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The competition theme “if...then” was developed by the Architectural League's Young Architects Committee, a group of past competition winners, in response to the League's year-long program initiative “Architecture as Catalyst.” Throughout the year the League's lectures and panel discussions explored whether new architecture“as object, event, or context—can be a means for cities and institutions to reinvent themselves and revitalize their surroundings and whether the formal programming of a given building can shape or reshape its use. The committee extrapolated these ideas by looking at how architects create strategies to design structures that accommodate separate but interrelated needs. The call for entries encouraged entrants to examine the role that architecture plays in providing symbols of cultural value and spaces for cultural production for the public. The committee outlined a series of questions for entrants to consider in light of the opportunities an architect has for rethinking site, program, form, technology, and materials. The questions focused on the speculative nature of design and how, in essence, architects must construct “social fictions” that interpret social and pragmatic concerns in order to transform the raw materials of site and building program into built form.
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