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Get Zero: Metropolis's Next Generation Design Competition
Amanda Reed, 25 Oct 10

“How can forward thinking-design transform backwards-looking buildings?” That’s the question Metropolis’s Next Generation Design Competition is asking applicants to address with a design that gives a typical 1960s building a makeover, transforming it into a high performance building with zero environmental impact.

Photo of the eight-story GSA office building at 300 North Los Angeles Street (in the Civic Center area of Los Angeles) up for a zero-footprint redesign. (via Metropolis)

This year, Metropolis has partnered with the US General Services Administration (GSA) to challenge the next generation of designers of all kinds – architects, interior designers, product designers, landscape architects, graphic designers, and communication designers who have been in practice 10 years or less – to use their creativity and technical savvy to make a positive impact on the built environment. The GSA is one of the world's biggest landowners and is being challenged by its Administrator Martha Johnson to upgrade its existing office building stock to achieve a "Zero Environmental Footprint." To that end this year's NextGen competition is called "Get Zero" and will focus on the design upgrade of one of the GSA's office buildings (see photo above). The GSA has teamed up with Metropolis to trigger innovative design ideas, with the hope of providing a test case project and increasing their arsenal of ideas for future work on other properties.

"Get Zero" asks entrants to design “fixes” that will transform the existing building, bringing it to the highest possible level of performance in a memorable, beautiful, and original way. Entrants may be teams working together to transform the entire building (and its surroundings), or individuals or small groups tackling one or two individual systems and elements (facade, roof, fenestration, interior furnishings and equipment, signage and way-finding, among many other details). The entries must also focus on making the building safe, accessible, and efficient for the people who work there and the thousands of citizens who visit it.

We're big fans of bold sustainability targets around here, especially one that aim for zero impact, so we're particularly enthusiastic about this competition.

Visit for entry details and ongoing updates from Metropolis magazine on this important competition. Entry Deadline is January 31, 2011.

Related: Last week the GSA announced that it will now require all new construction to be certified LEED Gold.

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