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UIA Celebration of Cities Competition Exhibition

UIA Celebration of Cities Competition Exhibition

25 May, 2004

The International Union of Architects (UIA) initiated the Celebration of Cities Competition and Consultation, contending that: "The city is a fundamental and universal human creation. It is a unique center for social life as well as individual and collective fulfilment. The frantic, irreversible urban growth that societies throughout the world have experienced over the past few decades has caused a transformation of cities and agglomerations, which rarely corresponds to inhabitants' legitimate needs, expectations and aspirations."

The competition aimed to encourage architects to undertake real actions to support cities and their municipal authorities through concrete projects designed to improve the local lifestyle and give back to cities their qualities, and their capacity to develop communication, solidarity and creativity. This celebration also offered architects an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and know-how by playing the leading role in a practical and sustainable renaissance of the world's cities. Its objective was to create a global database of inventive ways to repair and heal the nerve points of the city, thus opening the way to a more generalised improvement that will be felt in the long term.

The Celebration of Cities Competition was conducted internationally by member institutes - here, the New Zealand Institute of Architects Inc (NZIA). It culminates in open consultations and presentations to the winners at the UIA Congress in Istanbul in July 2005. Universally, the competition commenced in 2003 with two categories, one for architects and one for students of architecture. The competition involved three stages: local, national, and international. All projects were adjudicated anonymously.

The programme was created by, and reflects the philosophy of the current UIA President Jaime Lerner - architect, three times Mayor of the world-acclaimed Brazilian city of Curitiba and presently its Governor. It is his demonstrated conviction that architects and urban designers, by their civic enthusiasm, their understanding of people's activities and environments, their research abilities and strategic vision talents and by their comprehensive design skills, can make a real difference in the pursuit of enlightened city leadership and evolution. In its global reach, this competition is an opportunity to participate in a global dialogue on urban design.

Jaime Lerner who visited to New Zealand last November, also conveys the message that local politicians are potentially the most effective people to make and sustain the changes our cities need. Accordingly, the Celebration of Cities Competition sought the commitment of city Mayors and Councils as well as their professional officers. It also offered a chance for these leading people to see what architects can do.

The competition brief spoke of 'urban acupuncture' - small actions with big outcomes. In today's' climate of concerns for urban dysfunction, balance and quality, opportunities like this to show design vision and design possibilities can make a real contribution to our cities' future. The topics were selected to enable architects and students of architecture to depict their triggering ideas simply, and then to project the design outcomes of these.

Prizes for the Celebration of Cities Competition included: * 1 grand prize of 5,000 Euro per category (architect or student) for the best overall project * 1 prize of 1,000 Euro per UIA Region (5 in total) in each category (architect or student) * 2 honourable mentions per UIA Region (5 in total) in each category (architect or student) New Zealand Project Options

The Project Options devised for New Zealand - being those supported by the municipal authorities of North Shore City, Manukau City, Wellington City, Dunedin City and Invercargill City - all have the willing commitment of their respective Mayors. In turn, their assigned Executive Officials, Planners and Urban Designers have all contributed to the process of identifying opportunities, priorities and resources for the projects.

Four of the Competition Briefs are aimed at encouraging a certain ingredient of urban structure, namely, a vibrantly peopled town 'transept', the scarcity of which in most of our present grown up town-centres is partly due to a two-directionality of their origins, coupled with the effects of some durable fixations about private, motorized shopping access.

Town-centre elaboration, arising from a ' transept's contribution of a third and fourth direction in it, should enable a more inclusive environment, supportive of a variety of kinds of movement or of shopping or eating or doing business, or, just being-in-town.

The 'transept' idea, and indeed Jaime Lerner's Competition theme of 'acupuncture', are both offered as community enlisting measures or releasing catalysts for urban rejuvenation and the elaboration of public life. These measures pertain to urban 'anatomical health' or function. They are mainly instrumental, facilitating measures.

But pervading them - indeed enriching them as prompts - are the inherent, local characterising issues of history, place, contemporary spirit and technology - the other stuff of architecture.

Some of this - for example, the natural and settlement history, the existing conditions and developments, as well as currently planned visions, strategies and actions for each center - were all made available to competition registrants.

NZIA Competition Results

New Zealand city entries were adjudicated on Wednesday 11 February 2004. >From these, two submissions (one addressing the North Shore City brief and the other addressing the Invercargill City brief) were selected as New Zealand Representatives on Friday 13 February 2004 These two anonymous selections were sent to Paris for the International Competition. UIA Competition Results

The anonymity of selected entrants was lifted on Friday 19 March 2004 at the UIA Headquarters in Paris.

The two New Zealand Representatives were:

McCulloch Architects (Brent Knight and John McCulloch) who responded to the Invercargill City competition brief

Craig Craig Moller Auckland Ltd (Gordon Moller, Craig Moller, Blair Farquhar, Jason Dobbs, Mathew Brown, Aaron Paterson and Jonathan Gibb) who responded to the North Shore City competition brief.

Craig Craig Moller Auckland Ltd was also the New Zealand recipient of an Honourable Mention, Region IV. This was awarded by the international jury for their exciting response to the North Shore City Brief.

This is a wonderful international recognition - as much for Craig Craig Moller Auckland Ltd as for Mayor George Wood and his supporting Urban Design and Planning Officials - one that can be duly celebrated by viewing it, together with the other NZ entries, at this exhibition.

This winning entry will again be displayed and its urban design initiatives debated, in July 2005, at the UIA's biennial conference in Istanbul, where, in the presence of thousands of delegates from the world community of architects, an exchange of ideas will occur about successful design proposals from the Celebration of Cities Competition. During this occasion, award-winning architects and associated mayors will consult, discover and adopt more confident strategic visions for their own and others' urban evolutions. Naturally, this consultation will also afford a more graphic realisation, not only of viable options for designed city improvements, but also of effective and accountable political means of enactment. The Exhibition

An exhibition of all New Zealand entries will be launched tonight (Tuesday 25 May, 2004) in Auckland at the Britomart Transport Centre. The exhibition will continue until Tuesday 15 June. Afterwards, it will tour the participating New Zealand cities.


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