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LA+ Journal Announces Winners of LA+ IMAGINATION Design Competition

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The LA+ IMAGINATION design ideas competition—held by LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture and the University of Pennsylvania School of Design—asked designers to create a new island. There was really only one rule: the island could not be bigger than one square kilometer. From a floating forest that reduces algal blooms to a metaphysical ode to memory and loss, the competition received 180 entries from 33 countries, with industry-leading design firms represented alongside scholars and students in design-related disciplines.

The jury awarded five equal winners:

  • Jacky Bowring (Lincoln University, New Zealand), “The Island of Lost Objects”
  • Bradley Cantrell (University of Virginia), Fionn Byrne (University of British Columbia) + Emma Mendel (Nelson Byrd Woltz), “Coastal Paradox”
  • Noel Schardt + Bjoern Muendner (Freischaerler Architects), “United Plastic Nation”
  • Neeraj Bhatia, Cesar Lopez + Jeremy Jacinth (The Open Workshop), “The Dredge Islands”
  • Tei Carpenter, Arianna Deane + Ashely Kuo (Agency—Agency), “Pla-Kappa”

“The winning entries tell us something about what’s lurking in the unfettered imagination of contemporary design culture: we have monstrous ecological machines, places of melancholy, emergent digital natures, and of course, those old curmudgeons, utopia and dystopia. It’s an amazing archipelago of ideas,” Jury Chair Richard Weller said.

Each of the five winners will receive $2,000 in prize money plus feature publication in LA+ Journal’s forthcoming IMAGINATION issue. The jury further awarded 10 honorable mentions who will also be published in LA+ IMAGINATION, along with interviews with each of the jury members and a selection of entries making up the Salon des Refus├ęs. Follow the link at to see the winning designs.

LA+ IMAGINATION’s jury was comprised of James Corner (Founding Principal, Field Operations, and Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture, PennDesign), Marion Weiss (Co-founder, Weiss/Manfredi Architects, and Graham Chair Professor of Architecture, PennDesign), Javier Arpa (The Why Factory, Delft), Mathew Gandy (Professor of Geography, Cambridge University), Mark Kingwell (Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto), and Richard Weller (Meyerson Chair of Urbanism and Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture, PennDesign).

LA+ Journal from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design explores landscape architecture's interdisciplinary potential, bringing readers a rich collection of contemporary thinkers and designers in two lavishly illustrated issues annually. Our aim is to reveal connections and build collaborations between landscape architecture and other disciplines by exploring each issue’s theme from multiple perspectives. 

Media inquiries: Contact Tatum L. Hands (Editor in Chief, LA+) at Jury Chair and LA+ Creative Director Richard Weller is available for interview or comment.