Storefront for Art and Architecture: White House Redux

by , 10/18/08

white house redux, control group, storefront for art and architecture, white house design ideas competition, political art exhibiton, politics art

What if the White House, the ultimate architectural symbol of political power, were to be designed today?

In 1792, a competition was held to design the President’s residence, and the result was the current White House. The Storefront for Art and Architecture, in association with Control Group, challenged modern-day designers to do the same thing in a competition called “White House Redux.” International participants submitted almost 450 entries with 55 animations. The twist is that after all the entries were in, judges realized that few of the plans were actually architectural designs. Instead, most were philosophical, political, satirical, often abstract — and highly creative. And you can see 150 of these proposals now at the recently re-opened Storefront for Art and Architecture.

white house redux, control group, storefront for art and architecture, white house design ideas competition, political art exhibiton, politics art

Proposals offered interesting perspectives on how our society views the residence of our leader. One design featured a sort of space station White House that would orbit the Earth. Someone submitted a White House made of phalluses. Nine entries suggested painting the White House black. One of the standouts, as highlighted on NPR, was a design that increased the vulnerability of the president by perching the White House on breakable stilts with no protection. The idea was that if you make the president more vulnerable, it would give stronger consequences to executive decisions.

white house redux, storefront for art and architecture, white house design ideas competition, political art exhibiton, politics art, revenge of the lawn

The winning design, “Revenge of the Lawn,” submitted by J.P. Maruszczak, Ryan Manning (assistant) and Roger Connah, was actually so abstract that I had trouble deciphering it. A series of images, some of the White House lawn with insects and people, others more cryptic, with text mentioning the “White Welling.” Here’s an excerpt from the project description:

“Luminous, spellbinding environment of those inhabitants of White Welling who live so close to iDeath and must know the sun not only shines a different color each day, but the world needs constants scripts to renew its own meaning.”

See what I mean? The design is also accompanied by an animation.

The top three winners chosen by judges received cash prizes. The other winners included “12 Cautionary Tales for a New World Order” by David Iseri, Jefferson Frost, Justin Kruse and Laura Sperry; “WHITE HOUSE 2.0″ by Wayne Congar and Arrielle Assouline-Lichten;and an unnamed project by Grant Gibson and Chris-AnnMarie Spencer. The contest has also been memorialized in a massive book, White House Redux, available online and at the Storefront downtown.

If you’re in New York City, check out the exhibit at the Storefront at 97 Kenmare. “White House Redux” will be up until the end of the month.

+ White House Redux

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  1. eraidesigns October 29, 2008 at 4:09 am

    oops! I meant to say I agree with “Snark.”

  2. eraidesigns October 29, 2008 at 4:04 am

    I agree with Urbanlegend. While one could say the competition was open-ended, the competition did call for ideas for a building -for which designs would be very helpful in conveying. That is not to say that we need technical drawings but even just basic renderings would be nice. I also agree with Urbanlegend that the winning design “Revenge of the lawn” is completely innappropriate and has nothing to do with anything at all let alone this contest. In fact, I am not even sure what is written on the proposal is English. Whoever came up with that proposal must either think they’re funny or be mentally impaired.

  3. PatrickP October 23, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Did someone just say “step outside the box?”

  4. Brian Bostron October 21, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I agree with urbanlegend.

  5. urbanlegend October 20, 2008 at 9:52 am

    well, Snark, the competition called for entries from any one, not only architects. The requirements for the cometition were open ended, meaning there were no requirements for actual architectural drawings – anything that could describe the idea of what to do with the new white house. so i think that the proposal for an “actual building” in this case would have been a bad idea, and would have failed badly…

    i liked the winning entry, and i think it covered a lot of the issues that we face in american society, of course in a very absract way.

    you should really try to step outside of the box and reconsider the necessity to redesign the box

  6. Adrianne Jeffries October 19, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    i don’t disagree with you.

  7. Snark October 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    On what basis were they judging – sheer quantity of self-indulgent bullshit? Did they count off for actual diagrams or renderings of an actual building that an actual president could actually live in in Washington DC?

    In absolutely none of the winning entries did I even see something that resembled a proposal for an actual building; instead, there were amateurish art projects accompanied by pompous liberal-arts gibberish that conveyed absolutely no meaning at all.

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