Dredged islands win UIA comp

Tuesday 14 Jul 2009

Colombian architect designs islands made of recycled materials for Bering Strait

An international ideas competition, open to architects and architecture studentsworldwide, was launched in February by the Foundation for Peace and Unification. Thiscompetition was for the conception of a peace park linking the two Diomede islands,situated in the middle of the Bering Strait, to unite the Eurasian and American continentsthrough a pertinent architectural symbol. The Bering Strait is a seaway between Cape Prince of Wales of the United States and Cape Dezhnev of Russia and a gate between Pacific Ocean and Arctic Ocean.

Projects were also required to propose an idea for the method and technique to be employed to connect the two continents in thisparticularly sensitive environment. The competition offered a total prize fund of 200 000€. 135 projects (71 from professionals and 64 from students) were submitted to theinternational jury. Chaired by Sungjung Chough, architect (Republic of Korea) the jury wascomposed of Moongyu Choi, architect (Republic of Korea), Joel Sanders, architect (USA),Luciano Lazzari, architect, Italy, representing UIA and Andrei Kaftanov, architect (RussianFederation).

Two alternative responses to the ecological and technological dilemmas posed in the competition: visionaryinfrastructures and ephemeral structures were identified by the jury. Both of these, the jury identified, were present in the winning design.

Colombian architect Julian Restrepo carried off the first prize. The team, comprised of Julian Restrepo, Pablo Forero, Manuela Mosquera, Tomas Jaramillo(Colombia) and Susana Somoza (Venezuela), was unanimously voted first prizeby the jury for the project entitled “Diomede Archipelago“. It proposes the creation of a naturalistic series of islandsmade of recycled material dredged from the sea that form twin archipelagos extending thetwo continents. At their intersection, a tunnel links the two Diomede islands and pedestrians, other vehicles and high speed trains can pass through. The jury applauded the scheme for 'blurring the boundaries between the natural and man-made' and for extending the profile of the two continents.

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