In addition to illustrating their work, each competition entrant was asked to analyze how their work responded to today's environment and its altered or "second nature." The Young Architects Committee provided the following paragraph and posed the following questions to the entrants: Architecture, like many of the other arts, was once understood as mimetic or a transcendent order manifest in Nature. By looking to Nature as an ideal, rules could be established towards defining disciplinary rigor, criteria for beauty and essential qualities in form. Today, very little in nature remains intact, removing it from its position as a source of metaphysical truths. Much of what one works with or comes in touch with is already some form of altered, second nature-from cultivated landscapes, processed and prefabricated materials to simulated and artificial environments.

How does one define and respond to nature in its altered state? What are the ramifications of the shift away from Nature as an untouched ideal? Does nature in its modified form evoke an alternate set of rules and strategies for good design? At what levels and scales can an idea of nature be constructed and maintained in a world where so much is being programmed, retooled and restructured? How does operating within a "second nature" affect your work?