CFP - Juried Open Design Competition (CLOSED)


DEADLINE 23:59:59 UTC, JULY 1, 2009


23:59:59 UTC, AUGUST 1ST, 2009

First Prize: 5000 EUR
Second Prize: 2500 EUR
Third Prize: 1500 EUR

The ARCTIC PERSPECTIVE INITIATIVE MOBILE MEDIA-CENTRIC HABITATION AND WORK UNIT open architecture design competition is open to the submission of proposals for the design of a mobile media-centric facility, life support habitation and work module with a renewable energy supply, waste recycling, and communications systems. We invite proposals from architects, designers, engineers, artists, students, and engineering teams.

The design should be an open source mobile architecture / system / machine capable of functioning in extreme as well as temperate climates and containing mass/industrial and amateur production/manufacturing potential. The unit is to serve as a model for mobile research in extreme cold environments, incorporating high tech solutions while utilizing sustainable resources.

Submitted entries are intended for the competition only. The selection of prizewinners does not guarantee the  intent of API to award a commission for the actual building of the project. However, API does reserve the right to consult and negotiate on the continuation of the development with selected entrants pending the confirmation of the development budgets in 2009 and 2010. If realization is to continue, the first prototype will be tested in the field in the March/April/May 2010 time frame.

All winners and honorable mentions will be published in the API Cahier #2 “Architecture”, to be edited in the Fall/Winter 2009. All winners and honorable mentions will be included in exhibitions and presentations in the framework of European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 as well as the international media-art conference ISEA 2010 RUHR, with additional exhibitions and presentations to be confirmed.

All submissions selected for exhibition and publishing will be notified in advance.

The ARCTIC PERSPECTIVE – THIRD CULTURE project is supported by the European Commission Culture 2007-2013 grant and by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia, the City of Dortmund.  Other funding is pending.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the authors and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



The Arctic is simultaneously a zone of crucial contemporary geopolitical controversy and a space with an opportunity for transnational, circumpolar, and intercultural cooperation and collaboration. In light of the effects of climate change, the indiscriminate economic exploitation of untapped reservoirs of energy and natural resources in the Polar Regions is increasingly feasible and inevitable. Unfortunately, because of vested geopolitical and economic interests, all of this is happening without taking into account that there are determined native cultures inhabiting the whole of the circumpolar territories. The Arctic Perspective Initiative (API), a transnational art, science, and culture work group, intends to direct attention to the global cultural and ecological significance of the Polar Regions. API aims to do this through the empowerment of the local citizens of the North via new communications, sensing, aggregation, transmission and information sharing through participatory and open technology methodologies.

API and the local stakeholders will create the framework conditions for collaborative projects between aboriginal cultures, artists, hunters, scientists, tactical media workers, and engineers in the Arctic within three broad topical fields: migration, climate, and telecommunications. In order to address these issues, API’s current activities include the development, installation, and deployment of mobile, sustainable, zero-impact modular research units, open-source Information and Communications Technology (ICT) literacy workshops, and presentation activities within the circumpolar regions. API’s mandate is to understand and address systems of migration, climate, and telecommunications; each sharing complex mathematics, a dynamic matrix, and global reach through scientific and poetic terms.

API is establishing an open, international call for the design of the first of the research systems. These systems are envisioned as mobile media-centric facilities and life support modules that will allow tactical media workers, local stakeholders, scientists, hunters, and community members to create, live and work collaboratively on the land, physically separated from the settlements yet connected through new communication technologies and sensor networks. This unit will serve as a model for sustainable, low-impact, yet high tech saturated creation and research in polar conditions.

In addition to the physical and technological systems, a key component of the project is the development of an open structure for the dissemination of content, research, and design results and a set of open data policy and participation guidelines. These guidelines can be extended for use by a variety of organizations and individuals within native, scientific, cultural, and academic projects and activities. Thus, with the establishment of an open communications infrastructure, the mobile, on-land media-centric units will serve as a model for an empowered mediated mobility for the Northern citizens, which is one of the primary long-term aims of the API.

Rather than giving a voice to popular science, the present project intends to strengthen the territory of artistic research which, in the context of this project, includes indigenous cultures and traditional knowledge. Both cultures, that of art as we describe it and that of science, value human curiosity, creativity, and the desire to understand and represent the unknown. The initiators of this project believe that precisely differing epistemologies and forms of knowledge production can be used effectively in the proposed collaborative matrix—primarily by also taking into account the geopolitical setting and the sociopolitical conditions that are to be encountered in the Polar Regions of the world and beyond.



 All submitted entries should clearly demonstrate the ideas, themes, and designs for each of the following criteria in response to the programs below:





  • the dry weight shall be 1200-1500 kg maximum mass
  • 500km minimum radius of operation
  • 5kW min power generation
  • life support for 3 people for up to 15 days
  • towable/drivable/boatable/amphibious
  • Operation between 10 °C and -40 °C
  • galley
  • toilet/shower
  • first aid facility
  • communications facilities
  • workspaces/rest spaces
  • Stable operation with winds up to 85km / hr


  • rest bunks
  • buoyancy
  • natural light source use
  • provision for modularity of systems on site
  • snow smelter
  • sauna
  • grey and black water recycling
  • ability to support 19-inch frame technologies


Radius of Operations Map

500 km Radius of Operations map for deployment of prototypes:

Submission Details


  • Entry forms must be submitted to the following email: final2009[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org
  • Project files and additional materials should be sent to the above email through a web submission service such as, or an equivalent. If you have an issue using these services or the max. file size, please contact final2009[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org to resolve.
  • Please consult the website for further instructions 1 month before the deadline on June 1, 2009 for FTP information.
  • All entries must be submitted no later than July 1st, 2009, 23:59 UTC August 1st, 2009, 23:59:59 UTC Please check your time/zone vs. UTC difference!
  • All entries must include an entry form with a scanned signature.  No late submissions will be accepted.  
  • API is not responsible for delays, late or lost entries.

All submitted entries must include the following: 

  • 1.0 A digital file of a single presentation poster formatted for printing at 130cm x 50cm landscape format. The poster should be a minimum of 150 dpi and a maximum of 600 dpi in TIFF CMYK format. The poster should include the following information:
1.1 3-D renderings or sketches of structure, exterior and interior 
1.2 Systems descriptions and plans
1.3 Text descriptions of pertinent concepts 
1.4 Any additional drawings, or images to communicate the concept/design  
  • 2.0 Completed Entry Form  
  • 3.0 Additional submission materials are invited but not required:
    • 3.1 CAD files
    • 3.2 Models
    • 3.3 Photographs
    • 3.4 Videos
    • 3.5 Software
    • 3.6 Equipment tear sheets / specifications
    • 3.7 CFD Files

As stated in the above section, to maintain entrant anonymity no presentation material should include the name of the entrant or information that may lead to the identification of the entrant. 

The submitted entry should also not include any information regarding the professional or academic experience of the entrant.  Submitted entries will be judged on design ideas only and any other information will be deleted before submissions are presented to the jury. 

Further Competition Information

To maintain an environment of fairness, selected questions and answers will be made available to all registered entrants.  

The API will answer questions from entrants prior to the entry submission deadline.  All questions must be submitted via email to design2009[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org


The API Team plans to exhibit and publish the winning entries and honorable mention submissions following the jury's selection. All entrants will be notified of the exhibition and publishing details.  
Each entrant must be the sole owner of 100% of all rights and interests in the submitted entry at the time of submission. Upon submission, the entrant enters the submitted entry into Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Please see: for information. Please check for more in depth information. 

In accordance with the Creative Commons license Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, API shall be granted (and thereby assumes) unrestricted license to exercise all rights to the submitted entry without limitation or recourse for purposes including but not limited to, reproduction, distribution of copies of submitted entries, as well as the right to authorize use of said submitted entries or any part thereof by others as deemed appropriate by API in order to promote the Arctic Perspective Initiative.

DISCLAIMER: Upon submission, all entrants agree to waive any and all claims against API as a result of the Open Architecture  Exhibition and publication.  


Jurors will not be informed of any entrant’s identity. Final submitted material should include no name or other information that could lead to identification of the entrant. Competition coordinators will review the applications and assign a random code to each entrant, which the jurors will use to identify the submitted entry.

The ARCTIC PERSPECTIVE – THIRD CULTURE project is supported by the European Commission Culture 2007-2013 grant and by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia. Other funding is pending.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the authors and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Additional Arctic Resources


Please seee the LINKS section of the website for additional resources.


Below, in the interest of fairness is a compilation of questions and we've recieved regarding the CFP.  If your question is not answered below, please do not hesitate to send us a personal message at : design2009[at]arcticperpsective[dot]org.


1000-1500 kg planned include also food storage, technical equipement, laguage, means of transportation, fuel etcr (pls confirme or every item)?

Are the vehicles/engine required to transport the unit included in the mass limit of 1500 kg?

The 1500Kg maximum is a 'dry' weight.  This is a consideration before any of the systems such as hydroponics, computers, fuel, water and personnel are aboard.

When you say it must operate within a range of at least 500km radius, what exactly does this mean? The system must be able to support itself and three people for that distance? Or is it pointing to the fact that to travel anywhere in that range, multiple terrains must be crossed?

The 500km radius is a rough guideline.  We intend for the unit to be operation within that range of travel.  The unit could be towed, or self-powered and traverse a multitude of terrains.  However the systems on board must work within that radius.  Of course it doesn't have to travel 500km in one day, but it might over a season....or we envision a possible scenario for it sitting still for a season and only moving after a particular study / project is complete.  Flexibility is key...

Please explain a 19 inch frame technology and where could I find the exact parameters?

A 19-inch rack is a standardized (EIA 310-D, IEC 60297 and DIN 41494 SC48D) frame or enclosure for mounting multiple electronic modules. Each module has a front panel that is 19 inches (480 mm) wide, including edges or ears that protrude on each side which allow the module to be fastened to the rack frame with screws.
See for further explanation.

Please define what you mean with “Mobile“. Should this unit be able to be
transported by a helicopter or should it have itself an engine?

The unit can be self powered, or be towable by another vehicle such as a sno-mobile, or dog-team, reindeer, wind ect.

What is a “snow smelter”?

A device to melt snow to produce potable fresh water.

What is the life span of the station?

A 5 year minimum lifespan, with hopes for it to survive as long as possible.  At the end of it's lifespan, the unit will either be reporposed, or removed from the circumpolar region.

Are there to be seperate baths for the women?

Separate men's and women's baths are not necessary - we expect due to the nature of the work and the space requirements, there would be a shared bath.

How many women are in the group?

The team will be constantly shifting, sometimes it may work out there are only men, other times only women, however we expect some combination of the two.

You will give us the terrain or we can choose/create it?

The first unit built will be deployed near Igloolik, Nunavut.  The station is to be portable/movable, so in this sense we cannot give you a terrain, but it should be able to 'live' in a variety of terrains - typically in nunavut it is quite flat - or at least one could find a place where it is flat.

you might find the resources and links on this page to be interesting: (especially the interactive map)

What is the main focus, a very artistic and visionary idea or a visionary but realisable technical idea?

We intend to realize the unit in some combination of design solutions.  However, visionary ideas are always welcome.

Any specifics for the media-centric facility – dimensions of the work module - etc?

The only specifics we have are outlined in the CFP.  However, to further clarify, we didn't want to put any restrictions on physical size, as the unit could be deployable from a towable trailer, such as a tent structure or something similar.  Others may want to incorporate multiple small structures which can be linked, and so on.  We need to accommodate a number of people living and working, albeit we realize the space will of course be limited.
Printing poster size doesn’t correspond to any North American or European standards, please clarify.

Please simply use the following specs from the website:

    * 1.0     A digital file of a single presentation poster formatted for printing at 130cm x 50cm landscape format. The poster should be a minimum of 150 dpi and a maximum of 600 dpi in TIFF CMYK format.

In your software or scan of your drawing, please format your poster accordingly.  We will print the posters selected for the exhibition.

What are CFD files?

'Computational Fluid Dynamics" - please see:

NOTE these are NOT a requirement for entry, however if you would like to include them, we welcome your calculations.

'provision for modularity of systems on site'  - does this mean ideally more than on of the mobile could be fitted together to form a community like structure?
Yes, exactly.

Could you clarify how the occupants will be interacting with the local community? Will the unit be placed within a settlement or will they observe from a distance?

After the initial testing phase, there will be a core technical team made up of people from the local community,  which will be trained in the operation and maintenance of the unit.  In addition, the local community will also manage the use of the unit itself. We plan to have a sort of programming committee which will then plan the activities for unit as well. In this way we hope to have people from the larger circumpolar area to come and work with the unit as well as researchers from around the world use it as well - but who does what, and when will be decided by the local community, so in this way they will 'own' it.

Do you have any idea what an average day might be like for the occupants? Will they operate on a flexible schedule or have a fixed routine, will the unit be expected to accommodate visitors or large groups?

We suspect it will be very different all of the time.  However there will be typical systems and communal duties, like living in any isolated group, such as cooking and cleaning, setup, computer maintenance and so on. The unit will not be able to accept large groups as a visit, however when it is brought back to the town, then it could be 'on display' in a sense.

What does "open source architecture/system/machine" mean?

The intention here is to design a system that would be ultimately situated in the public domain, as a resource to people who would want to build a system or modify it. Architecture-system-machine is here to designate the different types of functions and modalities the unit should have. It is an architectural work, a system of systems and a machine for living, moving, working.

What do you mean by "containing mass/industrial and amateur production/manufacturing potential"?

The intention here is that the design should be optimised so it can be produced both on a very large scale and if someone wants, one should be able to build it in their own garage, as an amateur builder.

Do you mean that the design can be built both by a company in a factory or my an amateur in their garage?


We need to know Crew/Duration/Conditions, ie:
        a. how many people it is intended to support,          b. for how long, and          c. at what boundary temperature/s.

The crew should be a maximum of 3 people, up to 15 days, boundary temperatures for the Arctic-Antarctic conditions, i.e., -40 to 20, with the inside temperature minimum of 17 and a maximum of 23.

Mission Timeline: Is there a seasonal boundary on this unit's operation, or will it need to function year-round (in the Arctic)?

Year round should be the final goal, but Spring-Summer-Autumn operations are crucial.

Support utilities: Are we to assume external resources for any of the energy generation, waste processing, communications, storage or transportation functions?

Yes, the system can be modular and this can be part of the design.

Scope: Will there be just one or multiple units built to accommodate the stated program?

If you mean if there is an intention to build more than 1 prototype the answer is yes, if you are asking if there can be multiple units to accomplish the stated program, we would like to see as compact a design as possible, but if feasable for design purposes, you should be able to have multiple modules in a system.

Delivery: How is the unit delivered to its arena of operations?

We are not prescribing this, it is up to the design. It could be anything from helicopter drop, to shipping container to air cargo, to barge...

Mission: What is the primary activity the unit is intended to support?

Environmental sensing, media production, real time media dissemination from remote areas. Art-Science-Engineering collaborations, with Inuit participation in all areas.

In-Situ Support: What resources will be available on-site for assembly and activation of the habitat and support impedimenta?

A crew of 3 should be able to assemble and operate the system.

Life Cycle: Will the unit/s be re-stowed and removed from the arctic arena at the end of operations?


If no (if left in situ), what is the expectation for functionality during and after the hibernation period?

Depending on the design of course, but we would like them to be as sturdy as possible.

Standards: What standard/s or building code/s is this unit expected to meet in design and construction? (eg, MIL-STD TBD, OSHA, etc.)

MIL-STD 810E methods and specifications should be consulted, especially 502.3, 506.3, 507.3, 510.3, 512.3, 516.4, 520.1, AND 521.1.
But testing is not expected in this phase due to cost constraints.

Skill level: Who are the occupants expected to be, and what is their level of experience in extreme environments?

The systems should be simple enough to operate that a person with limited technical knowledge can go through a 7 day training session and is able to operate them.

Operations/Support: Will there be real-time monitoring of the team during their mission?

Yes. Real time communications are very important.

Emergency Response: What is the SAR plan and timeline in the event of emergency?

Standard EPIRB 406 MHz equipment should be installed and an emergency support system for 15 days should be part of the design considerations.

Communications/Telemetry: What kind of communications uplink/s and/or telemetry will the unit support?

SATCOM (Inmarsat), VHF, UHF, HF amateur radios and modems and open communications systems in the microwave ranges. 2.4 GHz, 868MHz, 902MHz and 1.2 GHz.

When i submit everything, do i need to scan the entry form and submit it as a jpeg with the rest of the submission material?

To fill out the form, you could enter the information using adobe's acrobat pro, or there is the freebie software formulatepro -, or you can use a trick with Microsoft word as described here: (we know this is on a mac hints page, but it should work across platforms)

failing all of that, you could print it out, fill it out by hand, scan it and send it to us.

Does everything need to be submitted in one email?

That would be best, however we understand if your file is over 10MB, then please use our FTP site or a service such as

Is there a formal pre-registration?

No, there is no pre-registration process.  Please simply enclose the registration form with your submission, by August 1st, 2009

Can the Japanese participate in MOBILE MEDIA-CENTRIC HABITATION AND WORK UNIT Competition?

The competition is open to all, from any country in the world.

Can students / teams enter the competition?

Yes. In the case of teams, please attach additional pages of the registration form clearly noting the team and all the members.

Is it allowed to deliver two different concepts for the competition?

Yes.  There is no limit for submissions.


DEADLINE: AUGUST 1ST, 2009, 23:59:59 UTC

Please note there is no formal pre-registration process. You can submit your proposal at any time before the deadline.

To submit via email:

Please use a webservice such as yousendit, rapidshare or an equivalent.

Send all files to: final2009[at]arcticperspective[dot]org

 If you have any issues using the above services, or your file is over 100MB, please contact final[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org to resolve.



Arctic Perspective Initiative
c/o Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV)
Güntherstraße 65
D - 44143 Dortmund

Tel: +49 (0)231-82 31 06 (Office)

Fax: +49 (0)231-88 20 240

For Additional information please contact:


Jury Members

Design Competition Jury Member Biographies, Iceland, Sep 2009

Inke Arns
Artistic Director, Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV), Dortmund, Germany
PhD (Dr. phil.) in Slavic Studies, since 2005 artistic director of HMKV. She has worked as an independent curator and writer specializing in media art, Net cultures, and eastern Europe. Since 1993 she has curated exhibitions in Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Kosovo, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and Switzerland. She lived in Paris (1982-86), studied Slavic Studies, Eastern European studies, political science, and art history in Berlin and Amsterdam (1988-96) and has held teaching positions at universities and art academies in Berlin, Leipzig, Rotterdam, and Zurich. She has lectured and published internationally.
Johan Berte
Antarctic Station Project Manager, International Polar Foundation, Brussels, Belgium, et al.
Freelance industrial designer responsible for the design and engineering of the new Belgian Antarctic research station “Princess Elisabeth”. Before this assignment by the International Polar Foundation (IPF) he worked as a conceptual designer, system engineer and project manager in innovation projects ranging from industrial automation, research projects in new technologies, aerospace instrumentation, automotive design and advanced architecture. The Princess Elisabeth Station located in the extreme environment of continental East-Antarctica foresees in its own energy supply and recycles waste water. The design methodology applied breaks away from usual preconceptions making for instance best use of local conditions considering the hostile environment as an ally rather than the “enemy”. Johan’s participation in five Antarctic expeditions and most of all his experience in designing and building the Princess Elisabeth Station has made him one of the few Polar building experts around.,
Matthew Biederman
Artist, Director, C-TASC, Montréal, Canada
Matthew Biederman (a.k.a. DelRay), has been performing, installing and exhibiting artworks which explore themes of perception, media saturation, and data systems since the mid-nineties. Biederman was the recipient of the Bay Area Artist Award in Video by New Langton Arts in 1999, First Place in the Visual Arts category of Slovenia’s Break21 festival. His work has been exhibited in the US, South America, and Europe in a variety of festivals and venues. 
Michael Bravo
Convenor of the Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group, Scott Polar Research Institute, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Great Britain
Michael Bravo is Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge.  As Head of the Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group at the Scott Polar Research Institute, he draws on a multidisciplinary background in engineering, history, and philosophy. He played a key role in writing the humanities theme for the recent International Polar Year (2007-2009), the first such 'big science' polar event to include explicitly the importance of citizenship as well as the participation of northern peoples and social scientists. Bravo is co-editor of Narrating the Arctic (2002) and the author of numerous scholarly and popular articles about the Arctic.
Francesca Ferguson
Independet curator, Basel, Switzerland
Francesca Ferguson is an independent curator and the initiator of urban drift, an international network for contemporary issues in architecture and urbanism. She has been director of the Swiss Architecture Museum from 2006 to 2009. urban drift has organised exhibitions, conferences, symposia and workshops that reflect upon architectural themes in the light of economic and social developments. Commissioned by the German Ministry of Transport & Housing Francesca Ferguson curated „Deutschlandscape“ (9th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2004); „Talking Cities“ (ENTRY2006, International Forum for Architecture and Design, Zeche Zollverein, Essen, Germany, 2006).,
Andreas Müller
An Architektur, Berlin, Germany
Andreas Müller is an architect, living in Berlin. He is a co-founder and publisher of the architecture magazine ‘An Architektur,’ and part of the ‘Cooperative for Display Politics.’ His work as an exhibition designer explores the possibilities of public mediation, spatial narrations and educational approaches in the medium of an exhibition. Currently he is conducting a research project on participation in architecture at the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht. Recent exhibition designs (selection): “Utopie und Monument 1”, Steirischer Herbst, Graz 2009; “An Atlas of Radical Geography”, Casco Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht 2009; “In the Desert of Modernity. Colonial Planning and After”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2008, and Abattoirs Casablanca 2009 (with Jesko Fezer and Anna Voswinkel).
Marko Peljhan
Artist, Director, Projekt Atol, Ljubljana, Slovenia, co-director University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, Santa Barbara, USA
A native of Slovenia, conceptual artist and a theatre and radio director by profession, Marko Peljhan founded the arts and technology organization Projekt Atol in 1992. He has been working on the Makrolab project that focuses on telecommunications, migrations and weather systems research at the intersection of art and science from 1997-2007, the Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation during the International Polar Year 2006-2009 and is currently coordinating the Arctic Perspective Initiative art/science/tactical media project. He is the recipient of many prizes for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica at Ars Electronica (with Carsten Nicolai) in 2000 and the UNESCO Digital Media Prize in 2004. During 2008, Peljhan was appointed as one of the European Union Ambassadors of Intercultural dialogue. Peljhan holds joint appointments with the Department of Art and the Media Arts & Technology graduate program at the University of California Santa Barbara and was recently appointed as Co-Director of the UC Institute for Research in the Arts.
Nicola Triscott
Director of The Arts Catalyst, London, Great Britain
Nicola Triscott is a cultural producer, working in the performing, interdisciplinary and visual arts. She founded The Arts Catalyst in 1993. As Director of Arts Catalyst, she has built alliances internationally between disciplines and commissioned more than 60 art projects. Nicola writes and speaks regularly at international conferences on the interrelationships between art, science, technology and society. She is currently the NESTA Arts & Environment Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme. After studying physics at Imperial College and geography at University College London, Nicola worked in theatre production, arts policy and management, and as a freelance arts consultant. Prior to setting up Arts Catalyst, she was working and researching in southern, central and east Africa.