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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Urban Explorations: Student-curated Giles exhibit displays innovative architecture, graphic design

Zach Boozer

“Sixty-Nine Seventy” hangs from the Giles Gallery ceiling

The “Sixty-Nine Seventy: International Ideas Competition” exhibit in the Giles Gallery in Giles Hall takes the phrase “hanging artwork” literally: all the work in the gallery suspends from the ceiling.

The exhibit displays competition boards from the “Sixty-Nine Seventy, the Spaces Between: Urban Ideas competition,” an architectural competition sited in Salt Lake City, Utah, that, according to a University Relations news release, included more than 200 entries from 48 countries.

Tau Sigma Delta architectural honor society sponsored, curated and installed the exhibit, which is the first of four exhibits it will offer this semester.

Alex Reeves, senior architecture major, curated the “Sixty-Nine Seventy” exhibit along with Jacob Gines, visiting assistant professor in the School of Architecture and one of TSD’s faculty advisers, who was proctor for the judging of the competition and one of the competition’s original organizers.

Reeves said the exhibit displays the project boards of 15 entries in the competition, seven of which won awards, including jury awards and people’s choice awards. Reeves said he also found a way to represent all 200 entries even though only 15 could hang in the exhibit.

“Another part of the exhibit set up was to develop a way to represent all 200 entries.  We couldn’t hang them all — there were too many  — so I compiled a sort of digital animation of all the 200 entries as well as the 15 finalists,” he said. “This video animation is what is shown on the slide projectors in front of the gallery as well as the projector that projects into the hallway.”

The monitors greeting visitors through the glass walls of the gallery and the digital projection shown on the wall across from the gallery juxtapose with the boards dangling elegantly from the ceiling, providing multiple viewing experiences for attendees.

The competition centered around two blocks in urban Salt Lake City, blocks 69 and 70. Reeves said the competition called for entries without stringent requirements or restrictions, which resulted in varied, diverse designs and proposals.

“They didn’t give any program or anything, it was up to them (the designers). They could either build an object on the block, or they could conceptually develop different methods of transportation, different circulation paths,” he said. “The teams that won, I don’t think they built any new stuff.”

Reeves said the winning entries focused on alleyways and unused areas, turning undesirable pockets into inviting spaces. One group, Reeves said, focused on utilizing unused spaces by climbing above ground level.

“There was one team, for example, they didn’t do too much to the ground plane, but they transformed the roofs of every building into public spaces, bars and restaurants,” he said. “So, the street life was now up on the roof tops and the roof tops were connected together, so it’s like another ground plane had been created, but it was on the roofs of these existing buildings.”

The heart of all the entries and the competition, Reeves said, focused on how urban design can be thoughtful and careful in the 21st century.

“Since it was a kind of conceptual competition, it provokes a lot of thought about how urban planning and urban designing should be addressed,” he said.

Because each team designed its own boards, the exhibit focuses on graphic design as well as architectural ideas.

Rusty McKinnis, senior architecture major and TSD member who helped install the exhibit, said the graphic layouts of the competition boards may shine as brightly as the proposed designs.

“The layouts are pretty helpful. I’ve stolen quite a few ideas from them,” he said. “How the graphics are done, some of the imagery, it’s really beautiful.”

West Pierce, junior architecture major, said the competition’s largely unrestricted nature allowed non-architects to enter, which is seen in the multifarious architectural proposals and design layouts displayed in the exhibit. 

“I thought it was interesting how it was students, architects and artists from all over the world,” he said. “It’s really complicated because they’re given such a small palate to present on. I thought it was interesting to read all the different types of proposals for one project.”

The varied projects and representations in “Sixty-Nine Seventy: International Ideas Competition,” along with the various ways one can view the proposals, whether suspended from the rafters or projected onto a wall, provides a roadmap on the bold new trajectories of architecture in the twenty-first century.
“Sixty-Nine Seventy” hangs until Friday.

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Urban Explorations: Student-curated Giles exhibit displays innovative architecture, graphic design