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As Above, So Below – An Urban Subterranean Space - Architecture Competition , Phoenix / Vereinigte Staaten

Bewerbungsfrist 21.02.2022


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UNI competitions - UNIEGIS NETWORK Private Limited
As Above, So Below – An Urban Subterranean Space - Architecture Competition
UNI competitions - UNIEGIS NETWORK Private Limited, New Delhi
Beneath the ground
Subterranean Architecture is not a new concept, as humans have ventured and sought shelter in caves and caverns. Man and animals alike have exploited the protective properties of land and soil long before recorded history, developing simple means of dealing with harsh climates and hostile environments on surfaces.
Ranging from polar cold regions to arid deserts, subterranean dwellings offered refuge from extreme variations in atmospheric temperatures. While some regions adapted to underground shelters, some came up with efficient means of construction to protect themselves on the surface. Underground spaces were then used as places to hide from major threats in the form of tunnels/bunkers. 
The tunnels of the Cappadocia Region of Turkey led scientists to an underground city. It is said that the city was used by the Cappadocians as a long-term hiding place during wars.  Due to long stays, it became a self-sustained city with complex water channels and air shafts. Thus, Subterranean architecture has always existed in some form or the other but in our modern world, the typology was only explored in the 70s.
Running out of land 
Subterrain architecture was brought into mainstream architecture in the 1970s in the form of the Underground movement. Underground Architecture or “terratecture” is a marriage of buildings and the natural environment. The movement was inspired by the belief that our cities are over urbanized and unnatural to live in.
Though this movement saw the concept translating into art galleries, libraries, or recreational spaces, it quickly dwindled and is now used either for private constructions or as a theoretical concept. Over urbanization and population remains an issue that is increasing every year. By 2050, the current 8.4 billion will have increased to 9.7 billion and a massive 11.2 billion by 2100. Today, cities are expanding at an accelerating rate, but over the years there will be no places for expansion, and the future will see stagnant cities.
While this future estimate is an alarming issue it is also an opportunity for creative thinking for exploring and redefining our existence on land.  
Can we re-explore this future by offering solutions now? And can these be right under our feet?
Balancing natural and built environment
The general outlook of architecture throughout history gives us a reflection of the needs of people and their adaptation to it. Similarly, underground places were used for protection from extreme climates or enemies, or threats. Architecture and infrastructure in present times have also evolved with the needs of today‘s generations.
Urban areas are now hotspots for the latest developments in the economy, living, and recreation. Although the demand for development is outpacing the spatial limit of cities. In turn, the existing open and green spaces are now being utilized by the needed infrastructure. It has led to an imbalance in built and natural environments. 
This has created several issues like pollution, degrading biodiversity, and much more, in and beyond cities. Moreover, due to the haphazard and capitalist development of cities, they have more infrastructure to support the economy than the health and social well-being of its citizens.
Can we provide a solution to the existing urban infrastructure that balances the built and natural environment, while acting as a social and recreational space for the people?
Brief of the competition
While the city infrastructure and planning is a result of a much deeper rooted problem-solving, the growth of cities is inevitable. 
In such an ever-expanding future, how will we protect the existing open spaces while also providing better infrastructure in growing cities for public use? 
Can subterranean architecture help us in doing so? Can we provide an underground space that accommodates public spaces and in turn preserves the above open land? 
Brief: Design a subterranean recreation and public park.
The design aims at providing a space that would act as a park/public square, but underground while maintaining the surface landscape. Activities and infrastructure for playing, buying, eating, and recreation are to be provided.
The above open surface will act like an open park but with no infrastructure. 
Minimum eligible age for participation is 18 years.
There is no restriction to the degree or design disciplines to participate in the challenge.
Participation in the competition can happen in a team as well as an individual.
There is no restriction to the number of members who can participate in a team.
The challenge is open worldwide for anyone to participate.
21 February 2022, 4:00 PM GMT+01:00 – Regular registration ends
22 February 2022, 4:00 PM GMT+01:00 – Submission ends
09 March 2022, 4:00 PM GMT+01:00 – Shortlisted entries announced
15 March 2022, 4:00 PM GMT+01:00 – Jury evaluation starts
08 April 2022, 5:00 PM GMT+02:00 – Jury evaluation ends
09 April 2022, 5:00 PM GMT+02:00 – Public voting ends
21 April 2022, 5:00 PM GMT+02:00 – Result announcement
More information and documents at

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