Francine Houben guest at Harvard’s Design Competition Conference
The Design Competition Conference at Harvard Graduate School of Design will review the state of design competitions today and their impact on competitors, sponsors, design, and the public interest. Francine Houben will be one of the panellists of the opening keynote panel on Thursday April 23, 2015 at 6.30pm.
Design competitions are increasingly used to procure the design of, well, just about anything. Governments, philanthropies, advocacy organisations, developers, and even celebrities are offering ever-larger awards and visibility for buildings, landscapes, and products, as well as for solutions to complex economic, social, and ecological problems.
Competitions can mobilise thousands of talented people across disciplines to creatively tackle pressing challenges in publicised — if not public — settings. They can also be wasteful, less-than-fully transparent, and even exploitative.
Using the lens of professional, ethical, business, legal, aesthetic, and public policy perspectives, we’ll ask: do competitions enhance creativity and excellence in the production of built and landscape environments? Do they advance the skills and interests of the designers who participate in the process?
Does the public get to participate and benefit? Do they make for better financial outcomes and, if so, for whom? Are they an ethical method for securing design given the mechanics of the process? Do competitions strengthen or weaken the design professions as a whole? Do they identify new talent? These and other questions will emerge through discussion of cases studies and thematic presentations.
The two-day conference in Cambridge, MA, US is organised and sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Van Alen Institute. The event is free and open to the public.
More information Van Alen