How to: reward and punish

Geschrieben am 23.04.2020
Kategorie(n): ARCH+ news, CCA, Residence, Canada

Open call to join the CCA this summer for a workshop with small teams to survey and taxonomize the circus of contemporary architectural “meritocracy”.
. Residency: 26 July until 1 August 2020
. Application deadline: 1 May 2020

Phyllis Lambert and Philip Johnson. Photo: Vincent Colabella © CCA Phyllis Lambert and Philip Johnson at the jury meeting for the IFCCA Prize Competition for the Design of Cities, New York City, 27 June 1999. Photograph by Vincent Colabella © CCA

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) announces the open call for the third iteration in a series of annual residencies that bring small teams together to produce a new tool—which can be physical, digital, or somewhere in between—to address a specific opportunity or need. Following How to: not make an architecture magazine in 2018, and How to: disturb the public in 2019, this year’s edition How to: reward and punish, directed by Lev Bratishenko, CCA Curator, Public, together with writer and editor George Kafka, explores how awards reinforce structural inequalities through systems of selection and judgement, favoritism, and exclusion, and find different approaches to funding prizes, selecting and taming jurors, and other themes, which will be developed with the participants.  

The residency takes place between 26 July and 1 August 2020, at the CCA in Montreal, or online, if the CCA building’s temporary closure extends through the summer. Application deadline is 1 May 2020.

How to: reward and punish

In a world in crisis and with many wondering what architecture is good for, we must reflect on how the discipline claims to decide what is good. How do awards work, and what can they do to steer architectural practice?

When survival seems more about managing risks for clients than architectural quality, and with architectural media unstable and anxious in the new attention economy, it comes as no surprise that awards continue to proliferate. In this panicky scramble, the award givers and the receivers seem equally hungry for public recognition. But in the middle of publications and industry groups flinging bling, interesting things are also happening: newish, negative awards are being given, like the Carbuncle Cup, and new attitudes are emerging, like the 2019 Turner Prize finalists asking to share the prize equally.

Awards are a key part of architecture’s self-discipline. They are mechanisms of soft power, reward and erasure, ignorance and even punishment, and reading the history of architecture awards can be a detailed and revealing way of reading architecture history itself. Through the twentieth century, these certificates, gongs, fat cheques, and medallions have defined the canon through mysterious processes of selection that emerge as ceremonies reflected in the news, only to disappear again.

Currently, awards are given mostly for lifetime achievements or to specific projects, but, even the Oscars are more thorough. At least, by the end of that ceremony, almost every part of movie production has been honoured. This has never been the case in architecture.

The residency seeks to consider new kinds of awards and methodologies of merit. Perhaps we need awards for the most reused brick or the most valuable intern; for the bravest client or the smartest budget. Or we may need awards that are given only to temporary groups, to promising concepts, or to new laws. Maybe truly future-focused awards must plan their own obsolescence?

How to apply

Applicants should an email to with a short text (400 words) on an award architecture needs and how it should be awarded, and a CV, by 1 May 2020.

The workshop is free, it begins on 26 July and ends on 1 August 2020, and is a full-time commitment during the week. The workshop normally takes place in Montréal, but in 2020 it may take place online if the CCA building’s temporary closure extends through the summer. Upon notifying selected participants, the CCA will confirm the workshop format. If it takes place in Montreal, participants can request to have travel and/or accommodation costs partially reimbursed.

The primary language of the residency will be English, but all are welcome.

About the CCA

The Canadian Centre for Architecture is an international research institution operating from the fundamental premise that architecture is a public concern. It was founded in 1979 by Phyllis Lambert as a new type of cultural institution, with the aim of increasing public awareness of the role of architecture in contemporary society and promoting research in the field.

Please find further informations at CCA



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