Less Talk, More Action: Black Spectacles Launches the The Un-Competition Project to Highlight Design entrepreneurship

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Black Spectacles has released The Un-Competition Project, a competition that celebrates designers who invent projects by finding design problems in their own communities, solving them and figuring out how to realize them. Submissions are due November 7, 2011. Learn more at http://www.blackspectacles.com/p?=847

Un-Competition Project Header Image

Un-Competition Project Header Image

“The Un-Competition Project aims to become a catalyst for the design community by suggesting that there is an opportunity - and perhaps duty - to go find design problems in your community, propose your solution to them, and to get the work realized."

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With the support of the Chicago Architecture Club, Black Spectacles -- an online publication and course library for training in architecture and design software- has opened a dialogue about design entrepreneurship by taking a new look at The Competition. There is a long history of design competitions in the United States and abroad but although design competitions serve an important purpose for the design community, it is rare for something meaningful or truly useful to come from them. As Black Spectacles founder Marc Teer notes: “We intend for the Un-Competition Project to become a catalyst for the design community by suggesting that there is an opportunity - and perhaps duty - to go find design problems in your community, propose your solution to them, and try to get the work realized.”

In a time when the design community is still reeling from the effects of the economic downturn, this is a welcome reminder. Many architects and designers having a hard time finding a job could be working on valuable projects for their communities, which would help them exercise their design skills, explore their own design ideas, get something built, make a name for themselves, and most importantly, make a positive contribution to their community. It’s also a way for individuals to get a firm off of the ground.

Taking inspiration from Scott Belsky’s “The 99 percent,” and countless other stories of Architects who made up their own projects and worked hard to get them built, Teer thinks that these people and their efforts need to be celebrated: “Belsky’s reminder from Edison that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration is dead on and we need that reminder to go invent our next (or first) award winning design project. And frankly its not just for us, its for our community- it’s an important point of engagement.”

The competition, which is due November 7th, is also working to leverage social media. Entries do not take the traditional form of physical or digital presentation boards, but are required to be 60 second videos posted to Black Spectacles’ Facebook page: “The intent for the Un-Competition Project is to create a vast library of stories celebrating design entrepreneurship that can be shared among members of the design community. These stories will provide tremendous mentorship to designers of all ages- especially those who spend a lot of time on Facebook every day” notes Teer.

Along with the competition, The Chicago Architectural Club is going to host an event that continues the discussion about design entrepreneurship. Alan Barker, Board Member of the Chicago Architecture Club notes: “The Un-Competition Project is a different way of thinking about Architecture. It’s an intriguing and promising way to think about design entrepreneurship, of promoting the profession and helping to move young architects forward. The Un-Competition Project is an opportunity for young practitioners to hone their skills, to contribute something to their local community and to establish a foothold for themselves. At our event on November 14th, we will talk about all of these things with The Un-Competition Project as a framework and anyone can come in and appreciate it whether they submitted a design or not.”

The Un-Competition Project is due November 7, for details visit: http://www.blackspectacles.com/?p=847
For a video description of The Un-Competition Project visit Black Spectacles’ YouTube Page.

The Un-Competition Project will be followed by an event hosted by the Chicago Architecture Club that will continue the discussion about design entrepreneurship. Visit http://www.chicagoarchitecturalclub.org for details.

About Black Spectacles:
Black Spectacles is an online publication and course library that provides articles, interviews and education in architecture and design technology.

Black Spectacles was founded in Chicago in March 2011 as a free online publication that creates articles and interviews about how technology is enabling world-class architecture and design. In October 2011 Black Spectacles will add an online library of courses in architecture and design software that will be available with a monthly or annual membership.

This publication and these courses will combine to offer a greater understanding and proficiency in design technology. With this expanded knowledge, we are aiming to advance the creative potential of the architecture and design professions by leveling the playing field in design technology.

The Un-Competition Project was conceived to advocate for a design tool that we are passionate about, and that often goes overlooked: Design Entrepreneurship.


About the Chicago Architectural Club
From its founding in 1885 as an architectural sketch club, to today’s rich schedule of discussions, competitions and exhibitions, the CAC has consistently championed the work of Chicago architects, as well as fostered ongoing, vigorous debate on fundamental issues of art and practice. Today, the CAC has rededicated itself to carrying forward Chicago’s robust architectural legacy into a new century.



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