League Prize 2001: City Limits


Cities provoke a multiplicity of readings that correspond to different points of view and locations. Architects continue to be faced with the task of reading and projecting and building cities. Practices may be simultaneously local and/or global, and/or tactical and/or strategic.

In contrast to the age of the Industrial Revolution, the immense scope of recently technological advances in DNA mapping and data flows originates at the compressed scale of the particles and elements involved. How is the relevance of such “minutiae” affecting the conception of urban forms?

If urban conditions of proximity and density are no longer necessary to exchange information, products, ideas and beliefs, what is the relevance of the City as a center of exchange? And, if historic conceptions of cities have in part been a definition of limits, how does a re-conception of boundaries due to contemporary modes of exchange alter the limits of cities?

The urban street has resisted co-optation by private interests as a site to reinvent and air imaginings, for profane pleasures, and of survival. It has historically been the frame of our metropolitan imaginings. Cities continue to be both physical and psychological constructs. In what ways do current modes of architectural production address cities as artifacts and cities as visions? What are we imagining now?

Invisible divisions and orders obstruct the optimistic goal-efficient distribution of infrastructure—a plethora of noise streams onto the hard drive—a diverse distraction enhanced and contrasted testing the limits of cities, states, and nations. The urban promise of social promiscuity and momentary intimacies mocks those who would write the obliteration of cities—Have we reached the city’s limits?

2001 Winners: 
Teddy Cruz
Thaddeus Briner
Petra Kempf
nARCHITECTS: Eric Bunge & Mimi Hoang
SERVO: Chris Perry, David Erdman, Marcelyn Gow & Ulrika Karlsson
Eric Worcester

2001 League Prize Committee:
James Slade
Yolande Daniels
Jeremy Edmiston

2001 Jurors:
Wolf Prix
Nanako Umemoto
Mark Wigley