Call for Ideas: Taking Buildings Down

Submission: January 20, 2016
Registration: January 12, 2016
Language: English
Location: Concept
Prizes: 1st Prize: $ 2,000, 2nd Prize: $ 1,000, 3rd Prize: $ 500
Type: Open


This competition of ideas is simultaneously a political act, a means of criticism, and a method of speculation.
Taking Buildings Down asks proposals for the production of voids; the demolition of buildings, structures, and infrastructures; or the subtraction of objects and/or matter as a creative act. Removal is all that is allowed.

What does it mean to build? Traditionally, building has been defined as the assembly of parts or materials toward the creation of a whole. While to build is often perceived as an Apollonian pursuit, to destroy appears to be its Dionysian counterpart. Understanding that our built environment is the product of many forces, it can dialectically be reduced to the tensions between creation and destruction, addition and subtraction, and erection and demolition.
In a design culture focused on the superlative (the tallest, the newest, the priciest), in which destruction is often perceived of or produced by an act of violence, the processes of removal appear as secondary concerns or collateral damage. However, if we are to better understand the life cycles of our built environment, we must explore the possibilities and implications of Taking Buildings Down.


This call is open to anyone interested in articulating visions for the future of our built environment.


Each proposal should consider and present three items:

1)  A pre-existing current condition

2)  A process of removal

3)  A resultant condition of removal

Proposals should consider contemporary contexts. There are no limitations in scale or scope. The focus of the proposal may be on the process of removal, the resultant condition, or both. Projects will be judged on their ambition, vision, methodology, and clarity.


Three monetary prizes will be awarded to the winners of Taking Buildings Down. These include:

1st Prize: $2000

2nd Prize: $1000

3rd Prize:  $500


Winning entries and any additional entries deemed to be worthy of publication will be included in a printed competition compendium released by Storefront for Art and Architecture.


Questions can be emailed to takingbuildingsdown@storefrontnews.org by December 1st, 2015. Relevant questions and answers will be posted on this webpage on or before December 22nd, 2015.


The jury will be announced on November 23rd, 2015.


Winning entries will be announced in February 2016.


Entrants are required to register for the competition in advance of the submission date. Registrations must be received by January 12th, 2016 before midnight.

There is a $50 registration fee ($25 for Storefront members). Projects that have not registered by the January 12th deadline will not be reviewed.


Applicants will submit an application package. The package should be in 8 1/2″ x 11″ page portrait layout, with no more than 20 single-sided pages. It should be delivered in the following formats:

– A digital PDF (15 MB or less), uploaded to the competition platform no later than 11:59 p.m. on January 20th2016.

– A bound proposal documentation book, delivered no later than January 21st, 2016 at 6 pm to Storefront’s office at 611 Broadway, Suite 634, New York, NY 10012. Proposals received after this date and time will not be accepted. (Note that Storefront’s office is located at a different address from its gallery space).


Physical applications must be packaged in a sealed envelope with registration number written clearly and legibly on the outside. The package should contain the following contents:


Please fill out and include the attached cover sheet as the first page of your submission.


Please include the following materials in a bound letter-size booklet (maximum 20 pages, including supplemental material):

  1. Application Cover (with proposal title and registration number)
  2. Location/Context
  3. Mission Statement (500 words or less)
  4. Three images/plans/diagrams depicting:
  1. The current condition
  2. The process and methodology of removal
  3. The resultant condition


Participants can submit support material in the following formats:

  • Videos (maximum 3 minutes in length)
  • Models (maximum size 10”x10”x10”)
  • Additional documentation material as considered essential by the applicants (maximum 10 pages)


Thursday, November 5————————Competition Launch

Tuesday, December 1————————-Deadline for Submission of Questions

Tuesday, December 22———————–Publication of Questions and Answers

Tuesday, January 12————————–Registration Deadline

Wednesday, January 20———————-Digital Submission Deadline

Thursday, January 21————————-Physical Submission Deadline

February——————————————Results Announced


Entrants may not communicate with members of the Jury about the competition in any way or form until there is a public announcement of the winner.

No partner, associate, or employee of any Jury member may participate in the competition.

Any entrant who violates these rules will be disqualified.


Digital submissions must be entered through the competition platform by January 20th, 2016 at 11:59 pm.

Physical submissions must be delivered to the Storefront for Art and Architecture office on or before January 21st, 2016 between 11 am and 6 pm EST.

Please note the office address below:

Storefront for Art and Architecture

611 Broadway, Suite 634

New York, NY 10012

Mailed submissions must arrive at the office by the submission deadline (note that the deadline is the date of receipt, not a postmark date).


Winning entries will be announced in February 2016.


Participants interested in additional academic, cultural, and philosophical references can consult the Taking Buildings Down bibliography (created by INCA):



Copyrights for project submissions shall remain the property of the author.

Submitted materials shall not be released nor exposed to the public, press, or other media before the announcement of a winning entry or the cancellation of the Competition. Applicants who violate this will be disqualified.

Participants agree to permit Storefront to use the submitted materials in public posts, publications, or exhibitions, or for archival, promotional, educational, and other purposes at its discretion. The Jury and/or Storefront for Art and Architecture reserve the right to cancel or suspend the Competition for any reason, including those causes beyond the organizer’s control that could corrupt the administration, security, or proper participation in the Competition.

Storefront for Art and Architecture assumes no responsibility for postal, email, electronic, technical, or natural conditions that prevent the receipt or judging of a Competition submission or any part thereof.

Storefront for Art and Architecture reserves the right to amend these Guidelines at any time without notice.

No information contained in submissions shall be deemed confidential and such information may be shared with other governmental entities. Therefore, please do not submit any information that may be deemed proprietary in nature. Competition sponsors shall not be liable for any costs incurred by any respondent in the preparation, submittal, presentation, or revision of its submission. Competition sponsors shall not be obligated to pay and shall not pay any costs in connection with the preparation of such submissions.


This competition is curated by INCA, the winners of the Special Prize for Storefront’s Competition of Competitions. INCA is a collaboration between David Bench and Jonathan Chesley, architects at Selldorf Architects in New York who have an interest in conceptual work as a complement to practice.

You can read more about the competition and the winners here: http://storefrontnews.org/archive/winners-competition-of-competitions/


Launched in 2013, Storefront for Art and Architecture’s “Competition of Competitions” asks participants to create a brief that formulates the questions of our time and defines the agents that should pursue the task of commissioning visions for the future.

The competition provides a space for critical thought about the way competitions and commissions are organized, and allows participants to rethink the structure, content, and stakeholders of competition briefs. In doing so, participants deliver new and provocative forms of engagement with the economic, political, and social context surrounding the development of our cities.

Go to the competition’s website