Skip links
LA+ Iconoclast Design Ideas Competition

LA+ ICONOCLAST Design Ideas Competition

LA+ Journal invites submissions from landscape architects, architects, planners, artists, and designers for the LA+ ICONOCLAST design ideas competition. The competition challenges creative thinkers to reimagine Central Park in the wake of a hypothetical eco-terrorist attack carried out to protest the loss of the world’s forests.

Jury Chair Richard Weller said: “LA+ ICONOCLAST gives designers the chance to take on the greatest commission anyone could ever hope for. By taking on such an iconic site as Central Park, you get to tackle big questions about how we represent and manifest ideals of public health, democracy, and nature. This is good fake news!”

The LA+ ICONOCLAST competition is to be judged by an international interdisciplinary jury including architect and Lateral Office Co-founder Lola Sheppard; author of BLDGBLOG and New York Times bestseller “A Burglar’s Guide to the City” Geoff Manaugh; landscape architect and Snøhetta Partner Jenny Osuldsen; Director of the Office for Urbanization at Harvard GSD Charles Waldheim; and Metropolitan Museum Art associate curator of architecture and design Beatrice Galilee. The jury is chaired by PennDesign’s Richard Weller, Creative Director, LA+; professor and chair of landscape architecture and Meyerson Chair of Urbanism; and co-director, The Ian L. McHarg Center.

LA+ Iconoclast Design Ideas CompetitionLA+ ICONOCLAST BRIEF

Central Park is arguably the canonical work of modern landscape architecture. Its aesthetic and socio-political ideals of health, beauty and democracy underpin the profession of landscape architecture, which Olmsted first named, to this day. Writing of the park in 1973, the artist Robert Smithson claimed that Olmsted “combined both art and reclamation in Central Park in a way that is truly in advance of his times.” But what would Olmsted do today? What will you do?

This competition asks that you redesign Central Park, starting, as Olmsted and Calvert Vaux did, from scratch. In doing so this competition seeks to explore the following questions:

1) If in parks, no matter how faux or superficial, we manifest a collective aesthetic expression of our relationship with the “natural” world, then what, on the occasion of nature’s disappearance, is the aesthetic of that relationship today?

2) What is the role of a large urban park today?

3) How might issues of aesthetics on the one hand and performance on the other coalesce into what Olmsted described as “a single work of art”?

4) Given the extraordinary history of the Central Park site, the competition asks how the new interprets the old, and how together, the new and the old anticipate the future.LA+ Iconoclast Design Ideas Competition

In short, the brief is to create the concept for a new, 21st century Central Park. The brief asks for a plan, a short explanatory text, and discretionary supporting imagery. The competition favors conceptual rigor and imagination, and places a premium on engagement with the questions outlined above. Basic issues of feasibility, materiality, circulation, and programming will also be taken into consideration by the jury.


Submission deadline: Wednesday October 10, 2018 at 11.59 EDT (New York, USA time).
Winners announced: Tuesday, November 27, 2018.

Winners + select entries published: The LA+ ICONOCLAST issue will be published in Fall 2019.


US $20,000 total prize money –

  • 5 winners to receive US$4,000, a certificate, and publication in LA+ Journal’s LA+ ICONOCLAST issue
  • 10 honorable mentions to receive a certificate and publication in LA+ Journal’s LA+ ICONOCLAST issue

LA+ ICONOCLAST asks you to re-imagine and redesign Central Park for the 21st century. LA+ ICONOCLAST is an international open design ideas competition. No professional qualifications are required to enter.

[edgtf_button size=”medium” type=”” text=”PARTICIPATE” custom_class=”” icon_pack=”font_awesome” fa_icon=”” link=”” target=”_blank” color=”” hover_color=”” background_color=”” hover_background_color=”” border_color=”” hover_border_color=”” font_size=”” font_weight=”” margin=””]

Leave a comment