FCDC Announces Four Winners

A buoyant chain of balloons wired with sensors floating above the landscape; a camouflaged canopy laser-cut from polished steel; a brightly-colored egg overgrown with grass; and a patterned root system fabricated on a digital lathe are the four 2015 Field Constructs Design Competition (FCDC) winners. Last November, FCDC invited emerging designers, architects, landscape architects, and artists to participate in a juried competition to design, fabricate, and install a site-specific intervention at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in Austin. These final four projects capture the mission FCDC and marry experimentation with design innovation while uniquely addressing the history and ecology of the competition site.

The winners represent a diverse group of architects, landscape architects, and designers, focusing on digital fabrication, material innovation, and interactive design. Themes of camouflage; waste cycles in a landfill; dynamic, repetitive, growth in nature; and interactivity unite the four projects — which will all generate, apply, and test innovative thinking with regard to site specificity, environmental impact, and the use of new technological advancements in design. As small-scale installations on view at Circle Acres from November 14 to 22, the projects also represent the possibility of engaging the public by promoting the value of contemporary design along with the mission of the Circle Acres Nature Preserve.

2015 FCDC Winners

99 WHITE BALLOONS 
INVIVIA (Brad Cantrell, Allen Sayegh, Stefano Andreani, Craig Reschke, Ziyi Zhang)
Cambridge, Mass.

BLURRED BODIES
Studio Roland Snooks (Roland Snooks, Cam Newnham, Sascha Bohnenberger)
Melbourne, Australia

DUCK BLIND IN PLAIN SITE 
Jonathan Scelsa, John Paul Rysavy, Jennifer Birkeland, Isaac Stein, Nick Mitchell, Erin Wythoff
Brooklyn, New York

HYBROOT   
OTA+ (Kory Bieg)
Austin, Texas

As a group, the selected projects bring together international, national, and local emerging designers. "Blurred Bodies," an abstract steel tree canopy, hails from Melbourne, Australia and is the work of Studio Roland Snooks. Project leader Roland Snooks is the director of the Architectural Robotics Lab at RMIT University; his research and work focus on generative and algorithmic design and have been published and exhibited widely. Cambridge-based INVIVIA’s cross-disciplinary team will bring "99 White Balloons," a 1,200-ft cable with glowing balloons, to the site. Team leaders are professors at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, many of them developing work in the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab, and include landscape architect Bradley Cantrell and architect and designer Allen Sayegh. "Duck Blind in Plain Site," an egg constructed of post-consumer waste and native Texas grasses, is another joint proposal by landscape architects and architects living in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. The team has partnered with Austin’s children’s museum, the Thinkery. "Hybroot," an intertwined series of CNC-lathed-wood-posts mimicking the landscape, is the work of Austin-based OTA+. Founder Kory Bieg is assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture.

The group of four was selected from 82 original entries, and the subsequent 18 jury selection finalists were announced in May as part of Phase 1 of the competition. The jury included: Virginia San Fratello of Rael San Fratello in Oakland, Calif.; Benjamin Ball of Ball-Nogues Studio in Los Angeles; Ingrid Spencer, executive director of AIA Austin; Jason Sowell, associate professor and program director of landscape architecture at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture; and Seattle-based artist John Grade.

The 2015 FCDC winners will be featured as a special event of the East Austin Studio Tour, and a concurrent exhibition of the 18 jury selection finalists will occur at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture on November 13–23. FCDC, under the umbrella of Ecology Action of Texas, is currently fundraising for the installation and programming of these projects. Tax-deductible donations can be made on the FCDC website.

For more information on the 2015 FCDC winners, including illustrations, edited excerpts from the authors’ abstracts, and full team biographies, visit the competition website

The Texas Society of Architects and Texas Architect magazine were among the competition sponsors.

Congratulations to all the 2015 FCDC winners!