Hastings puts the call out to the nation's design professionals

Architectural competitions can be a bit of a contentious issue but their popularity is certainly on the rise, particularly when it comes to informing the design of civic spaces. Now Hastings District Council is on the hunt for innovative ideas for the redevelopment of Civic Square though what it’s calling an “open idea generation competition”. 

Promoting the idea of “visionary pragmatism”, organisers say they are interested in “...exploring the idea of architecture as a vessel for cultural connectedness and evolution, an enabler and catalyst for social, cultural and economic growth”. 

Eleven broad themes have been identified for the central city project, which aim to further strengthen the existing services and experiences offered by the Hastings District Library and Hastings City Art Gallery. They also identify the need to enhance the square's open space to make it safe and attractive to the community. 

Placing the themes in front of design professionals around the country is “an exciting way to raise the profile of the project and generate some unique and pioneering ideas that may not otherwise have been put forward”, said deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers. 

“Hastings has a number of unique features which could be incorporated into the square and while local designers have a wealth of knowledge about the region, it will be interesting to see what comes from design professionals in other parts of New Zealand." 

The competition is now open and will run to the end of January 2012, before the assessment panel singles out their top three designs to council. Those designs are likely to be included for consideration as part of council's public consultation on the 2012/22 LTP, beginning in March. 

The designs will be assessed by a panel including District Councillors, nationally recognised design professionals and a mana whenua participant. 

Check out the full brief, as well as what’s up for grabs in terms of prize money, here.

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