Dead Prize Honors the Worst in Design
Nominations are now open for the Dead Prize, a competition to identify architecture, engineering, and design that has done the most harm to the planet.
Created by Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity and now the executive director of the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, the prize is ultimately aimed at correcting mistakes and challenging designers to come up with something better. But in the meantime, it’s an open invitation to nominate the big, the bad, and the ugly.
“We don’t believe in being negative,” reads the Dead Prize website. “Our focus is to discover what the benchmark is to design against or getting a better understanding of how a design failed or was intentionally harmful. It is our hope that like-minded designers see these failures as a challenge to create something new, to correct the mistakes of the past or to find the antidote for the project in question.”
The competition was announced at the Union of Architects conference in South Africa in early August. Nominations will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Nov. 1. Nominations can be sent to @deadprize via Twitter. Finalists will be announced in early December and winners announced at the beginning of 2015.
According to the website, the idea for the Dead Prize has been 25 years in the making, ever since Sinclair saw a newspaper story in his hometown of Bath, England, about the 10 worst buildings in the city and tracked down the architects who were responsible for them.
“Over two decades later we rarely see the building and design profession raise its hand admits [sic] to mistakes or failure, unintended or otherwise,” the website reads. “There are certainly many websites that record ‘best practices’ but not the worst. The prize is setting out to change that–to turn into a repository of unloved and unsuccessful projects.”