The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Google today announced the launch of Design It: Shelter Competition, a global, online initiative that invites the public to use Google Earth and Google SketchUp to create and submit designs for virtual 3-D shelters for a location of their choice anywhere on Earth. The competition opened June 8, 2009, Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday; closes to submissions on August 23.
The competition takes its inspiration from Learning By Doing, an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum’s Sackler Center for Arts Education curated by David van der Leer, the museum’s Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, which features plans, photographs, and models of shelters built by students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. For the past seven decades, students at the school have taken on the challenge of designing, building, and living in small shelters nestled in the landscape of the school’s Arizona Taliesin West campus and recently on the Taliesin campus in Wisconsin as well. In addition to providing hands-on management and construction experience, the shelter program encourages students to consider human needs for safety and comfort as well as the relationship between architecture and place. Inspired by the program, the Design It: Shelter Competition opens Wright’s challenge to the world by asking participants to design an ideal shelter in a location of their choice and in response to that location. “We hope this competition will raise awareness of the role that architecture and design can play in everyday life while stimulating a sense of joy for design,” said van der Leer.