Breaking the Cycle: Designing for a Community Justice Centre

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Location: Canada, North America
Categories: Student Competition, Public Buildings, Public Space, Public Infrastructure
Submission deadline: June 15, 2021, at 11:59 PM
1St Prize: 3,000 $ CND
Language: English
Organizers: The Canadian Academy of Architecture for Justice (CAAJ)

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Summary: This competition is asking currently enrolled students of architecture programs to think of a multi-use public building providing justice, health and social services to the community. The competition site relates to a community of the competitor’s choice.

Description: Society’s standard institutions and approaches to justice are being challenged in the context of social unrest, systematic racism and discrimination, and violent protests. The present court system, with long waits for trials, high rates of recidivism, harsh sentences for minor infractions, failure to rehabilitate offenders, and the overrepresentation of certain racial groups is one of these institutions being challenged.

New models are evolving that rethink how the criminal justice system operates. These models require a commensurate evolution in building typology that serves and symbolizes these changes while positively enhancing the connection between justice and community. One example of this new typology is the Community Justice Centre.

Community Justice Centres (CJCs) move justice away from the rigid hierarchy of the traditional courthouse into a more informal community setting. They bring together justice, health and social services for vulnerable accused people and their communities in order to provide a holistic, fair and integrated approach to the judicial process. CJCs improve outcomes by applying restorative approaches to justice that focus on addressing the root causes of the crime, repairing the harm caused to victims and the community, helping to breaking the cycle of offending and improving community safety.

The Canadian Academy of Architecture for Justice (CAAJ) invites architecture students to speculate on these issues in a design competition for a new Community Justice Centre. Submissions are welcomed from either studio groups or individuals. The design will be evaluated by a jury of justice experts, architects, and industry professionals. Participants are highly encouraged to explore a wide spectrum of architectural responses from functional and practical at one end to philosophical and social at the other – including ways in which this building could be integrated into the community and act as a catalyst for building a positive relationship between the justice center and the community it serves.

This is an international competition. We welcome students worldwide to enter Participants must be currently enrolled in a school of architecture.

Winners will be expected to provide proof either consisting of a recent transcript or letter from the school explaining your status.   

Students who are taking time off from their studies to seek work experience but remain in the process of becoming an architect are also eligible to apply.  

 Students in their final year who might have completed their studies after January 2021 but before the submission date are still eligible. 

Read more about this competition and download the competition brief here!

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