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Every year in elementary school, our class would visit the local planetarium – and every year we’d see the same show. The presentation was automated, pre-recorded, and never changed.

The planetarium presented our universe as an object – a dead, dusty diorama; as immutable as it was distant. We left bored, sleepy, and more convinced than ever that nothing up there had anything to do with our lives down here.

The planetarium I propose takes a radically different approach: Gone is the pre-recorded lecture, dim lighting, and dreamy music – even the dome above. My planetarium would not merely gesture at the sky as “that thing out there.” My planetarium would point into the visitors, into their purpose, and ask them to confront their very existence.

Architects of the past have imagined the planetarium as little more than a specialized theater. And, like a theater, its space instructs visitors to forget where they are; forget the people around them; to lie back and watch the show. But now that virtual reality can deliver a more radical and absorbing experience than any traditional planetarium could, it suddenly dawns on us that the planetarium was always, in some sense, an empty architectural artifact. At best, the styling of its exterior would attract visitors; yet once inside, they could be anywhere – and thus, were nowhere.

My planetarium would deliver an experience that virtual reality could not. Its design will not allow visitors to forget where they are, or the people around them. It uses architecture to frame the real sky – really, to reframe the sky, the same one they have seen every night of their lives. In doing so, visitors have a chance to leave with an expanding, inflating appreciation for the cosmos as well as the human universe, the community of visitors around them.

Indeed, the experience is complete only once the visitor has left, once the frame has been taken away, once they realize that there is no separation between them and the universe; between themselves and each other.

Now compare this graceful, meaningful exit to the bleary-eyed, blinding ejection from a typical planetarium!

Rather than standing out proudly against the backdrop of a city, my planetarium exists in a forest, hidden humbly among the trees. As we move through the building, we change perspectives: visitors enter a small gate into a long corridor punctured by skylights, ferrying them further and further underground, down to the lowest level.

The base of the planetarium tectonically mimics the compressions and distortions of gravity as it propagates through spacetime. Down here, staff holds classes and workshops, using the building itself as a working model.

Above, a large platform spatially implies observing: Visitors look down at the people below and begin to subconsciously identify with the stars above.

Finally, on the ground level, the visitors are reintroduced to the sky, framed by the elevator, an axis mundi and sundial, then they are led slowly, gently back out into the forest, the Earth, and the rest of their lives.

Eleven's competitions are the ideal arena for generating pro-active international think-tanks in a whole variety of contemporary hot topics and contexts: from social issues to environmental threats, new technologies, shifting urban landscapes, exotic ecological havens, product design, fashion and - why not - even outer space!

We love competitions because they are instrumental in highlighting emerging talent and starting design-led revolutions around the world.

Our challenges have had exhibitions in Europe and the USA,  published in multiple international magazines such as the Architecture Review, the AJ, Dezeen, Archdaily and Designboom, and consistently win awards year after year.

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS:

2015 - Our inaugural competition 'Cambodia' wins the 3rd place in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards, and Eleven is officially in business.

2016 - 'Moontopia' is featured as 7th in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2017 - Eleven becomes the most popular competition portal in the world with a double-whammy placement two competitions - 'Rome' (winning 3rd place) and 'Planetarium' (arriving in 5th place) - being featured in the top-5 places in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2018 - Watch this space...

Cambodia 2015 Jury Team:

Andrew Maynard (Andrew Maynard Architects), Arthur Andersson (Andersson-Wise), Camillo Boano (The Bartlett, UCL), Christine Murray (Editor in Chief, Architectural Review), Elena Douvlou (Metropolitan University of Athens), Ingrid Bille (BilleByeSheid), Massimo Forese (+39 Architects), Mathilde Marengo (IAAC, Barcelona), Perry Hopper (Grimshaw), Shaun O'Rourke (BAC), Tom Kundig (Olson Kundig), Andrea Verenini (Editor, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) charity.

San Francisco 2016 Jury Team:

Amy Frearson (Deputy Editor of Architecture, Dezeen), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Carlos Arnaiz (CAZA), Chris White (BIG), Hasdai Westbrook (Editor, Impact Design Hub), John Barton (Dean of Architecture, Stanford University), Jonny McKenna (Metropolitan Workshop), Karen Nelson (Dean, BAC), Leon Roast (BIG), Lewis Knight (Gensler), Kristi Loui (Gensler), Matthew Mazzotta (MIT), NAP+P Architects (Winner of Cambodia 2015: consisting of members Natthapol Pongplanchai, Planin Chantalert, Porncharoen Orbanratmanee, Pratchaya Lertruck Sadee), Roger Hawkins (Hawkins/Brown), Trent Tesch (KPF), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Project Night Night charity. 

Moontopia Jury Team:

ASPECT Studios (Winners of San Francisco 2016), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (IDEA Architecture Office), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Brent Sherwood (NASA), Christina Ciardullo (Carnegie Mellon University), Kriss J. Kennedy (NASA), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Biomimicry Jury Team:

Alexander Walter (Editor, Archinect & Bustler), Jan Utzon (Utzon Associates Architects), Richard James MacCowan (Biomimicry Institute UK), Timothy McGee (LikoLab), Yaniv Peer (Exploration Architecture), Marko Brajovic (Atelier Marko Brajovic), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Rome 2017 Jury Team:

Patrik Schumacher (Director, Zaha Hadid Architects), Francesco Gatti (3Gatti), Francesco Lipari (OFL Architecture / Cityvision Magazine), Emanuel Jalbert (In Situ), Lorenzo Catena, Onorato di Manno and Andrea Tanci (SET Architects), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Planetarium Jury Team:

Christina Ciardullo (Architectural Designer and Educator), Thomas Wang (Partner, Ennead Architects), Lars Lindberg Christensen (Head of Education and Public Outreach, ESO), Dan Goods (Artist in Residence, NASA JPL), Eric Hanson (Founder and Partner, xRez Studio), Jim Sweitzer (Astrophysicist and Museum Consultant), Stephen Dubois (Secretary, Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society), Charles Beichman (Executive Director, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech / NASA JPL), Dennis Cohen (Creative Director and Experience Designer, Ralph Applebaum Associates),  Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with Christina Ciardullo and sponsored by the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society (MAPS)

Shelter 48 Jury Team:

Abeer Seikaly (Architect & Cultural Designer), Narinder Sagoo (Partner, Fosters + Partners), Hakan Gürsu (Founder & CEO, Designnobis), Amro Callam (Executive Director, Architecture for Society), Karina Ashrapova (Winner, Eleven's Biomimicry Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven) Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Poster graphics designed by Concept BRE

Safari (Matobo, Zimbabwe 2017) Jury Team:

Beks Ndlovu (CEO, African Bush Camps), Derek Solomon (Animal Behaviour and Communication Specialist/Author/Private Guide), Rob Janisch (Biomimicry and Genius of Nature Guru/Private Guide), Chris Browne (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Debra Fox (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Charlene Hewat (CEO, Environment Africa), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with African Bush Camps and also in support of their charity African Bush Camp Foundation.

Marstopia Jury Team:

Andrew Aldrin (Son of legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Director of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (Architect and Academic, IDEA Architecture Office), Jessie Andjelic (Founding Partner of SPECTACLE and Head of Mars Studio at the University of Calgary), Marc Guberman (Team Leader of the Mars Habitat Project and Partner at Fosters + Partners), Stefano Boeri (Founding Partner, Stefano Boeri Architetti), SEArch Architects (Awarded first place in NASA’s 3D Printed Mars Habitat Challange), Vera Mulyani (CEO and Founder, Mars City Design), ZA Architects (Directors and Co-Founders Dmitry Zhuikov and Arina Agieieva), Monika Lipinska, Laura Olivier and Inci Ogun (Winners of Eleven's Moontopia Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Competition friend: Mars City Design

Macro to Micro Jury Team:

Adam Vickers (Managing Director of Squareyard Landscape Architecture), Wayne Hemingway (Chairman at CABE and Founder of Hemingway Design), Max Farrell (Senior Partner at Farrells), Lisa Kinch (Associate Architect at Farrells and Lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture), Katy Lock (Policy Manager at Garden Cities and New Towns, Town and Country Planning Association), Steve Sheen (Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager at Manchester City Council), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event is run in partnership with BETA Events, sponsored by Square Yard, and is part of the event BETA Housing 2018 (12 July, Manchester, UK).

Malecon (Havana) Jury Team:

Peter Noever (Professor, Principle at No/Ever Design and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Wolf D. Prix (Professor, Principle/CEO at COOP HIMMELB(L)AU and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Theodore Hoerr (Founding Principal, Terrain Work), Paul Bulkeley (Design Director, Snug Architects), Carl Prusha (Professor, Director at CP Architects and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Carlos Arnaiz (Founding Partner, CAZA), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Plastic Worlds Jury Team:

Chris Precht (Founding Partner, Penda), Luca Maccarinelli (Associate, Spark* Architects), Michael Pawlyn (Founder, Exploration Architecture), Richard James MacCowan (Founder, Biomimicry UK), Safia Qureshi (CEO, CupClub), Shannon Royden-Turner (Founder, Actuality), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Sponsoring a competition is a great and fun way to not only support creative innovation and foster talent but also raise your profile and visibility. We offer a wide range of sponsorship packs tailored to fit all budgets and designed to maximise your global outreach.

If you like what we do, then why not inquire about how you could sponsor a competition today?  Contact us to find out more.