Grants/Developing a methodology to run Creative Commons license-based architectural competitions.

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Developing a methodology to run Creative Commons license-based architectural competitions.

Applicants: KÉK - Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre
Affiliation: KÉK - Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre
CC affiliated? Yes
Contact: Attila Bujdosó
Coordinator: Attila Bujdosó
Project Start: 2010/08/09
Project End: 2010/12/15
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Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

Our aim is to build a know-how on running alternative, open license-based two-phase architectural competitions. Participants of the first phase are required to submit their works under Creative Commons licenses - this allows in the second phase to feel freely inspired by and reuse others' designs without critical legal restrictions. During a 2-days workshop we would develop a methodology to organize such competitions while examining its sociocultural, economical and political aspects and necessities. As a result we would prepare this methodology so it can be tested later in real life conditions and become a starting point of a open license driven public building processes.

Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).

Written statement and descriptive methodology of a competition. Both published online, on a bilingual website (Hungarian and English), which can become a starting point of running architectural competitions where CC licenses are used as standard.

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

1. architectural practices - more freedom to use creativity, sources of inspiration and reuse design ideas; - more effective ways for evaluating ideas; - good ideas find smoother ways towards realization; - higher architectural quality; - more public acceptance; - more publicity.

2. public investors e.g., municipalities - find better design solutions more effectively (lower costs of running competitions); - free access to design ideas and documentations; - more transparency; - higher architectural quality.

3. general public - more efficient use of public money; - more transparency; - free access to design ideas and documentations; - higher architectural />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

The KÉK - Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre ( is an independent professional institution founded and operated by architects, artists and management professionals. The initiatives of KÉK include exhibitions, conferences, debates, workshops, architecture tours and festivals. KÉK has a wide-reaching international network: its partners include the Dutch NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute), the British Architectural Review, the German DAZ (Deutsches Architektur Zentrum), the Austrian AzW (Architektur Zentrum Wien) or the Czech CCEA (Center for Central European Architecture).

Since its establishment in 2006, KÉK has been continuously proving that it can open new viewpoints in the architectural and urban public worlds with its fresh, problem-oriented and internationally relevant programs. Two years ago KÉK launched regular public event series 'Tálaló', which examines numerous public investment projects in depth. KÉK invites the key participants of such projects to sit down for public conversations. Additionally, KÉK organized debates on competition results of major projects like the new 'Budapest City Hall' or more recently the expansion of the 'Hungarian National Museum'. This drew our attention to the current competition policy which is one of the core reasons of having so much scandals in the field of architectural practice within Hungary.

Attila Bujdosó, coordinator of this project, showed already his pragmatic skills and success oriented attitude in organizing Pecha Kucha Night events which attract 200 to 700 visitors each time.

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

Short-term impacts we aim at (during the support of the grant):

   * Initiate dialogue among the stakeholders of public investment projects.
   * Develop know-how on how public investors can run such competitions.
   * Give total transparency of these processes.

We will consider our efforts successful if we raise general awareness and understanding of open copyright licenses in architectural and development practices. The target group of our activity will be stakeholders of public investment projects. Our communication will focus on the following three points: statement, workshop and methodology.

Mid-term impacts:

   * Apply the methodology to a real situation: test it in a real life competition.
   * Refine the methodology based on our experiences from this test competition.

We achieve mid-term success if we manage to convince a public investor to run a competition based on our methodology; a good number of architects join the competiton; the competition gives a good result; involved parties are satisfied; our methodology receives positive feedback; we can use our experiences to refine the methodology; it proves to be sustainable.

Long-term impacts:

We believe that ultimate success of our project would be if CC licenses were by default involved in all public architectural competitions. Architects have more freedom to use their creativity and gain free access to a larger set of ideas. Investors can find better design solutions more effectively. The public gets higher architectural quality and more access to the design process as a result.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

We intend to run the workshop with 15 to 20 participants. We reserve small fees (200 USD each) for invited participants, moderators and facilitators.

The participants will include architects, designers, chief architects, representatives of leading architecture practices and professional organizations: KÉK (Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre), MÉK (Chamber of Hungarian Architects), authorities, public investors, investors, CC Hungary, lawyers, architecture, art and media theorists.

Some participants of the workshop can be involved later in managing and coordinating the test competition.

During the process we will reserve space for those who are interested to join.

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

Architecture is a field of art with a very high public interest because of its economic, social, political and urban relevance. Therefore it is surprising how Creative Commons licenses are so little known and rarely used in architectural practice. We strategically target architects through the public sector. Public investments involve public money, so it is reasonable to require architects to release designs of public projects under CC licenses. We intend to use this logic in persuading stakeholders of public investment projects.

Our long-term goal is to get CC licenses by default involved in all public architectural competitions. If we succeed, a huge amount of creative knowledge (ideas, design proposals, innovative solutions) will accumulate in the commons.

Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?

2-days workshop. We think if it is well prepared and managed, a lot can be achieved during a 2-days workshop! Therefore we put special emphasis on moderation and facilitation of the workshop.

KÉK has a good network of architects, institutions, initiatives and media partners. This allows to gather the right people who will conclude a successful workshop. KÉK has a problem-oriented attitude and an acclaimed experise in organizing events, including discussions and debates. KÉK has examined public investment projects and architectural competitions in the past.

For making a website we will hire a designer who will work on branding of the project, designing website layout and implementing CMS.

We need a workshop space for two days, large enough for 20 participants. Our technical needs are quite basic: whiteboard and flipchart, projector, computer which we can bring.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

We foresee the following risks or difficulties in our project:

1. Drawing this project to the attention to the professionals.

CC licenses are not widely known nor regularly used among architects. That means that communication is key part of this project and has to include the communication of Creative Commons. Here we will invite the know-how of CC Hungary.

By involving many participants in the test competition we can reach a large audience.

2. Making clear the benefits of introduction of CC licenses in architectural competitions.

We will refer to the present competition policies which are often considered out-dated and ineffective. In our communication we want our argumentations both for using CC licenses and for introducing new competition methodology strengthen each other.

3. We expect a strong resistance of the Chamber of Architects and narrow-minded parties including public and professional institutions.

Running a test competition is a good way to attract attention to the project and prove its potential at the same time. If the test competition is successful our project will gain huge advantage in communication.

How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?

The results of the period funded by CC Catalyst Grant - statement, competition methodology and documentation of the process - will be published on a separate project website. This website can later be used as a platform for communicating later competitions. The costs of maintaining this website are low which we can cover from our own resources.

For the test competition KÉK has to find a public investor (e.g., municipality, government, public institute) who is willing to finance a more experimental architectural competition. In return, we will make it cheaper for the investor while keeping or hopefully even raising the qualities of the entries. There are some candidates in our mind, municipalities where lots of construction works are going on in the near future.

KÉK will provide the methodology freely accessible to anyone under CC-BY license.

In the future, KÉK will moderate, organize and promote architectural competitions using this new methodology - and provide it as a service. The fee of this will be included in the total costs of the competition and will be paid by the public investor who announces it. (The same way as it is now with the fee of the companies who organize/manage competitions.)

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

As described above, we intend to develop the methodology which will be economically sustainable. We can either dedicate a group of activist to manage later competitions. At the same time, since we release the methodology to the public, anyone will have the opportunity to pick up our work and organize architectural competitions using our methods.

Thinking in long-term, we believe that we propose a competition methodology with higher efficiency.

Public investors will finance competitions involving CC-licenses for the following main reasons:

- we provide them more effective (=cheaper) way to find better and more design proposals for a certain public investment project;

- we provide them a competition format which will attract more architects. It will allow architects more effective ways of participation in competitions, where proposals are evaluated with a higher efficiency and good ideas find their smoother way towards realization; - more efficient spending of resources is in the general interest of the public.

Thinking it even further, the broad international network of KÉK can help to reach other countries.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

We inevitably need the support of the Creative Commons community in Hungary. We expect professional and legal advise as well as a network to broaden the field of participants involved in the discussion.

For the long-term success of the project we foresee many steps where the know-how of CC Hungary is extremely important: codification, matching with current laws, translation of methodology for international usage; how to introduce the project into academic and professional education; communication - inland and international.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

KÉK mainly communicates through its events: exhibitions, conferences, talks, debates, workshops, architecture tours and festivals. In the past 4 years we built a strong community around KÉK.

We use online communication platforms such as website, project websites, project blogs, social networking tools (mainly Facebook) and mailing list (with +6000 members). Offline communication is rarely used (flyers, posters) due to its ineffectiveness, it is only a plus.

The structure of the organization is horizontal. A curatorial board decides upon strategical questions. Project leaders take responsibility for programs and report back to the board. Internal communication is based on an internal mailing list, online co-working tools and personal meetings.

KÉK regularly collaborates on events and projects with various cultural actors in the field of contemporary architecture, urbanism, design, art, new media and technology.