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Competition: Beam Camp Spectacular Projects 2019, USA

Beam Camp in New Hampshire has launched its annual international competition for a series of $12,500 temporary installations (Deadline: 6 January)

Open to architects, engineers, designers, sculptors and artists, the two-stage contest seeks ‘unique, ambitious and spectacular’ proposals for artistic structures to be constructed by the summer youth camp’s 20 staff and 100 participants.

The project aims to teach young people at the specialist camp about design, planning and construction, with the majority of components for each installation prepared on site and assembled in under 50 hours. Last summer’s winning schemes included Bread and Brawn by Michael Garnett and Cathrin Walczyk of Studio MiCat which saw participants chopping wood and kneading dough for a purpose-built bread oven (pictured).

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

According to the brief: ‘An intergalactic salvage station struck by a meteor, a solar-powered cinematic riff on a French film from 1902, a 2-story arboreal kaleidoscope: every year, Beam Camp solicits proposals for unique and spectacular large-scale projects that serve as the centrepiece for a 25-day session of camp, during which they are built and brought to life by 100 campers and staff.

‘Beam Camp is a collaborative building and design summer camp in Strafford, NH that works with kids aged 10-17 to make the seemingly impossible possible. Our award-winning program has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, NPR, and designboom, and offers young people the opportunity to cultivate hands-on skills while exploring innovative thinking, design, problem-solving and the creative process.’

The annual summer camp in rural Strafford was launched 12 years ago by the New York-based Beam Centre, which promotes youth development through collaboration and creation. Accredited by the American Camp Association, the holiday camp focuses on developing hands-on skills and learning through fine arts, manual arts, technology and teamwork.

Open to participants aged 10 to 17, the 43ha facility is home to many past installations including several on land and water. Structures are demounted in the winter and reassembled each summer. Applicants chosen for last summer’s installations also included Evan Ross Murphy from Wisconsin, who created a concrete temple with artistic features.

Site plan

Site plan

Proposals for the latest commission must include a detailed breakdown of construction steps and instructions for using the tools and materials available on the site. Facilities available at Beam Camp include wood and metal workshops, featuring welding, moulding and casting tools; textile, dye and sewing stations; a ceramic studio; a technology lab; audio equipment and a food garden with commercial kitchen.

Participating teams must designate a project master who will be available to guide campers via Skype during the project’s delivery between February and June next year. Submissions must include the project title and short description, all diagrams and images with an extended description and background information about the team members with contact details.

The winners, set to be announced on 30 January, will each receive a US$3,000 stipend. Attendance at the camp is not mandatory for winning teams but travel expenses may be covered if required.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 6 January

Contact details

Beam Camp NH
55 Boy Scout Road
Strafford
NH 03884
USA

Email: contact@beamcamp.org
Tel: +1 718 855 7600

View the competition website for more information

Q&A with Morgan Street

The project director at Beam Camp discusses her ambitions for the contest

Morgan Street

Morgan Street

Morgan Street

Why are your holding a competition for an architectural installation at Beam Camp?

The international design call is an important part of our project selection process. Having a wide range of proposals from a diverse group of creative people keeps our programming engaging, challenging, and aesthetically diverse. The design call also presents an opportunity for designers and makers of all ages to tackle larger projects in a unique community-based setting, which is exciting for everyone involved.

What is your vision for next year’s installations?

We are always looking for projects that not only bring a high level of craftsmanship and aesthetic maturity, but also provide a narrative or story. We love projects that challenge our community, encourage exciting entry points, and allow for innovative building processes. Past projects have been built in all corners of our expansive property in rural New Hampshire in sites ranging in size from 10’x10’ to an entire grove of trees. There is a lot of flexibility and opportunity in the varied landscape of the property. Consideration of sustainability, longevity and temporality factor into our selection process, as we try to discuss these issues with the community at Beam.

Universal Play Machine by Mobile Studio Architects

Universal Play Machine by Mobile Studio Architects

Universal Play Machine by Mobile Studio Architects

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

For emerging architects and designers this opportunity can be a way to build on a scale they would not normally be able to, engage with a community that is eager to participate and produce amazing results. Many past designers, both established and emerging, have found their work with Beam is a highlight of their creative portfolio. The experience of bringing your vision to life with a community of brilliant young people and talented staff is thrilling and uniquely rewarding.

Kinetic Cluster by Kate McAleer and Fruzsina Karig

Kinetic Cluster by Kate McAleer and Fruzsina Karig

Kinetic Cluster by Kate McAleer and Fruzsina Karig

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

Having built 22 spectacular projects over the past 15 summers in the New Hampshire forest, we are now looking to create similarly scaled collaborative productions in urban environments. We will pilot this initiative in 2019 in New York City by re-contextualizing our 2015 Beam Camp Project, Universal Play Machine, designed by Chee-Kit Lai of Mobile Studio. These urban Beam Projects will also be sourced through a call for proposals and, as at camp, will be driven by the Project Fellows, a corp of intensively trained High School students (aged 16-20). The Project Fellows will be involved in project selection, planning, fabrication and public engagement.

Are there any other recent artistic installation projects you have been impressed by?

On a recent road trip I got to re-visit Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains near Jean Dry Lake outside Las Vegas, Nevada. It was completed in 2016 and should be up at least until the end of 2018. I love Rondinone’s world for its humour and scale, this work speaks specifically to highlight the beauty and mystique of the desert landscape in an elegant, playful and monumental way.

 

Bread and Brawn case study: Q&A with Michael Garnett and Cathrin Walczyk

The founders of Studio MiCat discuss lessons learned designing an installation for last summer’s Beam Camp

Michael Garnett and Cathrin Walczyk

Michael Garnett and Cathrin Walczyk

Michael Garnett and Cathrin Walczyk

How did your project deliver a stimulating architectural installation for participants of the 2018 Beam Camp? What were the takeaways for the campers?

Brawn & Bread was on many levels very relatable for the campers; bread is a food staple and the construction methods used – bricklaying, carpentry, casting and metalwork - represent the cornerstones of traditional construction.

The ‘bread gym’ deconstructs the process of making bread into its individual steps and thereby enables the users to reconnect with the physical effort that would traditionally have been required to produce it – you have to ‘earn your bread’.

The structure is positioned right outside the dining hall so it became the focal point of camp during its construction. It will remain a permanent installation and will provide daily bread for up to 150 campers and staff members.

We hope that the campers have gone away feeling empowered to embark on their own making projects, having learnt a range of manual skills and having experienced a sense of pride in their collective achievements.

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

What was the idea behind your design and your choice of materials and construction methods?

The chosen materials – fired clay bricks, shou sugi ban cladding, welded steel and concrete, cast in burnt cedar formwork – are all be united by the touch of the fire which ultimately transforms raw dough into a loaf of bread.

Bread making is a linear process in which the raw ingredients are processed, mixed together, fermented and finally baked. We designed the apparatus to exist in the forest as a kind of post-industrial relic, an overt expression of the process required to produce the humble loaf.

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing an installation for next year’s camp?

Be bold, be imaginative! Beam Camp seems to like a challenge and you shouldn’t underestimate what they are capable of. From seeing Beam’s previous projects, many of which are dotted around the campus, it is clear that they all hold in common a playful narrative. And remember, there is a large workforce so it pays to be clever about how the project can be broken down into several separate work streams that can happen in parallel.

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat

Bread and Brawn by Studio MiCat