Saturday, August 26, 2006

2006 Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competion: A Call for Entries

The practice of architecture involves a wide variety of intersecting disciplines. Art, Physics, Math, Philosophy, Sociology, Religion, Biology are all emodied in the way we shape our built environment. Such matters often come into focus long before the final construction drawings are completed during the intial design phases. In contrast to the dull, highly specific information found in a construction drawing set, the first few sketches and colored renderings reveal a building's driving concept with dramatic clarity. Visual communications are essential on conveying ideas that are impossible to articulate verbally. Designers who have mastered skills in drawing and rendering frequently provoke greater receptiveness to their ideas. An elegant rendering of a building will sell a building far more than a well executed set of technical drawings.

Architecture competions have been common for a long time as a means of stimulating novel design solutions to a chosen site. The juries that select winners of these competitions judge submissions based on the merits of the project's concept, its appropriateness to the given problem and the effectiveness of its presentation. The renderings of these submissions are often dazzling and in isolation are true works of art.

And yet there are few if any major architectural competitions that award the artistry and sophisticated techniques involved in architectural rendering. It is for this reason that the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects has sponsored for 32 years the most senior architectural drawing competion in the world, the Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition. Continuing a yearly tradition the began in the late 1920's by the Architectural League of New York, the Ken Roberts awards both architectural professionals and students who exhibit outstanding ability in hand illustration as well as computer-based rendering. Entries to come from throughout the country, and it is hoped that an even broader number of submissions from around the globe are received for this year's competition.

I've chosen to volunteer in the promotion of the Ken Roberts competition partly out of the inspiration I get from looking at the numerous striking renderings found in professional studios as well as in the darker corners of architecture schools. It is a valuable opportunity for anyone engaged in the pursuit of building design to exhibit their talents as illustrators. If you are one of the many from the field of architecture are quite pround of at least one of the drawings you prepared for a school project or for a real-life building, I encourage you to submit it to the Ken Roberts Competition before the end of this coming October. The competition is open to everyone, whether from the U.S. or abroad, whether as a student or as a professional. Student work will be judge in a category separate from professionals, and work that has been hand-drawn will be evaluated separately from computer-derived examples.

For the first time this year, entries can be submitted electronically (by either PDF or JPEG of a certain size), though you can deliver your entry by mail if you wish. Multiple entries are encouraged, and illustrations in any kind of media are welcome. There is a $400 cash prize for best hand-delineated entry, as well as another prize for best entry in digital media. The Best of Show entry, which may be either done by hand or digitally, will receive $500. Recipients of the jurors citation awards will receive a $100.00 gift certificate from Asel Art Supply. The awards will be presented on November 8th, and the winning entries will be exhibited at the AIA Dallas for two months thereafter.

Such awards are pretty generous considering that you might have already have a competitive entry lying around from recent school work or or ongoing commissioned project. No lost hours incurred from devising entire building schemes from scratch as demanded by most architectural competitions. Architects invest much time and effort in crafting projects, but rarely are true gems that result from the design of buildings ever recognized.

Pllease visit the official web site at, which will show examples of previous winners, as well as the kind of jurors that will pick the winners. Contact us at for any questions you might have. Please tell anyone you know who might be interested about the competition, and the Ken Roberts committee will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

Click on these two images which provide detailed information regarding the Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition.

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