[un]restricted access | From military space to civic space design competition

Sarmellek Air Base, Hungary | Flickr: expertinfantry

Dotting the global landscape, decommissioned military installations are leaving their mark – symbols of triumph, pride, pain and the unforeseen consequences of military aggression. These abandoned structures and ghost towns disrupt neighborhoods and split entire communities.

Architecture for Humanity is hosting  [un]restricted access – a design competition that will re-envision the future of decommissioned military space. This is an open invite to the global design and construction community to identify retired military installations in their own backyard, to collaborate with local stakeholders, and to reclaim these spaces for social, economic, and environmental good.

The 2011 Open Architecture Challenge: [UN] RESTRICTED ACCESS asks architects and designers to partner with community groups across the world and develop innovative solutions to re-envision closed, abandoned and decommissioned military sites. The six-month competition requires designers to work with the communities surrounding these former places of conflict to transform oftentimes hostile locations into civic spaces built for the public good.

Entrants will be asked to identify a site in or near their community and develop a design concept for that site. The only rule is: It must be an abandoned, closed (or scheduled for closure) or decommissioned military site. If you cannot find a local site, you can choose a site identified by Architecture for Humanity:

Site 1: Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, Guantánamo Bay (Cuba)* Gitmo Here
Site 2: NSA “East Bank”, New Orleans, LA (USA)
Site 3: Johnston Atoll, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands (USA)
Site 4: Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Tustin, CA (USA)
Site 5: Flak Towers, Vienna (Austria)
Site 6: Marine Corps Air Station MCAS), Futenma, Okinawa (Japan)

*Currently not decommissioned but scheduled for closure.


More than $5000 in prizes to be announced. Three designs will place and one design will be awarded the prestigious Founders Award.

Registration Ends April 15 (at time of publication 17 February 2012)

More information at [un]resctricted access competition website

IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr User Expert Infantry – Sarmellek Air Base, Hungary is not part of the competition – used for example purposes only.


About Damian Holmes 5559 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/