Common Boston Common Build :: Competition Recap

Common Boston Common Build :: Competition Recap
By Anesu Dhliwayo

"T-minus 72 hrs" was what the Common Boston Common Build (CBCB) members said to 8 teams on the evening of June 17th 2010. Challenged with the daunting task of creating a way-finding design for the city of Boston, two teams from Syracuse University, one from Northeastern University, one team of local designers and four teams from the Boston Architectural College proved that impeccable, well crafted designs can be created within a 72 hours with caffeine running through their veins. On the morning of June 20th, clusters of 8 teams scattered around the Federal Reserve Bank and scrambled to finish installing their designs by the 12 pm deadline. With everything in place the judges had the difficult task of selecting the winning design.

David Gamble, recipient of the National 2008 Young Architects Award by the AIA and Principal of Gamble Associates was among the distinguished panel of judges at the competition. I had the chance to converse with him about the competition post awards show. He was thoroughly impressed by, "the quality of craftsmanship given the short span of the competition and the sensitivity on which each of these installations were sited along the Federal Reserve Bank."

Due to the strong design proposals by each team David Gamble admitted that it was difficult for the judges to agree on a winning scheme. "All schemes had different things about them. I mean it was to be expected--there were 8 diverse teams each with a strong, innovative and fresh designs. There we strong contenders but it came down to what merits a winning scheme and team JJAMM had a well rounded design."

When asked which design was the most compelling David Gamble chose Urbascope by Scope: "They had an interactive sculpture that could be used at multiple sites. It was a design I wanted to see developed to the next level." David Gamble expressed his enthusiasm about the Common Boston Competition’s ability to "link designers and neighborhoods to address problems within their communities" and how "teams got together without getting to know each other. As designers," he stated, "we need to be accustomed to working together, debate and advocate for new refreshing designs."

BAC students swept the awards for the competition. Team J&L, Inc. (Jay Underwood and Luis Bolivar) landed the Honorable Mention Award with Framing History, a design that created a window into Boston's history by highlighting a past member of Fort Point Channel, the Boston Tea Party Museum.

The 2nd Place Prize went to Tensegrity by Team Awesome Designs, which included BAC Students Oscar Anderson, Joshua Kirby, and Dan Lear. Their installation was a modern take on a tensile structure that lit up using LEDs to point out landmarks in Fort Point Channel. Judges thought the design was the "definite winner of innovation award for structure" and it "combined the notion of public art with the intent of way-finding."

The winner of the 2010 Common Boston Common Build was team JJAMM (Julio Cedano, Jose Polanco, Anesu Dhliwayo, Matt Martin and Matt Richardson) whose site-specific Multi-Sensory Pathway design installation provided information to its viewers through sight, touch, and sound. Judges critiqued it as a "universal and easily implementable design with an elegant subtlety that improved your sense of space. It wasn't just another sign. The added interest to the benches encouraged me to sit down and they made a place out of nowhere. They [Team JJAMM] were excellent in their approach to universal design and had the best typography that even matched the cities own."

It’s safe to say that BAC students are causing a stir in the CBCB competition. Hopefully the winning streak will continue next year. Rock on BAC! Check out images from the competition in the Common Boston Flickr group.