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 360 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 Tyler Duggan, Taylor Massey, Annie Ringhofer, Riley Saucedo and Megan Strayer.
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.
Megan Strayer said:
“We participated in the Liberland competition as part of the requirements for degree completion for a Masters of Architecture at The University of Kansas. It was a good way to apply some of the urban theories we had researched in the previous semester with urban centers/downtowns.
“The main challenges were that as architecture students, we have never designed at the scale of master planning. It was definitely a challenge to go from designing buildings and small sites to designing an entire micronation.
“It was definitely overwhelming at first, but the way we designed it, we were able to break the micronation down into smaller, more digestible districts, and develop their unique characters. It was a chance to incorporate aspects of all the cities we’ve visited in our lives–hand-picking the best attributes and trying to bring them together in Liberland.
“I think one thing that I wish we could have focused more on was the emphasis of the road hierarchy, and how we used the grid to emphasize pedestrian traffic and discourage automobile traffic. That was something that I feel was there in the project, but could have been more at the foreground.”
Taylor Massey said:
“The main challenge was trying to be as light touch as possible but still maintaining the infrastructure needed for a city.
“The project was overwhelming at first, but with a great team it became really fun being able to design with no rules. I wouldn’t change a thing! Just wish we had more time to design.”
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.