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Extending and Transforming the Tradition of Catholic Sacred Architecture

28/01/2010 by architectural competitions

Architectural students and professionals are invited to participate in an open design competition that is being held in conjunction with the upcoming symposium, A Living Presence:  Extending and Transforming the Tradition of Catholic Sacred Architecture. This Competition explores how the continuity of tradition ensures that truth resonates through the beauty that constitutes Catholicism’s unique architectural patrimony.  There is no detailed program or specific site for this competition.  However, projects submitted as competition entries must involve new Catholic sacred buildings or spaces (examples: a new church building or a complete chapel interior).  Submittals for both commissioned (i.e. “real”) buildings and un-commissioned (i.e. theoretical/academic) projects are welcome.  Partial exterior and/or interior renovations are not eligible, though a completely reconstructed interior space (such as a chapel interior) may be submitted.  Provide one or more images of the prior, “before”, condition for any complete interior renovation project.  Un-built projects that have been designed, and built works that have been completed, after January 1, 2000 are eligible for submittal.  Projects will be judged on two primary criteria:  1) beauty; and 2) the production of a coherent, compelling vision for how to extend and transform the tradition of Catholic sacred architecture.

Registration & Submittals:

Online registration must be completed by 5 pm EST on February 26, 2010, and is available through the Symposium’s website:

Project submittals must be received at the following address before 5 pm EST on April 15, 2010:
A Living Presence Design Competition
The Catholic University of America
School of Architecture and Planning
620 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC  20064

Submittal presentations must include a narrative of no more than 250 words explaining the project’s approach to the theme of the Competition.  This narrative, along with all other images, drawings, and photographs of the project, must be composed on two 30”x40” sheets mounted on ¼” thick gator board (oriented vertically) without any text or logos that might identify the designer or architect.  A copy of the completed registration form must be enclosed in an envelope affixed to the back of each board and labeled with the applicable category, “Student” or “Professional,” on the outside of the envelope.  A 300 dpi, full-size PDF of the presentation on a CD-ROM must be labeled with the name of the primary registrant and included with the submittal package.  First, Second and Third prizes will be awarded in the Student category.  A single First prize will be awarded in the Professional category.  Winners will be announced at the closing session of the Symposium and posted shortly thereafter on the A Living Presence website.  Some or all of the entries may be included in report of the proceedings of the Symposium, on the associated website, and/or in other associated publications.  Submitted materials will not be returned and become the property of the Competition organizers.

Competition Jury:

His Excellency Bishop Barry C. Knestout, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC
Mr. James McCrery, AIA, Principal, McCrery Architects
Mr. Ed Keegan, Editor at Large, Architect Magazine
Non-voting Competition Chairman:
Mr. Eric Anderson, RA, Patrick and Anderson Partners in Architecture
The Competition reserves the right to substitute alternative Jurors should any of the above jurors not be able to participate.

Entry Fees:

Category A (Students with valid ID):  $25*
Category B (Licensed and Intern Architects):  $50*
*Entrants who have already obtained paid registration for the Symposium will receive a $25 discount on the competition entry fee.


Category A:  $500 1st prize, $300 2nd prize, $200 3rd prize
Category B:  $1000 1st prize
In addition, the jury may award Honorable Mentions to one or more additional projects in each category at their discretion.  Honorable Mentions do not carry monetary awards.  The Competition reserves the right not to name any prize winners if no entry is deemed worthy by the jury.

1 Comment

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