Design It : Shelter Competition, 3-D Architecture, Google Earth, Dates, News

Design It : Shelter Competition : Information

Global Architecture Contest Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

page updated 27 Aug 2016

Design It : Shelter Competition, USA
23 Aug Submission Deadline
Guggenheim Museum + Google SketchUp contest
Design for 3-D shelter for any location using Google SketchUp, Google Earth and Google 3D Warehouse

Guggenheim Teams With Google In Global Design Competition Inspired By Frank Lloyd Wright

3-D Architecture Competition

Design It: Shelter Competition
Invites Public to Design Virtual Shelters Using Google Earth and 3-D Modeling Software

Ironwood, designed by Chad Cornette, 2000
Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA:
Design It Shelter Ironwood Ironwood Shelter
photograph © Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Scottsdale, Arizona ; photos : Aris Georges

Competition Opens: June 8, 2009
Competition Closes: August 23, 2009
Public Voting: September 7 – October 10, 2009
Winners Announced: October 21, 2009

Ironwood, designed by Chad Cornette, 2000
Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona
Model courtesy the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Scottsdale, Arizona and Aidan Chopra, Google SketchUp, 2009
Design It : Shelter Competition Design It : Shelter
images © Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Scottsdale, Arizona


(NEW YORK, NY—June 8, 2009) – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Google today announced the launch of Design It: Shelter Competition, a global, online initiative that invites the public to use Google Earth and Google SketchUp to create and submit designs for virtual 3-D shelters for a location of their choice anywhere on Earth. The competition opens today, June 8, 2009, Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday; closes to submissions on August 23; and ends on October 21, the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum’s opening, when two prizes, a Juried Prize and a People’s Prize, will be awarded.

“Throughout the Guggenheim’s 50th anniversary year, one of our most important goals is to engage new and ever-broader global audiences to understand and appreciate art and architecture through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. Our collaboration with Google is certainly providing us with a technologically exciting means to do just that,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum.

Design It: Shelter Competition Web Site
Between June 8 and August 23, 2009, everyone from students to amateur designers to design and architecture professionals can visit the Design It Shelter Competition Web site for information on how to enter the competition and download Google Earth and Google SketchUp. After choosing a location on Google Earth, participants can use SketchUp 3-D modeling software to create original designs for 100-square-foot structures in which to live and work. Completed designs are then uploaded to the Google 3D Warehouse and submitted via the Design It: Shelter Competition Web site where site visitors will be able to browse through all of the entries.

“Google SketchUp is a free software program that enables anyone to create and share 3-D models of anything imaginable. It’s a fancy pencil. People have an easy time picking it up and making whatever comes to mind. Some of them design buildings and some just fiddle around with their furniture, but all of them are being creative—and that’s what we set out to enable more people to be able to do,” said Aidan Chopra, Product Evangelist, Google SketchUp.

The competition takes its inspiration from Learning By Doing, an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum’s Sackler Center for Arts Education curated by David van der Leer, the museum’s Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, which features plans, photographs, and models of shelters built by students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. For the past seven decades, students at the school have taken on the challenge of designing, building, and living in small shelters nestled in the landscape of the school’s Arizona Taliesin West campus and recently on the Taliesin campus in Wisconsin as well. In addition to providing hands-on management and construction experience, the shelter program encourages students to consider human needs for safety and comfort as well as the relationship between architecture and place. Inspired by the program, the Design It: Shelter Competition opens Wright’s challenge to the world by asking participants to design an ideal shelter in a location of their choice and in response to that location. “We hope this competition will raise awareness of the role that architecture and design can play in everyday life while stimulating a sense of joy for design,” said van der Leer.

“The Google SketchUp community includes students, designers, architects, and artists all over the world—audiences shared by the Guggenheim,” said Chopra. “This design competition is a way to bring these communities together online, which is why we are so excited to collaborate with the Guggenheim and provide them with the tools—Google Earth and Google SketchUp—that will be used in this unique competition.”

Following the contest submission period, Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture students will select ten entries as finalists. The public will be invited to vote on the finalists online from September 7 through October 10 to determine the winner of the People’s Prize. At the same time, a jury of experts in the fields of architecture and design will review all shelter submissions to choose the winner of the Juried Prize.

Jury members include Martin Cox, Principal, Bade Stageberg Cox; Neil M. Denari, Principal, Neil M. Denari Architects; Cathleen McGuigan, Architecture Critic, Newsweek; Victor Sidy, Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture; Lisa Strausfeld, Partner, Pentagram; Aidan Chopra, Product Evangelist, Google SketchUp; and David van der Leer, Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design at the Guggenheim. The two competition winners will be announced on October 21, 2009. Prizes will include airfare and two nights’ accommodation for two in New York City, behind-the-scenes tours of the Guggenheim Museum and Google offices, and Google SketchUp Pro licenses. The Juried Prize will also include a $1,000 cash award.

New Programming on Guggenheim Website, completely redesigned and relaunched in November 2008, received the 2009 Webby Award for Best Cultural Institution Web Site of the year. Along with the Design It: Shelter Competition, new features include videos of exhibitions, a photo gallery of select events, and the upcoming launch of Guggenheim Forum, a series of moderated online discussions among experts from a variety of fields that will occur in conjunction with major museum exhibitions. Each Guggenheim Forum will span two weeks, with one or more live chat sessions between the panel and site visitors offered during that period.

To continue public dialogue on the exhibition-inspired topic, visitors are welcomed to submit their comments at any time, and select comments will be posted. The inaugural Guggenheim Forum, titled Between the Over- and Underdesigned, addresses the subject of how design can enhance or detract from everyday life. It takes place June 22 through July 2 with live chat sessions scheduled with moderator Aric Chen, independent journalist, critic, and curator, for 11 am EDT on Thursday, June 25, and with David van der Leer for 2 pm EDT on Tuesday, June 30. Guggenheim Forum may be found beginning June 22 at

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum

The Design It: Shelter Competition and other Web initiatives comprise part of a year-long celebration of art, architecture, and innovation which marks the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim’s landmark building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. With the opening of the exhibitions Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward (May 15-August 23), co-organized with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and Learning By Doing (May 15–August 23), and in conjunction with the 50th anniversary, the Guggenheim has initiated the development of a more active program in architecture and design.

Planned throughout the anniversary year are major exhibitions and programs; free public events and citywide celebrations; a new, annual arts award; a live contemporary music series; and new publications. Complete and up-to-date information on all of the Guggenheim Museum’s 50th anniversary programs and activities is available at

Location: USA

Guggenheim Museum New York : Building


Admission: Adults $18.00, students/seniors (65+) $15.00, members and children under 12 free. Admission includes audio-guide tour.
Museum Hours: Saturday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. On Saturdays, beginning at 5:45 p.m., the museum hosts Pay What You Wish. Closed Thursday.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao architect design by Frank Gehry Architects, Santa Monica, CA, USA.

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