And the new White House is…

The White House Redux competition results have been announced!

First Prize: #834
J.P. Maruszczak, Ryan Manning (assistant), Roger Connah

Second Prize: #1485
David Iseri, Jefferson Frost, Justin Kruse, Laura Sperry

Third Prize (Shared):
Grant Gibson, Chris-AnnMarie Spencer
Wayne Congar, Arrielle Assouline-Lichten

Honorable Mention: #892
Pieterjan Ginckels, Julian Friedauer

Congratulations to all the winners – and a gigantic thanks to everyone who participated.
It was a lengthy, but very, very fun jury process, as partially documented in the video, below, and I have about half-a-million things I still want to add to the discussion, but I’ll wait until the popular vote is announced on October 3 before putting up a longer post.

[Image: The White House Redux jury meeting for a quick breakfast on the Die Hard-like unfinished 45th floor of World Trade Center 7 in New York; photo by Marty Hyers].

Meanwhile, watch the jury deliberate at the end of the day (it was dark outside before we all left the building):

It’s interesting to watch this and the vox populi poll back to back:

More soon.

38 thoughts on “And the new White House is…”

  1. Just about the worst of the crop chosen for 1st- would have been more expected if they actually (call me crazy here) but actually did something along the lines of what the contest both implied, and was about.

  2. The first-prize winner is quite inscrutable. (What the heck is iDeath?) Maybe in the book it will be clearer what is going on (with words more legible than they are on-line). Or maybe we will have to have Geoff explain it to us…

  3. I am also so unconvinced about the results and juries talks. Honestly, I am a little embarrassed hearing juries are talking about “politics” in a too literal way. Looking at the small images I might miss something important and need to see more clear images and texts in the book. I think I, even on youtube, saw more intersting entries which I cannot see in the finalists. I hope to see those entries in the book, too, and to be convinced about the juries choices.

  4. I have to admit that, upon a brief reading of the text and viewing of the video, I do not understand the winning entry. That, of course, means that I cannot pass judgment on it’s success or failure (by my definition).

    I do want to congratulate all the participants as well as the organizers and judges for the completion of a very intriguing competition! I am very eager to check out the book and, perhaps before that, read about the experience of judging the competition here!

  5. The results of this competition can be compared to the Wallstreet speculation stock market. Big directors, big business, large projection world, great intellectual analysis ,…. until someone notices that we are bankrupt … An economy fails, a series of unsuccessful wars, and a culture in bankruptcy proceedings. The competition is further proof ….

  6. How can this jury play this role? This competition is a joke. Better not to have waisted time.
    I really cannot belive the results.
    And I really do not want to see the rest of the book.
    Shame on you…..

  7. If they are not sure about Deleuze and Foucault, they shouldn’t have talked about them. Diller is useing their terms like “politics” and “generative” too carelessly. And we all know how literally she had implicitly or explicitly interpreted and used the philosophers’ terms like “folder” and “blur”. It seems same thing happened in this competition, too.

  8. It is too bad people feel like they wasted their time. But you have to know who you are trying to convince. If you looked into the people on the jury, as announced on the website, I think you would have seen they were mostly representing the ‘avant’/artsy/theoretical type of architectural thinking. A design that some American mayor or a voting majority of Americans might pick was never going to win this competition.

    I admit I am a bit disappointed with the 1st prize, at least to the extent I cannot understand it, but I look forward to seeing the book.

    Oh yeah, and — serious question — what does “generative” mean in the context Ms. Diller used it?

  9. Yeah
    I do agree with all the previous comments – I was going to order this but is very very disappointed with the end result 🙁 500 copies that’ll last a long time

  10. Shame on you…..

    Shame on us for… what, organizing a design competition that resulted in some things you don’t like? How dare we do that. Or are you somehow implying that we judges actually authored all of the nearly 500 competition entries – and should therefore be ashamed of ourselves because you don’t like our designs?

    In other words, shame on who for doing what?

    A design that some American mayor or a voting majority of Americans might pick was never going to win this competition.

    Sure – but this implies, first of all, that that’s a bad thing! Yes: let’s build a McMansion covered in American flags – I know that’d be fun. Let’s build a Louis Sullivan-like town hall out of local sandstone. Let’s build something with pillars that can come in on budget and ahead of time – and has plenty of parking in the basement. Great: we’d definitely need an international design competition to come up with ideas like that.

    Second, it sounds like you also think we had some say sort of retroactive influence over what was submitted to us. Are you saying that we deliberately rejected some kind of middle-American neoclassical governor’s mansion because we’re “artsy” types and are so pretentious that we don’t recognize what true Americans want – instead of perhaps coming to the conclusion that no one submitted any middle-American neoclassical governor’s mansions? So how were we supposed to choose something that no one sent to us?

    As it is, the more negative these comments get the more convinced I am that this design competition actually accomplished something both important and interesting: a dozen anonymous commenters might be upset that they didn’t get their big new Dezeen-friendly rendering of a fancy building project that’s all facade and no analysis, but you know what we did get? We got literally hundreds of sophisticated responses to the design brief. These might not have resulted in big, moronic JPGs that everyone can go post onto their own architecture blogs, but there was a surprisingly astute reaction to the competition – and I’m tempted even to say that that’s precisely because of the fact that almost no one went for the big knock-out rendering of some ridiculous Gazprom City-like project.

    Too bad you don’t want to talk about that, though. It’s too “artsy,” right? Architecture is only interesting when it comes with immediately comprehensible images at least 600px wide.

    But, as I say, I’ll be posting my own thoughts about the competition next week, once the popular vote has been announced. I look forward to your feedback then.

  11. Actually, Geoff, my comment about the American mayor was not meant as a criticism of the judging, just a comment on the type of competition that was being held — people who are upset about the judging most likely failed the first test of the competition — know your audience (in this case the judges) and proceed accordingly. The avant/artsy/theoretical type of architecture is the kind I like — that was just a description, not an insult — Lebbeus Woods is pretty much why I like architecture — and nowadays BLDGBLOG. I actually like most of the short list entries viewable on the WH Redux website. But it is true — I just don’t get the first place one (what is iDeath?). And I would like to know what the word “generative” means in this context because I would like to better understand what Diller is saying. I’m not being mean, just wanting to understand the perspective.

  12. i have the same feeling with john maeda & geoff, most entries have these archigram/super studio tactics and the believe in form manipulation to answer the competition… is kind of not so interesting and i'm disappointed…

    one question- why not open up all entries for popular votes? why does it has to be selected by jury for popular votes? i want to see the rest!

    thanks for the effort!

  13. I can understand the situation that there were too many entries to look around and judge the whole entries during just a few hours.
    However, I think, one of critical theoretical mistakes is juries are discussing “politics” in a “poetic” way.

    Maybe, participating in a competition is not a good way to investigate a theoretical idea.

  14. there were too many entries to look around and judge the whole entries during just a few hours.

    Surely, though, more than nine hours spent reviewing the entries in a more or less totally hermetic environment was more attentive than merely glancing at a few JPGs for a couple of minutes and then dismissing the entire competition out of hand?

    Or, for that matter, watching less than ten minutes of a nine-hour, all-day conversation and then deciding on that basis alone that one of the jurors makes no sense and should be singled out for insult?

  15. good slave 好奴隸,

    I would rather not,
    That’s pointless except for the self-consolation.

    I have no regret about this competition and don’t even want to be picked up for the book.

  16. Anonymous> most of the time i found the non-winning entry that sink below deep ocean more interesting… non-winning entries are part of the attraction in a competition, dun u agree?

  17. for some reason, i couldn’t see the rest in this competition… strange… may be for white house security reason or some hyper theoretical threat to this nation! ha…

  18. totally agreed with good slave

    one of main reason why commentors are not satisfied with the result
    is because we don’t get to review the all entries. Moreover, to become a true meaning of popular vote, the public should select from whole list not the ones that chosen by the juries. And the public is smart enough to do so.

  19. For what it’s worth, I have no idea why all the entries have not been made available for public voting. The jury, as far as I remember, did not choose a list of entries that the public would be “allowed” to see – so I have to assume that it has something to do with quantity.

  20. Congratulations on competition and the effort, but I must say that the results are too bizarre to be able to ask “How could the White House look like if it were built today?”. Calling the work selected architecture is an artifice of language. I think the big issue is that. I would call an artistic intervention, with no program and no function. The projects, a large number of them or whether they approach a chance to tolerate a way that a function. They are texts, images, or intervention policy with a pseudo-aesthetic desconstrutivist, … But I regret architecture is not that … What is even more strange is that much of the jury is known to be critical of the architecture and not the art … So should know some basic concepts …
    Knowing that they are simply theorists, critics and opinion makers of, I really liked to have seen something else in the field of architecture than conceptual or philosophical reflections, that this area has no major claims… Even if architecture has an aesthetic, a philosophy …
    So Geoff Manaugh believe it would be very interesting to launch discussion – “What is architecture ?…. a debate that has been done but it never had to have a global dimension as now …
    I also agree that all projects should be open to the public to vote and not only the selection … Thank you…

  21. 1 hour = 60min
    60min x 9hours = 540min

    Assuming you took time out for lunch, breaks, etc…

    You guys spent less than a minute on each project.

    Is that really fair to the contestants who spent months preparing their entries? I understand the jury members are all quite busy, those are some pretty impressive names. However, I am left wondering how in such a limited amount of time you could have reviewed each project?

    I don’t mean this as an attack on the jury members, I’m just trying to understand the judging process.


  22. Too bad you don’t want to talk about that, though. It’s too “artsy,” right? Architecture is only interesting when it comes with immediately comprehensible images at least 600px wide.

    Well, maybe the White House brings just the worst out of everyone and it is entirely beyond re-design? Death by symbolism and arbitrary many meta-levels one can stack upon any particular idea. Space is buried under meaning or "analysis" as you'd say.

    Therefore I don't wonder about the amount of concept art crap being awarded that usually appeals more to intellectual blowhards than to the space & architecture nerds who are likely reading your blog.

  23. What is happening to our profession? i keep seeing more and more competition entries that lean more so toward exercises in diagramming and graphic design than architecture with a capital A. What is this stuff? I agree with the above posts that perhaps the images need to be bigger to fully comprehend, but that doesn’t excuse the absence of… well… a building. This is an increasingly strange and unnerving occurrence in academia and competitions, we see entries with ideas and ambitions that are perhaps avant garde then executed in mundane ways using techniques we have all already seen before (Mr. Gibson and Ms. Spencer’s submission immediately comes to mind here: You’re not mondrian dammit! whats with the boxes? what allusions can i draw from this bogus pixellation that aren’t tackled in first year of arch-school?). I hope that this trend of reducing architecture to some momentary “fashion statement” dies. What ever happened to the profession striving to tackle FUTURE modes of existence. These examples are all stuck in today and yesterday, with the same damned despicable manner that we’ve “lived” for thousands of years, rendered in techniques that we all know will be antiquated very shortly.


  24. The emotions on this site are palpable!

    I understand the people who are emotional over not winning. Not because the competition was judged unfairly, but anyone who stands behind their own entry should believe 1,000% in its value. Even when they are wrong.

    For everyone else, including me, who didn’t enter the competition, there’s no reason to worry about the “state of architecture” etc.

    No competition by an organization that deems to encourage “dialogue” and “interest in contemporary design” could select as a winner a design that was simply architecture. Once an actual feasible building is drawn (or animated, or whatever) it can be criticized on formal, pedestrian, practical, fire-safety, (etc…) levels. This would lower the standing of the sponsoring institution. I am not being facetious.

    The more troubling aspect is the dissociation from and even outright contempt for American culture that many of the entries seem to to have. I say “seem” because it is hard to tell what the entries are actually communicating.

    But many have a cynical/critical/(I’d use the word deconstructionist, but the word has lost all meaning, I think) attitude. This is clearly the attitude desired by the competition organizers. Fine.

    But it also creates a self-contradictory situation. The idea of a house for the leader of a nation-state, in reality, will never be self-reflective. It is a building that is all about the facade of authority and history. It is not about the “true nature of the presidency,” or whatever. Any government building that is true to its conceptual program should idealize the nature of that government and the society it pretends to represent/rule over/tolerate.

    Those ideas can only be explored in competition form – because they have no real relationship to the actual building program (functional or iconographic.)

    The best idea I have is to hold the competition two years into Obama’s first term and see how the attitudes change. I think we’d see many more earnest attempts at projecting American idealism/can-do attitude/niceness, etc.

    In my view, all this has much more to do with the political views of most architects than the commonly held notion that architects stand outside of culture and political life and can somehow “objectively” criticize the rest of society.

    Of course, I do it too! Such is our – and everyone’s – right!

  25. Dear David,

    I agree with everything you wrote on top. However, I think it would be very interesting to use the opportunity created to promote a real debate about architecture, design or art …
    The most intense debates arise when emotions are well live …
    I know it may sound pretentious to promote a debate in this way and that this may not be the best place, history tells us that when the contexts are different (world connected through the Internet) the results can be surprising …

  26. Dear laranja,

    I agree with your opinion.
    However, a real problem in this competition, I think, is that the juries are talking about “politics”, but other people are thinking they are talking about “art”. In my opinion, other people’s viewpoint is more sound than juries’. They are discussing their “poetic prejudice” allegorizing architecture as politician’s politics. Thus, the whole ground of the judgement is be unconvincing.

  27. For what it’s worth, I would say the following: What some might have expected in a competition like this, i.e. that one project would “jump off the walls” and be universally acclaimed as the obvious winner, simply did not happen – and was possibly always unlikely to happen, given the complexity of the subject. Finding 3 or 4 great projects was actually never the intention. It would be a mistake to simply look to the winner(s) to decide if the enormous amount of work that went into this project (both on the part of the particiapnts and organizers) was worthwhile – our real objective was to generate a multitude of ideas, some pragmatic, some poetic, some political, some formalistic, that could together evoke and investigate the incredible complexity of the identity of this building, and thereby the multitude of roles that architecture takes on in society. Our intention was not to find the best but the greatest number of ideas.

    So you might ask, why offer a prize? Perhaps we shouldn’t have. I don’t regret it,though, as I don’t think as much effort would have been expended on trying to really question the possibilities implicit in the brief. That’s the nature of competitions: you take part and you work hard because you have a real chance of winning. Cliched as it sounds, though, I would say to those who didn’t win that they didn’t lose either – if the prizes were the only objective, there are better ways to make money than entering architecture competitions.

    When we set out our ultimate objective was to make an exhibition that showcases as many ideas as possible, not just the winners. The force of this project is in the numbers; alone, any of the projects have weaknesses. For that reason we put as many projects as we could possible afford to into the book (123) and the exhibition (over 150).

    In any case, if you’re anywhere near NYC next Thursday, come along to the opening – there is such a stunning range of projects and ideas that it’ll be difficult to be disappointed.

  28. I appreciate the efforts of Storefront, the jury, and everyone who put thought and energy into their submissions.

    For those of us unable to get to NYC, the admirable and exciting idea of getting “the greatest number of ideas” out there would be more tangible if more (or ideally all) of the submissions could be posted on-line.

    Also, the on-line voting might have been a good idea, but limiting it to 47 out of over 400 really undermined it, making it seem more authoritarian (excluding 80% of the possible choices before the vote) than democratic.

  29. That will be great! Good luck with the reopening and the show. Maybe Control Group could webcast it… I really enjoyed visiting the Storefront when I was in NYC (alerted by BLDGBLOG).

  30. I would love to buy the book if I was sure that my entry was in it. There is no list of entrees published in the book anywhere. There are only 500 copies and by the time that list becomes available there probably would be no copies left to buy.

    This competition was an organizational nightmare.

    -result posted on 20th instead of the 23rd(
    -can’t vote for all of the projects.
    -if one didn’t write down the project number before the registration portal was shut down they will have a hard time looking for they project.
    -web page scrolling is limitless and slow – why not use a scroll bar
    -originally the results were supposed to be posted in may.

    This really draws a good picture of what the architectural community is like – and it is hard to believe that I’m a part of it.

  31. Architecture is only interesting when it comes with immediately comprehensible images at least 600px wide.

    There’s no need to be sarcastic, Geoff. But a page of text really does have limited value if you can’t actually read it. The example pages on the website are so small as to be literally incomprehensible. If there were more than 500 copies of the book and this was just an advert for it I might understand the decision to do it all in show-off Flash that doesn’t actually convey enough information to be worth loading. Implying this opinion makes me some sort of architectural philistine doesn’t exactly help.

  32. I appreciated how the Storefront responded and acknowledged that the organization not gone well. Recognize a mistake is one of the best. I also congratulate Geoff Manaugh across all the effort.

    Anyway I think it would be important to see all the entries. To prove that the work sent were received in good condition …

  33. i know i’m a little late getting on the train here, but were all the contestants who are in the book and the exhibition already notified?

    could you be in the exhibition and not know??


  34. It would be interesting to see that design for the aircraft carrier submission. However, its already been done in D.C!!

    Just pay attention to Dulles airport as you approach the terminal from the highway. The control tower sits neatly on top the long, ship-like body.

    I was also having a time trying to understand some of the submissions, although I’m not an architect or anything.


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