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Tahrir Square, Tiananmen Square…
Two famous squares… united by a common struggle.
The struggle for freedom.
And while we believe freedom is of an internal order, it is also of an external one.
People fought, and died, in both squares, trying to achieve a minimum of rights… rights that were very often violated, sometimes tragically.
Tiananmen Square is very different from Tahrir Square.
But the aims of those who protested there, and killed there, were the same.
We urge you to consider reflecting on the architecture of this famous (and infamous) Chinese Square.
Does it tell the truth, in its unshakable stability…?
Would everyone agree that its symmetry and its “order” are also honest?
Symmetry and axial order are expressions of a human “cosmos,” if we are to call it so… an order that, unfortunately is IMPOSED through countless “disorders,” if we are to only remember the massacre of 1989, in Tiananmen Square.
The political “order” quite often has nothing divine about it.
It is repression, pure and simple.
And the weak ones, those who have nothing else to do but throw stones, are punished with the harsh, often deadly whip of an AUTHORITY that does now allow for any dissent.
We are in the 21st Century, but many abuses of the past are carried on, even with renewed violence, into this very present. OURS.
China is indeed a world power of the highest order, but the repressions that took place and continue to take place in Tiananmen Square sadden us.
It is easy for China to project an image that seems to point forward, even in “avant-garde” terms, if we are to consider the plethora of “avant-garde” architectural achievements of the recent past.
But when placed face to face with the realities of Tiananmen Square, with the hidden and the seen, we wonder… how real is that image of a forward looking country…?
As long as massacres as the one in 1989 continue to take place and as long as the mechanisms to control possible new disruptions function as impeccably as they seem to now, we cannot talk of a truly significant change… and neither Koolhaas, or Herzog and de Meuron, or Steven Holl can change anything, even with the most “innovative” designs. Quite the opposite, somehow such insertions of the “new” seem to be nothing else but the other side of the same coin… as long as Tiananmen Square remains the same, unshakable in its imperial solidity, stability and “order,” any titillations with “modernity” beyond its limits seem somehow ludicrous and unconvincing.
So let’s redesign A NEW TIANANMEN SQUARE.
Let’s provoke the change at the center, not at the periphery.
Let’s attack the beast at its heart.
And let’s tell the truth: the truth of Blood and Totalitarianism, of Demagogy and Power, of a legitimate quest for Freedom and its often horrible repression.
REDESIGN THE TIANANMEN SQUARE.
And tell the truth!
We invite ANY work, ANY size and ANY format that responds to the theme. There is no entry fee. The registration deadline is August 1st, 2012. The deadline to submit your work is October 1st, 2012, the National Day of China. Please submit your work digitally to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish all the works received on our website. We will also attempt to exhibit the best works at various locations. Thus, we will continue what we started with the competition for “A New Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt.” The two competitions are related, inasmuch as the social and political issues connected with them are. Please help us envision, as architects, ways to better our life and our world! We believe in Architecture AS revolution!
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