Somebody Help Me Understand….

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a few days now, but struggled with how to approach it.

more after the jump…

I’ll start by saying that in general I have no personal stake on the matter, other than my love for architecture and the industry itself. Disclaimer; neither I nor the company I work for entered the two architecture competitions which I will briefly discuss. For the most part I like the work of Reiser + Umemoto and have no beef with them at all. I stumbled upon their work while searching for case studies. Having said that:

Earlier this year in Taiwan, the Taipei Pop Music Center Competition announced its winner to be Reiser + Umemoto. The main image for the winning entry was this one below:

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Towards the end of the year another competition in Taiwan announced its winner.  The winner of the Kaohsiung Port Terminal Competition was Reiser + Umemoto.  What does the design look like?
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Now maybe I’m way off base here, but to me these are very similar designs (to say the least). I’m not against personal style, but this to me seems to go beyond any kind of “personal style” or design aesthetic. I’m having trouble in understanding why the general design concept has been emulated/recycled in both competitions…. who did this make sense to?
From my point of view, everyone looks bad here; the competitions organizers and certainly the architect. At first I liked the design for the Pop Music Center, and I just don’t see how it shows up and wins another major competition in the same country judged by a separate group of organizers who must have known about the original design.

Call me naive if you want, am I just too optimistic about the industry, but I don’t buy that all competitions are rigged and there is no point in trying. So, I’m reaching out to my architecture network to help me out, I would really like to hear from others. Tell me if I’m overreacting, what’s your take on it? …help me understand this.

If you want to read more, here are two separate articles about each competition:


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