Monday, June 15, 2009

WPA Redux

I've lived downwind from a major sewer replacement project in Baltimore for several years and know firsthand the impact of aging infrastructure. Recently another sinkhole disrupted business and traffic downtown.

Infrastructure has been on my mind for some time now, so I was happy to see the announcement from UCLA's urban think tank, cityLAB, about a new competition focused on the topic. WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture is an open competition that seeks "innovative, implementable proposals to place infrastructure at the heart of rebuilding our cities during this next era of metropolitan recovery."

It caps off a year that has been full of WPA references. There's been lots of discussion about bringing back the spirit of the New Deal's Work Progress Administration. Ready Made magazine did a nice spread back in January honoring the WPA's signature design aesthetic. They asked contemporary designers to re-imagine WPA posters for today's world:

Poster by Nick Dewar

Poster by Open Design

Deadline for registration for WPA 2.0 is July 24. The jury includes Stan Allen, Cecil Balmond, Elizabeth Diller, Walter Hood, Thom Mayne, and Marilyn Jordan Taylor.