We live on Earth without a sense of the diversity of its life. We have arranged ourselves in a utopia, a non-place: The digital, friction- and weightless world is ubiquitous. It’s like the branded goods you meet everywhere. Differences are disappearing.
That is what we are about to realize.
When the jury met for the first time about the many good suggestions on how we should approach Utopia today, it became clear that the projects we preferred were concerned with how we can land the nowhere we live in, on Earth. The projects did not make us dream away, but encouraged us to get closer to the world that is and that we have not created ourselves. We were fascinated by a willingness to reread history and look back in order to move on.
The projects testified to a willingness to take responsibility; about the courage to ‘stay with the trouble’, as feminist Donna Haraway has put it.
The strength of the projects we preferred was not to give us notions of a completely different world, a different place, but to create awareness of qualities that emerge in the ruins, an era of limitless consumption and a belief in progress and future has left…. and which we must learn to navigate and inhabit.
The projects we have judged and rewarded give us an understanding that we will certainly find that the changes that need to be created will be foreign, transgressive, even if the changes relate to attention to what is situated and close.
With our lives at distance, we have gradually completely lost the sense of what is right in front and which we cannot control. It scares us. We are skeptical of what is not transmitted via a screen, but involves us immediately. It gives the feeling of being lost. Can you just let the grass grow in the city center? It does not work… does it?
But it's great. It reminds us of something wonderful that we must have forgotten. It creates calm. Architecture is allowed to be spaces, not images and signs. We feel like going for a walk. Slowly. And listen carefully. Let me help you along the way. We become aware of the weight of life, and that mindfulness and contemplation take time.
See how wonderful!
Maybe we will still be able to land our utopia on Earth?
- Henning Larsen Foundation 2021 Competition Jury
Carlijn Kingma is awarded the first prize for her expansive, delicate, dreamlike meditation on navigating the continents of utopia.
Ryan Tung is awarded second prize for his work "Phygital Habitat", exploring life in between the physical and digital realms.
A joint third prize is awarded to Lorenzo Abate, for his work entitled 'There is B(etter) Planet, which explores the complex challenges facing the world in the future, and how we might truly work together to address them.
A joint third prize is awarded to Gustav Kragh Jacobsen, for his work entitled 'Engstrøget' which envisions a different future for one of Copenhagen's most beloved public spaces.
An honorable mention is awarded to Jiarong Yao for "The Babel of Desire: A Tower of Self-Reflection", which digs into the physical impossibility that resides in the nature of Utopia.
An honorable mention is awarded to Alberto Roncelli for his 'Perpetual City' entry, which imagines the paradoxical scenarios produced by new technologies.
This year's jury selection was an enormously challenging process, given the volume and quality of the entries. The Foundation would like to also present a number of the proposals which stimulated conversation during jury discussions.