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Jun 15 2021 Calls / Competitions /

Student Design Competition: Breaking the Cycle

Submissions due 11:59 PM on June 15, 2021


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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 centre and the community it serves.

Read more on the competition website.