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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Liberland’s Second International Architectural Competition’s results announced – with an honourable mention going to a team of students from the US – Team 359

Competition comes on the heels Liberland announcing an initial investment commitment of EUR 140 million 

Liberland announced the results of the second international architectural competition. Sergio Bianchi was crowned the winner with a team of student architects from the US gaining an honourable mention.

Team 359 from The University of Kansas’s School of Architecture and Design Masters of Architecture program was supervised by faculty advisor Lauren Brown. The team consisted of Dakota Burke, Isabel Das, Sam Dykes, Jenna Melvin, Lena Michalek and John Sunn.

As Lauren commented:

“Team 359 participated in the Liberland Design Competition as part of a graduate-level architectural design studio in The University of Kansas’s School of Architecture and Design Masters of Architecture program. The competition was provided as the primary curricular driver for a full academic semester due to its unique and complex challenges that would engage students in discussions and design decisions related to various scales, experiences, and interactions within a dense urban environment; sustainable design and infrastructure; place-making at macro and micro scales; and perhaps most interestingly, how the explicit economic and social values of a society may or may not impact the physicality of its built environment. The entirety of the team being American, it was particularly challenging to design a city- and country-wide master plan for Liberland that did not situate itself relative to publicly-funded institutions and infrastructure that in the United States are almost patently grandiose in scale, elevated in architectural language and appearance, and located intentionally within city centers. Ultimately, the competition’s scope, stated aims, unique location, and affiliation with a real and developing micronation that is innovating economically and socially made it ideal for a lively and exceptional architecture studio.”

The second Liberland Architectural Competition attracted more than 20 entries from architects, designers and engineers from many countries including teams from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Czech Republic, China, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States.

The competition jury panel was led by President Vit Jedlicka and architect Patrik Schumacher, Principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, and included citizens, technologists and architects involved with Liberland. The judging took place in May 2021. 

The results of this competition come on the heels of Liberland’s announcement of an initial investment commitment of EUR 140 million from a number of key supporters.  These commitments demonstrate the tremendous interest in investing in Liberland. 

President Vit said “Back in 2015 we held out first Liberland Design Competition and witnessed great passion and architecture combined. This second competition has resulted in even more inspiring results.

“The standard of entries was so high we were honoured to present honourable mentions to four teams – this bodes well for the future.”

The student team spoke of their experience.

Jenna Melvin said:

“The main challenge was that we’d never done a project at this scale before, and there were a lot of things that we had to include that we normally don’t think about when just doing a singular building, like roadways and utility infrastructure. It created a unique challenge to learn more about what infrastructure a city needs and how that plays into the design of neighborhoods and districts.

“It was extremely interesting to design a capital from scratch because we could shape the city however we wanted to. Our group decided to make the stadium the central point of the country and expand out from there. You never really get the opportunity to lay everything out the way you want and are working with the open land that is available. When you get to start from scratch everything becomes possible.”

Sam Dykes said:

“Designing Liberland from scratch allowed for an in-depth exploration of a society revolving around blockchain technology, a free market economy, and sustainability in both a macro and micro scale. The Liberland Design Competition provided the opportunity to express architectural creativity in many different aspects, including country wide master planning, developing vehicular and pedestrian circulation and transportation systems, integrating the human experience into the natural and built environment and studying the architectural characteristics of building forms revolving around rule-based and light touch design. With goals of being realistic yet pushing the limits of architectural and economic norms, we were able to design with freedom to envision a new concept of society for the future of Liberland.”

The Design competition was curated and authored by Daniela Ghertovici, Director at ArchAgenda LLC. Launched last year, the competition requirement was “to translate blockchain concepts into urban and architectural design strategies”.

As Ghertovici explains: “The thesis of the Liberland Design Competition agenda posits that the infusion of decentralized blockchain logics into urban and architectural design, with its potential to radically disrupt and innovate social, economic, and political arenas, will ultimately transform the physiognomy and functionality of cities. 

“From a historical standpoint, I theorize blockchain as the 8th mass media after Print (1450), Recordings (1877), Cinema (1900), Radio (1910), Television (1925), Internet (1990) and Mobile phones (2000), with the crucial distinction that it is a decentralized mass media, and this attribute of decentralization is itself a transformative concept for urban design and development.”

When writing the 2015 brief for the first Liberland Design Competition, it was very clear to Ghertovici that “Liberland, the world’s newest micro-nation — a sovereign values-based minarchy — has unprecedented potential to radically disrupt and innovate in every facet of society (governance, economy, jurisprudence, sustainability, education, charity, peace and most importantly freedom), but especially urban and architectural design.”

“In 2021, through Liberland’s extraordinary vision and perseverance, it has evolved into a global phenomenon among emerging models for building new societies (charter cities, special economic zones, free private cities, seasteading, etc), but unlike other models, Liberland’s sovereignty as a microstate  means that is can build innovative urban systems without the difficulty of having to compromise and adapt to outdated urban planning and zoning restrictions,” she says.

Jillian Godsil
Blockchain Advocate, Founder, Conference Chair, Women in Blockchain Advocate, Keynote Speaker, Crypto Journalist, Broadcaster, CEO, Writer, Homelessness Advocate, Former European Parliament Candidate, Law Changer, Mother, Choir Member, Hill Walker, Dreamer

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