Switch Competitions invites all architecture students, and young professionals to develop and submit compelling ideas for the design of a cultural center for all, located in the soul of the Silk Road cities – Baku. The narrative of this competition design stems from revisiting the solid traditional roots and foundation as well as sculpting the community for the years to come. Designing a center that houses a network for all; a space that welcomes all and celebrates the notion of co-existence.
As one of the most important trade exchange channels, the Silk Road was also a “cultural bridge” between Asia and Europe. The system has existed for over 2,000 years. The Silk Road represented a form of the global economy and spanned the Asian continent with widespread transmission of knowledge and ideas which had a profound impact on the culture. A network of mostly land but also sea trading routes, the Silk Road stretched from China to Korea and Japan in the east, Turkey and Italy in the west and linked China through Central Asia to India in the south. Trading activities along the Silk Road over many centuries facilitated the transmission of not just of goods but also ideas and culture, promoting a socio-cultural economy.
Today, we have diffused the idea of identity, culture, roots, and traditions, forgetting the ‘past’ and focusing on the idea of ‘future’ not realizing the damage that is being done to the ‘present’. As globalization is being embraced, the cultural identity of places is dying. This changing culture of architecture has deeply affected our symbolic beliefs and attitude.
Buildings inherently document the everyday life of a culture – the essence of a built-up environment is the manifestation of culture. They are repositories of the patterns of activity and movement of a society or people. Architecture reflects and influences culture, in a circle that arcs from art, food, dance, music, etc., and embracing values. The role of culture in promoting architectural identity seems essential and thus, architecture becomes a direct expression of culture.
At the intersection of the notions of culture and tourism, cultural centers increasingly stand out as the linkage between the exchange of values, habits, and social life. They are the most eternal means of expressing ourselves – of transferring ideas and values. Cultural Centers also play a vital role in retaining morals and beliefs for the community. The integration of architectural features, forms, and materials help imbibe the past as an active part of the future; a vision for the society in the coming years is just as important as retaining the values of old.
Prizes worth EUR 2500 are up for claim with the distribution as follows:
FIRST PRIZE: EUR 1200
SECOND PRIZE: EUR 800
THIRD PRIZE: EUR 500
Apart from the winners, the jury will select ’10 Editors’ Choices’ who will be featured on our website and several other international magazines and websites across the world. The winners and Editors’ Choices will be provided with an honorary certificate.