit http://www.archvoices.org/competition for more information.

2. Semifinalists

The essay competition committee identified 30 of the 140 entrants as semifinalists. In addition to the URL corresponding to each semifinalist, all 140 essays are accessible from the Essays page of the competition website, and available for your perusal and reference.

Snow White and the Solution
Zachary Benedict | AB417 | Fort Wayne, IN

Personalize Your Own Manifesto
Jennifer Bonner | David Chipperfield Architects | London, UK

Designing the World's Future
Brandy Brooks | Boston Architectural Center | Somerville, MA

The Development of the Profession through not-for-profit
Timothy Burke | Grater Architects | Fairport, NY

Cracks in the pavement – selling the quiet revolution
Eleanor Chapman | Camberwell, Australia

Arch-collector: The Latent Possibilities of Association
Allison Coley | Rhode Island School of Design | Palmdale, CA

Not Just A Day at the Office: THE ARCHITECTURE PRINCIPAL IN 2020
Scott Cryer | Nagle Hartray Danker Kagen McKay Penney | Chicago

Acronyms of the Long Since Dead
Adelaide Dawn | Brooklyn, NY

dogm Architecture
John Dorlini | Circle Design Studio | Staunton, VA

Taco Bell: A Teaching Firm Treasure
Marie Eittreim | Adkins, TX

What Architecture Wants
Dillon Ellefson | University of Idaho | Moscow, ID

“Being the Elephant”
Maria Gavieres | New York, NY

A New Breed of Collaborative
Daniel Gillis | DLR Group | Omaha, NE

Expert Generalist
Will Hall | Lord Aeck Sargent | Atlanta, GA

The renaissance firm
Garrett Harabedian | Chicago, IL

Abstract for a mission statement
Richard Haskell | New York, NY

Increasing Efficiency in the Professional
Zachary Heineman | R-10 | San Francisco, CA

To Thrive
Michelle Holter | Group II Architects | Sioux Falls, SD

Research, Invention and Collaboration
Erik Kath | Hillier Architecture | New York, NY

Architecture of Immigration :: Borders of the 21st Century
Rudy Lopez | University of Texas | Arlington, TX

Archtivism: design activism and the integrated practice of making place
Aaron Maret | Sonoma, CA

Make Architecture Relevant
Christopher Mulvey | Moshe Safdie and Associates | Jamaica Plain, MA

Abstract: Immeasurable Value The Role of Architecture within the Construction Industry and the Community
Marnie Pardee | Merrick Architecture | Vancouver, BC

The Weather Report
Aaron Plewke | Jacksonville, FL

Reclaiming Cultural Relevance
Jonathan Powers | McGill University | Montreal, Quebec

Michael Rickman | R4 Process | Temple, GA

The World is Wide, and a Web: 'Staples' of the Architecture Office
Andrea Ruedy | Harvard Green Campus Initiative | Cambridge, MA

Cultural Consulting
Steve Schwenk | Arlington, VA

Poetics and Methodology
Norman Smith | Durham, NC

Satellite-based Collaboration
Richard Wilson | Hailey Johnson Architects | Austin, TX

3. Selection Criteria

All 140 Stage One essay proposals were blind reviewed by three members of the competition committee. Essays were evaluated on a scale from 1-5 using the following criteria. Reviewers were asked to provide the authors with specific feedback and to make recommendations for further development of the thoughts expressed, regardless of whether the author was identified as a semifinalist.

Does the essay address the multi-part question of the competition? Is it informative and insightful about the future of architectural practice? Does it demonstrate critical thought or exploration?

Does the essay demonstrate originality or creativity in the approach taken to discuss the questions? Does the author express a unique perspective, use personal experiences to creatively illustrate the points being made, or otherwise approach the issues in an original manner?

Clarity & Coherence
How does the piece read as a whole? Is it focused, clear, and coherent (regardless of specific content)? Does it flow well, and is it enjoyable to read?

Grammar & Spelling
Does the essay follow standard conventions of grammar and spelling? Does it demonstrate precision and care in word use, development of phrasing, and use of punctuation?

Overall Recommendation
What is your overall evaluation of the essay?

4. Stage Two

For Stage Two, the 30 semifinalists will be challenged to expand their original 500-word essays to approximately 2,000 words by 9pm (PST), Friday, May 19, 2006.

Finalist essays will be judged by a distinguished jury composed of Dr. Ted Landsmark, President & CEO of The Boston Architectural Center; John Peterson, principal of Peterson Architects and founder and chair of Public Architecture; Leon van Schaik, innovation professor of architecture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Louis B. Smith Jr., founding principal of Ascent Design PC and vice-chair of the AIA Small Practitioners Knowledge Community; and Katie Swenson, co-founder and Executive Director of the Charlottesville Community Design Center.

5. Readers' Choice Voting Ends Friday

You are invited to cast your own votes for up to three essays that you find to be the most intriguing, provocative, or well-written. To vote, visit the Readers' Choice page. Voting will close on Friday, April 21 at 9pm (PST).

The authors of the ten essays with the most votes will receive a book trio of The Ethical Architect; Good Deeds, Good Design; and Proceed and Be Bold: Rural Studio After Samuel Mockbee, all compliments of Princeton Architectural Press.

6. Special Thanks

All of our reviewers spent many long hours reading through essays, and we thank them for their hard work and dedication. Without their efforts, the competition would not be possible.

Effie Bouras | Tempe, AZ
John Cary | San Francisco, CA
Jessie Chapman | Charlottesville, VA
Raymond Dehn | Minneapolis, MN
Elizabeth Donoff | New York, NY
Anthony Enright | Minneapolis, MN
Jonathan Evans | Charlottesville, VA
Steven Feast | Perth, Australia
Kathryn Friedman | Boston, MA
R. Todd Gabbard | Manhatten, KS
Basia Glinski | Williamstown, MA
Bryan Hudson | Chicago, IL
Tom Hussey | Cambridge, MA
Amy Isenburg | St. Louis, MO
Malika Kirkling | Seattle, WA
Rachel Levitt | Cambridge, MA
Beth Lundell | New York, NY
Catherine Lux | Washington, DC
Matt Ostanik | Des Moines, IA
Tamara Redburn | Williamton, MI
Sanjit Roy | Baltimore, MD
Trinity Simons | Washington, DC
Adrianne Steichen | San Francisco, CA
Tom Trenonlone | Omaha, NE
Kathryn Underwood | Sydney, Australia
Wendy Wan | New York, NY
Jess Wendover | San Francisco, CA
Valeria Wyda | Asheville, NC

7. Other Writing Opportunities

The ArchVoices Essay Competition is intended to encourage, promote, and reward critical thinking and writing--two traditionally under-emphasized areas of architectural education and training. Our hope, however, is that we can also raise awareness of opportunities for young professionals to share their aspirations, ideas, and thoughts through writing--well beyond the confines of this grassroots competition.

The competition website Resources page has been updated with a range of opportunities including print and online publications. The majority of these publications welcome unsolicited submissions in the form of book reviews, critiques, letters to the editor, interviews, design projects, etc., and we encourage you to contact them.

Keep writing.

ArchVoices is an independent, nonprofit organization and think tank on architectural education, internship, and licensure.

Comments? We welcome your thoughts by email at editors@archvoices.org.