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Competition: Sziget festival pavilion, Budapest

An international contest has been launched to design a landmark €15,000 pavilion for the Sziget music festival in Budapest, Hungary (Deadline: 23 May)

Open to individuals and teams of students and architects aged under 40, the single-stage Structures of Freedom competition seeks proposals for a temporary and flexible centrepiece for the week-long event.

The project, supported by ArchTalent, will deliver a 100m² shelter on a flat site within Budapest’s city centre Old Buda Island, which has hosted the 500,000-capacity music festival since it was launched in 1993.

The Sziget Festival in 2008

The Sziget Festival in 2008

Source: Image by Gergely Csatari

The Sziget Festival in 2008

According to the brief: ‘Archtalent and Sziget festival are making an international call searching new ideas for the design of an ephemeral structure as a gathering place for people to meet and rest while enjoying the interaction of music, art and the magnetic and historic context of the festival and the island.

‘The space should serve also as a shelter and must be an iconic oasis for the warm and sunny weather of Budapest in August, where comfort, in terms of design and sustainability, will be guaranteed. We are also looking for proposals that encourage people to engage, experiment, and explore their environment. The competition aims to be an explosion of creative energy. A celebration of participatory music, art and culture where everything is possible.’

The festival was launched following the collapse of state funding for the arts after the end of Communism. It has now grown into a major international event with up to 496,000 visitors from 95 countries. Headlining acts have included Prince, the Prodigy, Motörhead and Judas Priest.

Named Sziget – meaning ‘island’ in Hungarian – after the landscaped 108ha River Danube islet it occupies, the festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary this summer from 9 to 16 August.

Proposals must be easy to construct within 10 days and quick to dismantle, while being constructed from durable materials able to withstand the impact from use by festival-goers as well as the wind, sun and rain.

Individuals and teams must register on the ArchTalent website, and entries should be in English and include a title page, brochure, concept page, budget and completed entry form. Participating teams may feature up to three people but must include at least one architecture graduate aged under 40.

Submissions will be judged on their overall design, depth of innovation, response to the context, recyclability and sustainability. Judges include Sam Jacob of Sam Jacob Studio, Caroline O’Donnell of CODA, and the festival’s creative director Dávid Ráday.

The winning team, to be announced on 9 June, will receive a €3,000 prize and VIP tickets and accommodation to attend the festival. The winning scheme will be constructed in the week preceding the event from 31 July to 8 August.

How to apply

Deadline

The registration deadline is 22 May and submissions must be completed by 23 May

Fee

Early registration from 28 February to 21 March: €40 for individuals or €60 for teams
Standard registration from 22 March to 25 April: €50 for individuals or €80 for teams
Late registration from 26 April to 22 May: €60 for individuals or €100 for teams

Contact details

Email: Structuresoffreedom@archtalent.com

Visit the competition website for more information

The Smile case study: Q&A with Alison Brooks

The principal of Alison Brooks Architects discusses lessons learned designing a temporary pavilion for the London Festival of Architecture

Alison Brooks

Alison Brooks

Alison Brooks

How did the Smile project create an eye-catching centrepiece for the London Festival of Architecture?

The Smile connected to people at a number of levels: conceptually, formally, and as a sensory experience. It was totally unexpected and somehow familiar at the same time. The arc balancing on a point was immediately recognisable as a form, but its scale was unprecedented. The experience of a sloping, curved space was extreme, nearly dangerous, but also playful. The timber structure was tactile and ‘natural’, but supported a supernatural cantilever. It had a lot of personality.

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

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

The design was conceived from a combination of pure, platonic geometries, an experimental material, adventurous engineers, and a talented, passionate project architect, Sonia Rubio. The Smile was a commission by the American Hardwood Export Council to showcase the structural and spatial potential of cross-laminated American tulipwood.

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

Arup’s timber specialist, Andrew Lawrence, described the Smile as ‘the most challenging structure ever constructed in CLT’. Using 12 of the largest CLT panels ever made, self-tapping screws, CNC machining, and a (relatively) simple structural design, we were able to assemble The Smile on site in just five days – a testament to how rapid prefabrication is revolutionising timber construction.

What advice would you have to contest participants on creating a temporary pavilion for the Sziget music festival?

Believe in your instincts; seek ‘essentialness’.

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects