A record number of 1,369 architecture students from 34 countries across Europe have entered the Schindler Award 2010 competition, as of the closing date of April 30, 2010. The challenge is to re-develop part of Berlin's Olympic Park, and to make it accessible to people of all ages and capabilities. The competition is an opportunity for master's students and those in their final year of a bachelor's degree to have their designs judged by internationally renowned architects and urban planners.
Jury president, Françoise-Hélène Jourda, Professor of Architecture at Vienna's Technical University, described the 2010 competition task as an opportunity for students "to propose innovative answers that would improve the daily lives of all people, irrespective of their age or physical capabilities".
Participants must transform part of Berlin's Olympic Grounds into a pleasing, functional and fully accessible sport and leisure park, and develop a new access route from a nearby underground station.
The central theme of the Schindler Award competition is "Access for All", a design philosophy characterized by inclusiveness and barrier-free mobility. Jury member and wheelchair user, Joe Manser, said the idea of the Schindler Award is "not to devise special, separate solutions for people with disabilities, but to encourage integrative architectural design".
Another jury member, architect Thomas Sieverts, said participating students should be mindful of the history of the competition site, which was used to stage the 1936 Olympics. "I'm expecting designs that make visionary statements about the inclusion of disabled people in events devoted to sport and leisure."
The winning students' projects and schools will be announced at a special ceremony in Berlin, Germany, on January 14, 2011.
The Schindler Award is a biannual competition organized and sponsored by the Schindler Group, a global mobility company specializing in elevators and escalators. Present in more than 140 countries and employing 43,000 people, Schindler designs, manufactures, installs, services and modernizes elevator and escalator systems for almost every building type. Schindler supports sustainable urban development with safe, reliable and ecologically sound mobility solutions.