Last night, the fourth annual Fairy Tales Competition—organized by online architecture platform Blank Space— announced this year's top three winners at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Selected from over 60 project submissions, Last Day by Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.–based Ukranian architect Mykhailo Ponomarenko came in first place, with City Walkers by Chicago-based Terrence Hector in second, and Up Above by Paris-based architects Ariane Merle d’Aubigné and Jean Maleyrat in third. Winners are awarded a total prize of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000, respectively. The jury also gave out an American Institute of Architects Students (AIAS) prize to Maria Syed and Adriana Davis as the highest scoring entry in that category, as well as announced 10 honorable mentions overall. Select projects will be featured in the fourth print edition of Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells a Story.
"The Fairy Tales competition has become a repository of the social and environmental issues that are at the forefront of everyone’s mind on a yearly basis," says a press release by Blank Space. "They capture the zeitgeist of the year in highly imaginative, and sometimes tongue-in-cheek ways." Last year's winner was Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig's Welcome to the 5th Façade, which tells the story of a cryogenically frozen architect who wakes up in a future that is both familiar and alien.
This year's jury comprised over 20 architects, designers, and journalists including Jing Liu, principal of SO-IL; Alan Maskin, principal of Olson Kundig; Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum; and Robert Hammond, founder of The Highline nonprofit.
Last Day by Mykhailo Ponomarenko
From the architect: “Landscapes have always inspired me to put something weird, unreal and out of human scale into them. Something not feasible and not practical that contrasts with the natural surroundings, but also exists at the same scale. These satirical interventions lead to new ideas and feelings about nature – they make the viewer more aware about the environment and our harmful impact on it. We are flat surface creatures. Sometimes I feel that we crave it so much that the planet is going to be turned into pavement so cars can go anywhere, and our industries could continue expanding. The 'Saturn Rings' in my proposal represent these flat surface desires but in a more poetic, optimistic, and friendly manner.”
City Walkers by Terrence Hector
From the architect: “The city in this story was an exploration of civilization and urbanism as humanity’s relationship with natural and biological systems that exist on a vastly longer timescale than the human lifespan. Creating a closer relationship time-wise between human and natural timeframes let me derive a new urban typology, which also acts as a parable of overexploitation. I was trying to work through an inferred genealogy from the USS Monitor to Hayao Miyazaki, working through a tradition of humanizing massive, aggressive machines.”
Up Above by Ariane Merle d’Aubigné and Jean Maleyrat
From the architects: “The short narrative takes a look at reality through the marvelous and the fantastic. We have tried to highlight contemporary issues and concerns by letting the supernatural burst into reality. Migration, the accumulation of wealth, overpopulation, the terrorist threat and pollution are some of the issues with which we live every day. We highlighted these concerns and our love of art through this poetic tale. Our generation often aspires to an 'elsewhere,' in our 'elsewhere' the rules of the game have changed.”
Playing House by Maria Syed and Adriana Davis
From the architects: “Playing House embodies the idea that architecture can eclipse the personality of its occupants, where the character and style of the architecture dictate the mood of the inhabitants. The loud textures and discordant angles of the home sparked the idea for the story: transitioning from room to room manifests itself in drastic physical and psychological change. The drawings, the genesis of our submission, address architectural conventions of projection drawings, merged with the unconventional appearance of the home to create friction. This act is mirrored in the story, where a typical visit from a neighbor turns peculiar. The two creators of this project worked closely throughout their undergraduate career, creating an inseparable partnership for their first collaboration.”