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Competition: Alternative Designs for Clubs

An international contest is seeking new ideas for the future of nightclubs around the world (Deadline: 27 April)

Open to teams of up to five members, the anonymous competition seeks innovative proposals that reimagine how nightclubs could evolve in response to recent changes in lifestyle, technology and society.

The Dancing call for ideas, organised by Non-Architecture Competitions, aims to promote debate about how nightclubs could adapt and respond to changing urban conditions which have seen many venues close in recent years. Proposals may occupy any site and could that the form of a device, furniture, interior, building or an entire urban-scale masterplan.

Ministry of Sound, London

Ministry of Sound, London

Source: Image by Ministry of Sound Group

Ministry of Sound, London

According to the brief: ‘The aim of the Dancing competition is to develop design proposals for the nightclub typology, intended as a place to experience entertainment in relation to music – listen, perform, dance. The participants are asked to create innovative and unconventional projects on this theme, questioning the very basis of the notion of a club.

‘Recently a series of new initiatives have emerged in relation to music entertainment and dance. While festivals and morning discos have extended the duration of musical events over the limited span of one night, silent discos and flash mobs exceeded the boundaries of the club, reinventing the way and the place where music events were occurring. In the meantime, music and dance have been used also for therapies and training, as means of self-improvement and realisation. Technological advances and streaming services made music much more accessible, increasing consumption and drastically facilitating production and distribution.’

Nightclubs exist all around the world with the earliest examples thought to have emerged in the late 19th century as entertainment venues. Nightclubs grew to become a major force in the development of disco music during the 1970s and later helped spawn the new romantic, house and techno dance-music genres.

Rising land values, residential development and shifts in socio-economic trends and lifestyles have seen many nightclubs forced to close in many cities, with half of all such venues shutting down in London over the past decade.

The contest invites participants to consider new ways music could be performed within a venue, and whether nightclubs should operate at night or at other times or for longer time spans, and whether or not they should require bars.

Judges include Ledscontrol directors Rebeca Sanchez and Miquel Clot; Lukas Feireiss, founder of Studio Lukas Feireiss; and Marc Roma Trepat Perez, architect at B\TA. Three winners, due to be announced in late May, will receive €1,000 each while nine honourable mentions will also be awarded.

How to apply

Deadline

The registration deadline is 27 April and submissions must be completed by 30 April

Fee

Early registration from 16 February to 15 March: €45
Regular registration from 16 March to 15 April: €60
Late registration from 16 April to 27 April: €75

Contact details

Email: info@nonarchitecture.eu

View the competition website for more information

Shelter case study: Q&A with Leopold Banchini

The co-founder of BUREAU A discusses lessons learned designing a pop-up nightclub for the Federation of Swiss Architects

Leopold Banchini

Leopold Banchini

Leopold Banchini

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

Although it is only built from a thin layer of PVC, the inflatable structure creates a defined space with specific qualities. It creates darkness, intimacy, confinement – important ingredients to cook a party. Passing through the decompression chamber, one enters a damp world smelling like sweat and vodka-Redbull, where the sound seems to replace the vision. A nightclub. Shelter fits in a large bag, it can be installed anywhere and create, in a few minutes, a mysterious opaque space where anything can happen.

Shelter by Leopold Banchini with Daniel Zamarbide

Shelter by Leopold Banchini with Daniel Zamarbide

Shelter by Leopold Banchini with Daniel Zamarbide

What advice would you have to contest participants on reimagining contemporary nightclubs?

Contemporary nightclubs have become highly commercial; and with that came a large number of legal regulations and an underlying conformism. When the first techno parties were organised in abandoned factories in Detroit, or when the first raves appeared in secret forests, they were unseen. The space of the club could be much more than the black sound-proofed box it is often confined to. A party is a complex sensorial experience where the noise, the smell, the light, the vibrations, the pheromones are equally important as the architectonic space. There is something magic, and ungraspable, about a good party. Design cannot create it, but it should have the ambition to participate. It seems that an important part of our contemporary culture has been shaped in the darkness of underground parties. In that regard, I believe that the contemporary night club should first of all be a space to transgress the established norms.

Shelter by Leopold Banchini with Daniel Zamarbide

Shelter by Leopold Banchini with Daniel Zamarbide

Shelter by Leopold Banchini with Daniel Zamarbide

Paradise City case study: Q&A with MVRDV

The Rotterdam-based practice discusses lessons learned designing a new mixed-use complex and nightclub for Seoul

How will your Paradise City project create an innovative night club venue for Seoul?

The complex will become a new tourist hub in Incheon, a short drive from the airport, and will contribute to Korea’s growing tourism industry. International tourists mean creating a more diverse range of tourism programs, boosting the country as a business and leisure travel destination, while at the same time promoting niche sectors that enhance South Korea’s competitiveness with other South Asian countries. The Wonderbox will be a 3,600m² entertainment centre that curves around to connect to the hotel, whilst the 6,200m² Nightclub will be located opposite with a more rectangular shape and distinct gold plated façade, it will also feature a ‘water club’ and a roof garden with and an underground car park below. Paradise City is part of a larger masterplan that comprises four main zones; a hotel with a casino and convention facilities; the Plaza, with a boutique hotel, food-court, retail space and galleries; a spa; and the Entertainment Square, with retail spaces and a nightclub.

Paradise City by MVRDV

Paradise City by MVRDV

Paradise City by MVRDV

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The façade is made from glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC), a material that allows diversity in form, as well as colour. This enabled the realisation of an innovative exterior façade design, that is, to create this draping, curtain-like detail and shape that emphasizes the entrance. The 6,200m² nightclub sits adjacent to the Wonderbox shopping and entertainment centre, which will include a theme park for families. It maintains a rectilinear position and also includes a water club and sky-garden on its upper floor. Partygoers walk into the venue via a gold tribune, with an integrated ramp, from the drop-off area they are led through the centre of the sunspot where the gold wall is lifted, creating an opening into the nightclub. Paradise City provides the spectacle that entertainment architecture calls for, yet balances this with a simple aesthetic that fits into its surrounding.

Paradise City by MVRDV

Paradise City by MVRDV

Paradise City by MVRDV

What advice would you have to contest participants on re-imagining contemporary night clubs?

Paradise City’s late-night entertainment facility is not your typical nightclub venue, which usually tries its best to blend into the background, with an unrecognisable and muted façade. The building has a distinct gold façade which extends outwards to form a welcoming public plaza, for night-time revellers after hours, but importantly space where all sorts of events can be programmed: open-air concerts, markets, all sorts. It contributes to this perhaps new way of thinking about how to combine shopping and late-night entertainment, as well as fit into the existing context.

Paradise City by MVRDV

Paradise City by MVRDV

Paradise City by MVRDV