Can ambitious performance requirements and high design co-exist? Can performance be compatible with beauty — and more than that, can it be a catalyst for beautiful forms? These were some of the questions explored by PER/FORM, an unprecedented live competition that unfolded on Saturday at Pratt Institute’s Manhattan campus.
The five winners of the PER/FORM Live Design Competition (two from an online round, and three from the live event) showcase dramatically different approaches to the constraints of the site, program, and performance requirements, and prove that high performance design can be diverse, beautiful, and provocative.
Competitors were tasked with designing a multi-family residential building on a site directly north of the High Line spur in Manhattan. Over the course of three live design rounds, they created conceptual models that were judged on both energy and daylight performance as well as beauty, conceptual strength, and contextual appropriateness. Sefaira’s Real Time Analysis provided competitors with real-time feedback on their energy and daylight performance, allowing them to shape the building according to these constraints.
The three winners of the live round demonstrated three dramatically different approaches. Finalist Andrew Herbst created a craggy, crystalline facade that provided plentiful daylight and shading. Finalist John Campbell designed a modular stepped building with generous outdoor space. And winner Junrui Wang designed a carved, cantilevered block whose topographic forms engaged and extend the High Line’s public space.
The winners achieved an average Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 30 — a 50% reduction from the median multi-family building in New York — in only 3 hours. The winner of the online round, Kaveh Alagheband, achieved an EUI of 22 — a 65% reduction, and below the ambitious 2030 Challenge target.
These remarkable designs help to move the architecture discourse beyond the “performance vs design” dichotomy — proving that ambitious performance goals can yield excellent design.
All winning entries can be viewed at the PER/FORM website: www.performlive.com.