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Competition: Beam Camp Spectacular Projects, USA

Beam Camp in New Hampshire has launched an international competition for a series of $12,500 temporary installations (Deadline: 8 January)

Open to architects, engineers, designers, sculptors and artists, the two-stage contest seeks ‘unique 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 camp about design, planning and construction, with the majority of components for each installation prepared on site and assembled in under 50 hours.

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Creatura

According to the brief, the camp is looking for ‘projects that take advantage of Beam’s facilities, community, landscape and rural setting, using a range of materials, processes and techniques allowing us to create the majority of the components onsite and from scratch.

‘Creative individuals with big ideas, including but not limited to artists, engineers, architects, builders, filmmakers, musicians, designers, and technologists, are asked to create big ideas that result in a unique, ambitious, and spectacular product.’

The annual summer camp in rural Strafford was launched 11 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 learning through fine arts, manual arts, technology and team work.

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.

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Site plan

London-based Mobile Studio Architects was among the winners of last year’s open call. Its competition-winning project created a series of giant mechanical flipbooks featuring still images of birds in the forest.

Proposals 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.

The winners, set to be announced on 31 January, will each receive a US$3,000 prize. 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 8 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

Universal Play Machine case study: Q&A with Chee Kit Lai

The director of Mobile Studio Architects discusses lessons learned designing a competition-winning structure for this year’s Beam Camp

Mobile Studio Architects

Mobile Studio Architects

Chee Kit Lai

How did your mechanical flipbooks project create an imaginative installation for the Beam Camp?

We wanted to create an installation as a creative stimuli that doesn’t just stop with the final making of the pieces. Instead, the installation has be ability to be changed and adapted in the future. The content, ie each flip page, is removable for users to create their own animations in the future. Similarly the cladding can also be easily removed and replaced if required.

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Universal Play Machine by Mobile Studio Architects

Which architectural, material and graphical methods did you harness?

Scale and context were important issues for us when we came up with the concept. We wanted the final piece to really inhabit the forest whilst allowing enough space for up to 100 kids and staff to view and interact with. Because it was set in the forest, we wanted to address its existence and transformation between day and night. The themes/essence of Universal Play Machine originate from our ongoing architectural themes. Split-flap technology and display is something that we are fascinated by, previously explored in our window display design for Jack Spade Menswear. The idea of visual perception is a common thread that runs through our work; with the use of mirror, reflections and refractions (see Portable Gallery for UCL Museums).

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Universal Play Machine by Mobile Studio Architects

What advice do you have to participants in this year’s contest?

The clients have been absolutely fantastic; a dream to work with. Our best advice would be to not overthink how the kids will make the pieces (that’s Beam Camp’s job, and they do it pretty damn well!), and to be ambitious without falling into cliches of having to address the kids or forest per se. Beam Camp ethos and facilities are extraordinary. We’ve been so impressed with everything. The outcome has exceeded all expectations in terms of finishes, and the process has been a memorable one.

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Beam Camp, New Hampshire

Universal Play Machine by Mobile Studio Architects