After parting ways
with Architecture for Humanity
last year, the nonprofit organization’s TED Prize-winning co-founder Cameron Sinclair is now serving as executive director for the charitable foundation established by two totally obscure D-list actors with last names you probably won’t recognize: Pitt and Jolie. This isn't an entirely surprising move for the British-born architect and author considering that both the Jolie-Pitt Foundation
and Brad Pitt’s green rebuilding nonprofit, Make It Right
, have long served as partners to Architecture for Humanity
It would appear, however, that the charitable endeavors
of the infallible Brangelina aren’t completely consuming Sinclair’s time as he’s just launched a new online design competition as a side project. Called the Dead Prize
(short for the "Detrimental Engineering Architecture and Design Prize"), the competition aims to draw attention to the most egregious bungles, blunders, and backfires of the design, engineering, and architecture worlds with an eye toward projects that harm
the planet instead of help it.
Aptly dubbed as “a sort of Razzies for architecture” by Co. Design
, the Dead Prize does indeed have a gentle mocking/shaming element to it — this comes with the territory when you’re singling out the worst of the worst. But as an awards program founded by a lauded activist whose former job title was “chief eternal optimist,” the Dead Prize tries to veer away from pure negativity. Instead of publicly lambasting unsustainable and eco-unfriendly design, the prize ultimately — with the appropriate amount of cheek, of course — wants to comment on how design can be improved, made better. And sure, while the words “cruddy,” “godawful,” “damaging,” and “terrible” may come into play when describing the nominees, the Dead Prize isn’t really about crucifying sub-par design.
Explains the Dead Prize website:
In the past decade we have seen an explosion of honors and awards for the most innovative and forward thinking solutions. Yet no one recognizes the projects that have caused harm to the environment — designs that are helping shorten our existence on this planet. This is why we created the DEAD prize. Let's recognize the bad, honor the failures and hopefully do something to rectify these designs against humanity.
We don't believe in being negative, our focus is to discover what the benchmark is to design against or getting a better understanding of how a design failed or was intentionally harmful. It is our hope that like-minded designers see these failures as a challenge to create something new, to correct the mistakes of the past or to find the antidote for the project in question.
Beyond the award is something more important, the solution.
Nominations for the Dead Prize — long-gone, extant, and proposed/in-progress examples of “engineering, architecture and designs that have had a negative impact on the planet” are all fair game — can be submitted via the competition's Twitter handle, @deadprize
. You can also submit your nomination anonymously by emailing info[at]deadprize.org. Nominations, including self-nominations, will be accepted until All Souls Day —November 1. Finalists will be unveiled in December and the jury-selected winning losers will be announced in early 2015.
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