Design an iconic visitor center for Abu Dhabi’s unique wetlands natural reserve
We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of one of our Honorable mentions for the “Silent Meditation Forest Cabins” competition - Zachary Bundy, Nicholas Shekerjian and Elena Rocchi from United States!
Zachary Bundy and Nicholas Shekerjian from United State
Our group was formed one year ago at Arizona State University via professor Elena Rocchi. The three of us decided to work on a local competition together and we have been doing competitions ever since.
Nick is also a faculty assistant in the Environmental Design program at ASU. Zach works on public projects as an intern with BWS Architects in Phoenix. Nick works at Shepley Bulfinch in Phoenix as well. Elena Rocchi is a former Design Director of EMBT in Barcelona. Since 2008, she has made great strides in academia. Since 2013, Prof. Rocchi has been at ASU, where she met Nick and Zach.
Our group has focused on international and local competition projects in Phoenix, Arizona. Our collaborations started via an examination/competition surrounding infill of vacant space in Downtown Phoenix as a method for building identity; an area which has traditionally epitomized “urban sprawl”. In protest to the competition brief, our team did the opposite. We proposed that the subject of infill in Downtown Phoenix was inherently misaligned with the goal of building character or identity in a place which is defined by its vacancy. As such, we chose not to define a method of infill, but rather build an Ark that would protect an emptiness in Downtown Phoenix as a new foundational center which builds a positive public awareness around vacancy.
As a group formed by two native Phoenicians and one Roman, we are constantly studying and fascinated by absence as an effective architectural tool. As a result, architecture for us is the study of how much or how little to effectively mediate and define space and human ritual. Our approach to design starts as an experimentation in how to subvert assumptions surrounding a project which then manifests as architecture.
Competitions are an opportunity for architects to speculate and to develop themselves. Competitions are to architecture as peer review is to other fields; a competition can be a testing ground for design ideas before they are implemented.
Our advice is to participate in competitions for yourself. The goal of a competition is not necessarily to win; it is to test and speculate.