Ausstellung
Call for Lost Entries: The Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition, 1965-2020

Veranstalter: Chair of Prof. Avermaete
Datum: Mittwoch, 3. November 2021 bis Freitag, 10. Dezember 2021
Ort: gta Exhibitions Foyer (HIL D 50.5), Hönggerberg Campus, ETH Zürich
 

The exhibition ‘Call for Lost Entries: The Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition, 1965-2020’ aims to start a discussion on the effects of incomplete archives on architectural research and to appeal for greater diversity and inclusivity, as well as multiple authorship, in architectural historiography. The topic under scrutiny is the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition (1965-2020), a long-running ideas competition based in Japan that initiated radical ideas on housing in the form of entries received from across the world. Besides fostering a local hub for knowledge exchange on this architectural competition, this exhibition is an explicit call for competition entries that have been lost but are considered crucial to making the history of the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition more global and inclusive. By studying the relationships between the wide range of responses to the brief created by the single judge for each edition of the competition, the exhibition aims to shift attention from the “heroic genius architect” to the valuable contribution of the “minor” voices of other architects, without whom the judge could never have propelled the debate in unforeseen directions. In this exhibition space, we invite you to draw out this collaborative knowledge and cross-cultural exchange of ideas, to engage with the inherent asymmetry at play in this competition and find ways to give much greater visibility to responses from the contestants.

Timeline
This timeline visualizes the enormous investment of energy and ingenuity put into the 48 editions of the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition over a period of 55 years. The exhibition shows the density of applications in relation to each edition’s judge and competition theme, as well as the prize winners and honorable mentions whose competition entries are preserved in the pages of The Japan Architect and Shinkenchiku magazine. The timeline also raises awareness of the vast number of entries that have been lost but are considered crucial in making the history of the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition more global and inclusive. The exhibition asks, what would that history look like if all the contestants of the “blank entries” came forward and re-submitted their work?

Competition Briefs
Unlike the “mediated” briefs that result when a team of organizers or jury members jointly decide on one theme, the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition allows the single judge to choose a competition theme, thereby consciously and even provocatively generating international architectural debate. The 48 competition briefs collected here invite you to find links with the overall trends and tendencies in the global housing debate, to dive into a single competition theme and situate that in a particular context, and to find links between the different competition editions across time.

Competition Entries
The selection of a single master architect as judge and jury—a unique component of this competition—suggests the grand narrative of a heroic architect claiming sole authorship. This exhibition argues just the opposite. While renowned architects as adjudicators have certainly helped the competition succeed, what makes this competition worthwhile as an object of study is the cultural diversity of the entries, and the resultant dialogue between the judge and contestants that plays out on the pages of Shinkenchiku and The Japan Architect. The selection of multiple winners so emblematic of this competition demonstrates that the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition was set up from the start as a platform for discussion rather than a search for a single right answer. Pick up copies of the competition entries for yourself and discover the plurality of multicultural responses that contributed to the wider discussion initiated by the judge.

Workspace
Over 17,000 teams of designers from across the world participated in the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition between 1965 and 2020, but only those entries that made it into the pages of The Japan Architect and Shinkenchiku magazine are preserved. To make the history of the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition more complete, this exhibition calls on all designers who have participated in this competition to re-submit their competition entry and so ensure their voice is included in the history of the competition. This workspace visualizes ongoing efforts to collect the lost competition entries and store them in an openly accessible archive in the form of a website.



Visitor’s Information:
gta Exhibitions
Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture
ETH Zurich
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5
8093 Zurich
Switzerland

Mon-Fri 7:00-22:00
Sat: 8:00-12:00


Curator:
Cathelijne Nuijsink, Lecturer and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Chair of the History and Theory of Urban Design, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zurich. She obtained master’s degrees in Architecture from TU Delft and The University of Tokyo, and a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from The University of Pennsylvania. The research for this exhibition received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement 797002, “Architecture as a Cross-Cultural Exchange: The Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition, 1965–2017.”

Graphic Design:
Studio Joost Grootens, Amsterdam

With support from:
Creative Industries Fund NL, ETH Career Seed Grant, Chair of the History and Theory of Urban Design, ETH Zürich.

Special thanks to:
Annamaria Bonzanigo, Grégoire Bridel, Mathis Pante, Ling Xu, Luca Can, Friederike Merkel, Maaike Goedkoop, students in the ETH Zürich seminar The City Represented – Visions of Urban Living (Spring 2020), and participants in the international ETH Zürich summer school Visualizing the Architecture Competition as Contact Zone (Summer 2019).