International Architecture Competition

Charlie Hebdo
Portable Pavilion

Results

Foreword

Competition organisers

Charlie Hebdo 
Portable Pavilion

The Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion competition calls for the design of a mobile structure to support and promote the principle of free speech. The circumstances surrounding the competition and the demands of the brief are perhaps as profound as the event it responds to. As a portable pavilion, the structure is temporary, yet is required to embody the longevity of cultural memory as well as a universal value. With respect to architecture, such temporality calls into question customary paradigms traditionally employed to memorialize an institution, event, or principle — those of monumentality, semiotics, and metaphor. Most of all, the competition challenges conventional assumptions of free speech in contemporary culture and society — specifically, what makes speech free and how much of it comes at a cost.

Common questions and disciplinary threads entwine the projects submitted — most specifically, typology and context. Successful projects overcame instinct and impulse, and challenged paradigms of liberty and free speech through architectural media of space, material, and form. The jury showed preference to projects demonstrating distinct characteristics including establishment of a clear conceptual, architectural position with respect to a social ideal; engagement with the public as both individual and collective; clarity of circulation, sequence, and narrative; and reconciliation between the abstract and theoretical with the physical and real. The jury was sensitive to the various positions and assumptions underlying the conceptual framework of each project, particularly between adopted or prescribed ideological, political, and cultural binaries. Reduction through polemicizing, for instance, democracy with communism does not acknowledge the increasing grey areas of capitalism’s penchant for surveillance and influence of plutocratic media organizations, therefore establishing opposition to dogma rather than achieve productive discourse. The projects selected, contribute to this discourse through architectural speculation.

Competition results in media publications

1st Prize Winner

Project name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Authors

Aurélie Monet Kasisi
Anouk Dandrieu

Switzerland

Why do you enter architecture
competitions?

Architecture vision competitions bring contemporary issues to the public arena. They invite us to continue the internal dialogue that questions and redirects thinking in the realm of architecture. As architects, it is a unique opportunity to enrich our practice by not only giving an answer to specific and pragmatic matters, but also using our creativity to seek for radical, utopian or more playful scenarios through research and experimentation. It gives us the chance to be critical about the world and to supplement the practice of our discipline with a heightened self-consciousness.

Jury commentary

The success of the first place proposal lies in its careful selection, organization, and representation of autonomous archetypes, liberating the pavilion from politically biased signifiers oft assumed through architectural form. The positivity of the architecture and representation creates a sense of no-place (Utopia), allowing the pavilion to proclaim itself in any environment, culture, and situation as a platform for liberated speech.

The easel is the principle component of the pavilion. Organized in a striated, but ordered field condition, the easel provides canvases for individual expression. Nodes of concentrated activity are carved out of the field to create larger social platforms for collective discourse and dialogue. Despite the openness of the relative field, the easel is deployed as a series of walls without ceilings. These barriers simultaneously enclose the individual while relating them to the whole. Tectonically, and through representation, the project embodies a virtue of innocence, inherent also to the ideal of free speech. Instead of memorializing imagery as an archive, the architecture itself embodies and perpetuates the spirit of expression Charlie Hebdo fosters.


2nd Prize Winner

Project name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Authors

Shuzhi Yang
Yupeng He
Liwei Yu

China

Why do you enter architecture
competitions?

The Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion competition was too interesting to let us pass up doing it. Because we’ve never had freedom of speech, it’s very difficult for us to solve these problems. How to emphasis the importance of freedom of speech? Should the pavilion be light or heavy? Finally, I let the contradiction and paradox coexist, just like the “conflict” in movie’s play. Therefore, the interests and challenges are the wave that pushes us ahead.

Jury commentary

The second prize is awarded to a project distinguished by succinct, profound clarity. The project is described through objective form, the primitive geometries of a sphere and plane, diagrammed a circle and line. The proposal is actualized through a buoyant, spherical balloon which holds aloft a steel roof. The glowing orb floats high above the plaza, framed against the sky, while below, visitors meander beneath the tenuous weight of the suspended steel canopy. This suspended ceiling defines an empty terrain in a public space, which has the potential to serve as a collective platform for social engagement, or a space of individual contemplation.

As a pavilion, the archetypal figures of a sphere and plane render meaning through analogous contrast: between one another as objects, and the site and viewer as subjects. Through this dichotomy the project engages both the metaphysical and metaphoric — the lightness of an ideal, and the weight, burden, and responsibility of its reality. Importantly, the proposal seeks a certain monumentality, recalling visions of the French enlightenment architects like Étienne- Louis Boullée and Claude Ledoux. Through universal form, and with gravity as its medium, the proposal monumentalizes an enlightened ideal while paying homage to the sacrifices made by those who have pursued it.


3rd Prize Winner

Project name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Authors

Luca Longagnani
Alexine Sammut
Marta Fernandez Guardado

Germany

Why do you enter architecture
competitions?

Because competitions give the architect a very uncommon and unsafe freedom where a dialogue is initiated, not with clients or investors, but with themselves, working as a kind of exorcism where his passions, obsessions, fears, whims... come to light. Competitions help us to know ourselves better.

Jury commentary

The third place proposal transcended the veil of ideology seen throughout the entries, established binaries between cultures, economic systems, and political regimes, through its adept handling of a universalizing architecture of silence as an appropriate response to the events in Paris on January 7th, 2015. A wall, circular in plan and punctured by single door separates the interior from the site and the city. Two off-center circular walls within create a series of nested interiors: a liminal ambulatory of expansion and contraction, an open zone of collective engagement, and finally an enclosed sanctuary. The mirrored exterior simultaneously reflects back its environment and renders it other in its context. The interior materials are matte and plain, strewn with occasional chairs, evoking the banal construction of an industrial space and opening the architecture for potential use, not prefigured function. These architectural strategies create a series of spaces, each one step further removed from the its socio-political realm and symbolically establishing its own territory of discussion, contemplation, and reflection.


Honorable mentions

VIEWclose HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Project Name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Country

United States

Project authors

Alfred To
Lily Wubeshet

Project Name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

University

Pukyong national university
+52 points!

Country

South Korea

Project authors

Sanghyeon Kim
Yukyung Lee

Project Name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Company

Uab arkilida

Country

Lithuania

Project authors

Jonas Lideikis
Tomas Skripkiūnas

Project Name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Country

Lithuania

Project authors

Vaida Iziumova
Edita Bruzikaite
Mindaugas Mykolas Bucas
Mantas Cekaitis

Project Name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Country

Germany

Project authors

Giacomo Nuesslein
Benedict Esche

Project Name

Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion

Country

France

Project authors

Boris Hilderal

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