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Thinking Big: Competitions at the Scale of the City
Panel Discussion & Conversation

In 1913, the engineer Dr. Kennard Thomson proposed filling in the East River and adding 50 square miles of land to New York City. This dramatic plan formed the challenge for young architects competing for the Paris Prize that year: A reshaped Manhattan would need a fittingly monumental new entrance at its southern end. Fast forward 100 years to 2013’s Rebuild By Design competition, which challenged progressive architects to restore urban estuaries—not pave them over.

As part of a series celebrating our 120th year, this discussion looked critically at large-scale competitions, which have been a central part of Van Alen’s history, and how they must evolve to address today’s pressing social and ecological challenges.

Participants: Casey Jones, Deputy Director, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, United States Department of State; Jennifer Gustetic, Assistant Director for Open Innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Enrique Norten, Principal, TEN Arquitectos