From his first competition in Portland, Oregon for Pioneer Courthouse Square, to the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program, to three simultaneous competitions for reinvention of areas on our National Mall, Don has evolved his philosophy on and expertise in design competition management and designer selection processes, in general. Recognized as one of the premiere competition experts in competition management, Don has managed and coordinated over 60 design selection processes nationally and internationally—ranging from traditional design competitions to design/build and design/build/develop delivery processes. Moreover, he has integrated into the design competition processes the sensibility of an architect as to what it takes to build, and the sensibility of a planner/urban designer that understands the strategic interventions necessary in city building.
An urban planner and design advocate, Jennifer Mannhard has been Don’s trusted associate and project manager for all the major competitions he has undertaken in the past twelve years. In this time we have tested and further developed Don’s competition philosophy and methodology.
We believe a design competition is a far greater enterprise than a mere beauty contest. It provides a platform for the expression of ideas and innovation as well as an opportunity for research and exploration that transcends everyday practice. The goal of a well-conceived and executed design competition process is that everyone involved (participants, jury, sponsor and general public) benefits from interacting with, and participating in, the process.
Our competition management is founded on a simple principle: GOOD PROCESS, GOOD PRODUCT. We know how to “design” a process that will pave the way for designers to create their best work—to create an environment that is inclusive, transparent, and educational. We design and execute processes that recognize and deliver designs that balance aesthetics, cost, contractibility, regulatory constraints, maximized long-term value, and environmental efficiency.
But we are more than Competition Managers. As practitioners and advocates, we understand both design aspirations as well as the practicality of building. We believe that a competition requires more than the capacity to execute a great design competition PROCESS—it requires professionals that, by the writing of the design program and designing the process, ensure that the PRODUCT will fulfill the aspirational as well as the practical goals of the project.
Designing the most appropriate and effective process is dependent upon understanding how the competition process can inspire design excellence and bring out the best from designers. Our ability to attract the most innovative designers is a result of “designing” processes that not only engage and are laboratories for innovation, but are also based on fairness, respect for the participants, and a commitment to process integrity.
Donald J. Stastny FAIA FAICP FCIP
STASTNY : architect llc | Competition Manager
Jennifer Mannhard AICP
Communicate Design | Competition Project Manager
Client: Smithsonian Institution
Competition Manager: Donald J. Stastny FAIA FAICP
Competition Project Manager: Jennifer Mannhard AICP
Competition Conducted: Jan-Apr 2009
The National Museum of African American History and Culture Act, signed by President Bush on December 16, 2003, established the National Museum of African American History and Culture, as the newest museum within the Smithsonian. NMAAHC is the national museum for the study and exposition of African American history and culture. Its primary purposes are to acquire, maintain and preserve objects which document social, cultural, political, military, technological and scientific developments in the United States; to conduct scholarly research designed to make significant contributions to the body of knowledge in the fields of African American history; to publish findings for both scholarly and general audiences; and to interpret historical developments through public exhibitions and programs.
A Design Competition was used to select the architecture and engineering (A/E) team to design the NMAAHC. The Smithsonian issued a Request for Qualifications and selected the most qualified teams to participate in a 55-day design concept competition. The A/E teams created a design concept for the NMAAHC, prepared design concept boards to portray their ideas, and made a personal presentation of their concept to the Jury.
The Jury unanimously selected the design concept by the team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithgroupJJR (The Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, and Davis Brody Bond, in association with SmithGroupJJR).
Current Status: Museum opens September 24, 2016
Building and Design Team Information:
The Freelon Group, Lead Architect
As part of America’s commemoration of the centennial of World War I, the United States Congress created the World War I Centennial Commission and authorized the Commission to enhance and expand the World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. The creation of such a memorial in the nation’s capital is a daunting but exciting challenge. Sited at Pershing Park on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Memorial will honor the 4.7 million Americans who served in the war, including the 116,516 who died, and will be a fitting addition to the national memorials to the three other great wars of the 20th century, located nearby on the National Mall. At the same time, the Memorial – located on “America’s Main Street,” one block from the White House – will be at the confluence of vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns, as well as commercial and institutional activities, and will continue to serve as a commemorative space, as the front door to adjacent uses, and as a park.
The Jury unanimously recommended the submittal titled The Weight of Sacrifice to the WWI Centennial Commission to be the selected concept for the WWI National Memorial and its design team of Joseph Weishaar and Sabin Howard as the selected team to continue to work with the Commission to bring the Memorial to reality. Properly executed, this design concept promises to remind and inspire visitors for generations to come about American involvement and sacrifice in World War I. And it promises as well to become a popular, well functioning, animated urban park in the heart of the nation’s capital.
FRAMING A MODERN MASTERPIECE | The City + The Arch + The River was an international design competition organized by national park supporters, the design community, and leadership from both Missouri and Illinois and funded through private contributions. The National Park Service provided the framework for change through its Fall 2009 General Management Plan and the competition was supported by federal, state and local government officials, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
The 10-month competition presented the opportunity of a lifetime for architects, landscape architects and designers. The challenge was great – to take one of America’s first urban park sites and weave it into the fabric of the St. Louis region – as well as connect it with both sides of the Mississippi River.
Integral to the competition was the achievement of a balance between new ideas and the retention of the character-defining features of the site, the core of which is a National Historic Landmark. The Arch and the grounds immediately surrounding it would be honored. But the larger area surrounding the Arch, the downtown St. Louis entry ways and both the Missouri and Illinois riverfronts were open to the inspiration of designers and architects.
The Jury appreciated and honored the extraordinary partnership between the City of St. Louis, the National Park Service, and the community leaders. The recommendation of the Jury, to select MMVA, was based on a belief that as each and every part of this great puzzle evolves, the whole will coalesce into an extraordinary regional and national attraction that is sustainable functionally, economically, and culturally.
Kendall Square is uniquely situated between established, historically working-class, residential neighborhoods, the Charles River, the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and physical remnants of an industrial past. Kendall Square and portions of eastern Cambridge have undergone a significant amount of physical change over the past several decades as land uses continue to transition from an industrial and manufacturing focus to high tech, and innovation based businesses, expanded institutional facilities, new housing, and new commercial establishments.
Over the last ten years development activity in the area has continued to feature new housing, commercial space, institutional expansion, and significant infrastructure improvements. As a result of zoning agreements between developers, property owners, neighborhood groups, and the City of Cambridge, over five acres of new and renovated open space will be created, primarily at four locations, in the vicinity of Kendall Square and Eastern Cambridge.
The intent of this competition was to create a comprehensive open space Framework for Kendall Square and Eastern Cambridge that would help determine the character and role of the four new public open spaces; strategies for potential connections, programming and placemaking; and guidelines for decision making and evaluations of future open spaces that are part of private developments, in order to ultimately facilitate the creation of an open space network that further promotes the innovative character of the area, and helps to create a sense of place and community.
The Jury discussed the merits of each proposal and their collective understanding of the “framework” and how it would best serve the City of Cambridge. Through this evaluation, the Jury selected the proposal by Richard Burck Associates as the submittal that best meets the intention of the Planning and Design Goals and provides a true framework for the ongoing design and development of Kendall Square’s public realm.
As the old 11th Street bridges that connect Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods are being replaced over a largely forgotten urban river, a local nonprofit organization, Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC, and the District government will transform this aged infrastructure into the city’s first elevated park: an inspirational new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts.
The Design Competition invited designers to imagine a lively and sustainable communal bridge park where residents from both sides of the Anacostia River can gather and experience the water, the arts and each other; and create proposals for a unique and inspirational 11th Street Bridge Park for residents, tourists, and generations to come.
The Jury came to a unanimous decision to select the design concept by OLIN/OMA, which they considered had best achieved the 11th Street Bridge Park Design Principles. The concept provided a truly iconic form—one that is powerful in its monumentality, yet contrasts with the federal architecture of Washington. It also provided strong symbolism that genuinely represents the coming together of communities—a figurative and literal bridging of the river. There is a poetic aspect to the clean and elegant scheme, and a sophistication with which the elements came together.
The Waller Creek Conservancy sponsored an International Design Competition that called for the most innovative and qualified landscape architects and architects to design a fragmented and undervalued section of Austin into a vibrant, livable, and workable district.
Waller Creek rests in a thin, urban riparian ecosystem that meanders for seven miles from the northern part of the city southward through The University of Texas at Austin campus and along the eastern edge of the downtown area before it meets Lady Bird Lake. The Design Competition focused on the lower 1.5 miles.
Over the years this 15 block stretch has suffered from erosion, invasive species, and pollution. Today it lies hidden by partial channelization and disengaged development. Lower Waller Creek can swell to 50 times its normal size during extreme flood events. The Design Competition imagined a different Waller Creek, made possible by a flood control tunnel that was under construction at the time of competition and completed in 2014.
In asking leading professionals to re-envision the role of a small, urban creek in the context of a densely populated area, the Waller Creek Conservancy recognized a commonly neglected resource for cities around the world. In seeking answers, Conservancy members and supporters sought specific solutions that reflect the environmental and cultural contexts of Austin. They anticipated new solutions that would advance landscape and urban design thinking.
The Design Competition was a three-stage process. The first stages focused on designers’ qualifications and vision. Design concepts were developed in Stage III and were evaluated on behalf of the Conservancy by a Jury of nationally recognized and independent professionals in landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, ecological restoration, and real estate development.
The Jury unanimously selected the MVVA and Thomas Phifer & Partners team to design Waller Creek. This team conveyed a high regard for the experiential and expressive potentials of urban landscapes, a deep commitment to support social activities and civic participation, and great respect for the aspirations of the Waller Creek Conservancy and the City of Austin. Excelling beyond the stated Design Principles, the team was superior in vision, professional ability, and design leadership. The members presented a commanding knowledge of the underlying social, ecological, and technical issues of this project, displayed extensive expertise and experience in each and every contributing discipline, and offered an integrative and transformative design for the Waller Creek district. Finally, in the judgment of the Jury, the MVVA Team submission offered the most substantial promise for transforming Waller Creek into a connected series of public spaces that are of an inclusive, democratic character supportive of the continuing transformation of Downtown Austin.
Stretching from the foot of the U.S. Capitol past the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial and over to the Jefferson Memorial, the National Mall celebrates our nation’s rich history and reflects who we are as a society to America and the world. The passage of time, however, has taken its toll. The National Mall, with 25 million annual visitors, has suffered from years of overuse and inadequate funding resulting in a state of disrepair. To save this historic symbol of our nation, the Trust for the National Mall, the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service, is dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall.
The National Mall will be respectfully restored and improved so that the visitor experience is enhanced and that high levels of use can be better accommodated. The needs of all visitors and users will be met in a beautiful, convenient, high quality, energy-efficient and sustainable manner. The Plan also identifies specific places and provides conceptual and programmatic guidance for their improvement, including treasured places that are the focus of this competition.
To accomplish these goals the Trust for the National Mall sponsored a design competition for three key areas on the National Mall: Union Square at the foot of the US Capitol, Washington Monument grounds at Sylvan Theater, and Constitution Gardens. These three projects were addresses together to create a cohesive approach to meeting the needs of the National Mall’s current and growing levels of use while preparing it for the continued enjoyment of future generations.
A common field one day. A field of honor forever. May all who visit this place remember the collective acts of courage and sacrifice of the passengers and crew, revere this hallowed ground as the final resting place of those heroes, and reflect on the power of individuals who choose to make a difference.
The Partners of the Flight 93 National Memorial sponsored an International Design Competition to find a fitting design to embody this Mission Statement. Stage I of the competition was an open call to present design ideas for a memorial expression that portrays the issues, ideas, and passion contained in the Mission Statement. This memorial expression could range from an individual work of art to a large scale landscape treatment, and could be submitted by anyone regardless of professional training. The Stage I Jury selected five finalists from the 1,011 entries to advance to the Stage II.
During the second stage the finalist participated in facilitated briefings, workshops, and site visits to help them better understand the project, site, and Mission Statement and evolve their designs accordingly. The winning design by Paul Murdoch Architects was announced on September 7, 2005. Phase I of the Memorial was completed in September 2011 and the Visitor Center opened September 10, 2015.
The competition management team included Donald J. Stastny, Jennifer Mannhard and Helene Fried Associates.
The Transbay Transit Center Project is a visionary transportation and housing project that transforms downtown San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area’s regional transportation system by creating a “Grand Central Station of the West” in the heart of a new transit-friendly neighborhood. The approximately $6 billion project will replace the former Transbay Terminal at First and Mission Streets in San Francisco with a modern regional transit hub connecting eight Bay Area counties and the State of California through 11 transit systems
An international design competition was used to select the Design and Development (“D/D”) Team for the Transit Center and Tower. The TJPA sought a D/D Team that would create a unique, world class Transit Center and Tower whose aesthetic, functional, and technical excellence are worthy of their position as the centerpiece of the Transbay Redevelopment Area and the focus of bus and rail transit for San Francisco, the Bay Area, and the State of California.
The process was conducted in two stages. In Stage I – Request for Qualifications, D/D Teams submitted qualifications packages that identified a Lead Designer to design both the Transit Center and Tower, a Development Entity for the Tower, and a full team of architectural, engineering, and other design and development professionals. In Stage II – Request for Proposals, invited D/D Teams submitted design and development proposals for the Transit Center and Tower.
The Jury selected, and the TJPA Board of Directors approved, the D/D Team of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Hines. The design by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA) for the new Transit Center will feature a 5.4 acre park designed by PWP Landscape Architecture on the roof of the bus and rail station. The complementary transit tower designed by PCPA and developed by Hines will be built adjacent to the Transit Center and will provide additional financing for the project.