November 8, 2012
by Marvine Pierre Assoc. AIA

The panelists discuss ENYA’s “The Harlem Edge|Cultivating Connections” Ideas Competition.

Marvine Pierre

Event: Insider Information: How to Succeed in Design Competitions
Location: Center For Architecture, 10.11.12
Organizers: AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA)
Speakers: Tyler Caine, LEED AP, 2012 ENYA Ideas Competition “Harlem Harvest|Cultivating Connections” second place team; Behrang Behin, Assoc. AIA, 2010 “City of Dreams: Living Pavilion” – first place team; Ian Gordon, RA, 2008 ENYA Ideas Competition “South Street Seaport: Re-Envisioning the Urban Edge” second place; and Richard Sarrach, Adjunct Professor, Pratt Institute
Moderators: Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, AIANY Assoc. Director, and Sean Rasmussen, Assoc. AIA

The Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) is responsible for organizing several competitions such as “Figment: City of Dreams Pavilion” and the “ENYA Biennial Ideas Competition.” The committee recently held a panel discussion on how to succeed in design competition, an event offering emerging architects the opportunity to learn about competition strategies from design experts.

The panelists included: Tyler Caine, LEED AP, who won third place in the 2008 Ideas Competition, and first place in the Gowanus Lowline Competition in 2011; Ian Gordon, RA, who won second place in the 2008 Ideas Competition; Behrang Behin, Assoc. AIA, who won first place in the 2010 City of Dreams Pavilion; and Richard Sarrach, a professor at Pratt University who has participated and won a number of competitions.

The discussion covered strategies such as selecting which competitions to enter, selecting teammates for the project, designing the presentation layout, and managing time and funds. All of the panelists agreed that awards are important when selecting a competition to enter, including how much publicity a winning project might gain. The panelists also agreed that emerging and experienced architects should treat high-pressure competitions as integral to developing necessary skills as an architect.

“You have to invest in a competition just like you would your college education,” said Professor Sarrach, responding to a question regarding high competition entry fees for recent graduates. “You are investing in yourself.”

Moderators Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Sean Rasmussen, Assoc. AIA, also described the committee’s experience with designing the competition brief and materials, and shared insights into what they look for in project entries. The event was successful in providing emerging architects an opportunity to discuss strategies and gain the confidence needed to be successful in their next design competition venture.

Marvine Pierre, Assoc. AIA, holds a professional Bachelor’s degree in architecture, is a member of the ENYA Committee, and a contributing writer to e-Oculus.

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