Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti - Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori UPPER - Collezioni d'Arredo per l'Ufficio ADI - Associazione per il Disegno Industriale associazione inarch
nib's home
sky office home

download pdf
Upper SpA and present:

UPPER SpA - via Albertini 20 - 60131 Ancona - Italy
tel: +39.071.213811, fax: +39.071.2138010
website UPPER SpA:
Competition secretariat:

To celebrate its 10th anniversary and the creation of the UPPER Research division, UPPER, an Italian company, leader in furniture for offices, announces the international ideas competition "Sky Office", open to architects, engineers and designers and aimed at the conception of systems, technological components and innovative spatial organizations for the office.
Starting with the competition, which will take place entirely online, UPPER intends to give further stimulus to the research and development sectors offering, in addition to the prize money for the winners, the opportunity to realize a series of prototypes of the most interesting project ideas, in order to carry out their industrial production.
The ideal reference for the competition is the typical floor of the skyscraper. More than any other architectural typology for over a century, in the collective imagination, the tower unites and illustrates innovation, technology, style, economy and the symbolic meaning of progress. Conceiving alternative ways of life and work, for both small and big offices, presents the opportunity to go deeper into the new sociological and anthropological challenges that UPPER wants to dedicate to the hundreds of thousands of men and women who will work in the skyscrapers of the third millennium.
After the reflection following the tragic event of the 11th of September 2001, institutions and media see the tall buildings with renewed interest, as true world attractions. Some important events, about 'Tall Buildings' exhibition at the Moma and the opening of the 'Skyscraper Museum' in New York, together with original publications and websites explore contemporary research from a multidisciplinary point of view.
UPPER wants to contribute to this research requesting highly innovative solutions for working in the most ambitious projects ever imagined for skyscrapers in Europe, Asia and America. Projects by architects from different geographic locations and with different ideas dedicated to clients and above all to diverse men and women, which represent the focal point of an inseparable union between architecture, engineering, art and contemporary design.

To stimulate the international confrontation concerning the design of the future offices, UPPER has selected 6 skyscrapers in 3 different continents, 3 of which will be built in the near future. The other 3 may never be built (the most ambitious is the one-mile-high skyscraper designed in 1956 by Frank Lloyd Wright) but represent the most visionary proposals of some of the greatest modern designers.
The participants may choose a skyscraper and one or more of the research areas suggested by UPPER for the design of the contemporary office space and stand competition with:
- the building's architectural character conceived by different designers:
Piano, Nouvel, Foster, Smith, Childs, Wright.
- the cities and the various lifestyles of the people for whom the skyscrapers were designed: London, Paris, Tokyo, Dubai, New York, Chicago.
- the research areas for the office space:
1. Working in Groups-Overcoming the Generation Gap-Creative Collaboration;
2. Wellbeing-Nature-NoStress;
3. EcoDesign-Sustainability-Recycling-Zero Impact;
4. Individuality-Diversity-Customization-Personalization;
5. Centralization of the Human-Ergonomics-Multisensoriality;
6. Miniaturization-Dematerialization-Interconnection-Mobility.
The 6 skyscrapers selected for the design proposals of the office space:
London Bridge Tower (LONDON) - Renzo Piano & Ove Arup - year 2000>2009 - 306m
Tour Sans Fins (PARIS) - Jean Nouvel & Ove Arup - year 1989> - 420m
Freedom Tower Ground Zero (NEW YORK) - SOM / David Childs - year 2003>2009 - 541m
Burj Emaar Properties (DUBAI) - SOM / Adrian Smith- Marshall Strabala - year 2003>2009 - 700m
Millennium Tower Obayashi Corporation (TOKYO) - Norman Foster - year 1989> - 840m
One-Mile-High Skyscraper (CHICAGO) - Frank Lloyd Wright - year 1956> - 1609m
For more details on the architecture of the 6 skyscrapers, a series of images in jpg format (drawings, models, renderings, photomontages) and a reference plan in dwg format that will be the base for the design proposal, are available for downloading at

The competition will take place in a single phase and is open to architects, engineers and designers from all around the world. The participation can be individual or by the formation of a group, in the latter case the participants will indicate the group leader on the registration form.
The registration in the professional registers (architects or engineers) or professional associations (designers) is required only of the group leader. The designated group leader is the only spokesman recognized by UPPER, while the paternity of the project idea will be equally accredited to all the individuals of the group.
Each participant or group, with a single registration, will be allowed to create and submit up to 6 project ideas, one for each of the 6 skyscrapers.
Each participant may only register one time and thus may not participate both as an individual and as a component of a group.
In case of controversy the official brief of reference is the Italian one.

The requested project ideas must be absolutely anonymous in all aspects (images and text) as well as in accordance with the specifications indicated in this brief otherwise the participant(s) will be disqualified.
The jury, by a simple majority, can decide to disqualify a participant for obvious incongruity of the materials presented with that of the materials requested by the brief or after having found evident elements which could jeopardize the anonymity of the participant(s).
The following persons cannot participate in the competition:
- UPPER SpA employees;
- Those who have participated in the preparation of this brief;
- Spouses, relatives and in-laws of the jury members up to and including the third degree;
- Those who have permanent work relationships or collaborate with the jury members.

The participants will register for free, online, by filling out the form available at the interactive portal of architecture and visual arts indicating: the name of the group and then the name, surname, address, city, email, date of birth, telephone number, profession and registration in the relative professional registers or associations of the group leader, and then name, surname, profession/activity and email of each of the members of the group.
Once the registration has been correctly completed the telematic system will automatically send the group leader an email with the User Id and the personal Password which will be used to transmit the project idea online.
Required for participation are, 2 composite jpg images, (dimensions 945x450 pixel, maximum weight 200kb), and a descriptive text in Italian or English, maximum length 2000 characters.
The materials will be transmitted online by the participants using the auto-publication method in two consecutive pages following simple guided procedures, accessible to all those who have a basic knowledge of internet and electronic mail.
The images and the text must outline with clarity: concept, strategy, design, materials and technologies necessary for the comprehension of the project idea.
- The first page must contain:
a) A jpg image (dimensions 945x450 pixel, maximum size 200kb) which includes at least one three-dimensional overview of the project idea (renderings, photomontages, perspectives, photos of the model, are admitted and encouraged);
b) A text in Italian or English (maximum length 1000 characters) containing the general concept of the project idea.
-The second page must contain:
a) A jpg image (dimensions 945x450 pixels, maximum size 200kb) which includes at least one three-dimensional view of the assembling system and its possible typological aggregations (rendering, photomontages, perspectives, photos of the model, are admitted and encouraged);
b) A text in Italian or English (maximum length 1000 characters) with an indication of the specific techniques, the materials and of the details of the components proposed.
Once the auto-publication of the pages has been correctly completed, the telematic system will automatically send the group leader an email to confirm the successful reception of the materials.
Registrations and the transmission of entries done in any other way will not be admitted.
For the transmission of images and text any internet connection and an internet browser Explorer (MAC version from 5.2 and above - PC version from 6.0 and above) will be sufficient.
The auto-publication procedure of the entries will be active on the telematic system found at from 12:00 AM on the 15th of February 2005 to 12:00 AM on the 15th of March 2005 (Italian time), the final time for the activation of the procedure and thus for the participation in the competition.
In consideration of the substantial time given to the participants for the completion of the above-mentioned procedure and of the adoption of ordinary measures of technological character suitable and sufficient for all, UPPER declines all responsibility for the inability to access the telematic system and/or for the inability to activate the telematic procedure within the established deadline, deriving from technical difficulties that may occur to the participants and/or to the system and not of UPPER's responsibility, for example (including but not limited to), difficulty with connecting to the system deriving from the incorrect use, by participants, of the computer system or of unsuitable computer systems, congestion of the internet connection and/or of the line to the telematic system of the competition, etc…

The telematic system designates an 8 digit numerical code randomly and unambiguously to each project idea auto-published. Not even the author of the project will know this numerical code. The jury members will view the projects, following these codes, and will rate them. For this reason we reaffirm that there be no reference that could jeopardize the anonymity of the project idea within the images or descriptive texts submitted.
Only at the end of the jury process will the association between the 8 digit numerical code and the authors be revealed.

The jury will be composed by 15 well-known professionals, chosen from architects, designers, curators, critics, professors and directors of prestigious magazines.
1- Mario Bellini - Architect and Designer - President
2- Carlo Forcolini - Designer, ADI President
3- Daniela Volpi - Architect, CNAPPC Delegate
4- Guido Canali - Architect, IN/ARCH Delegate
5- Filippo Alison - Architect and Designer, Federico II University, Naples
6- Vanni Pasca - Design Critic, Palermo University
7- Alberto Bassi - Design Critic, Director, Venice University
8- Benedetto Todaro - Architect, La Sapienza University, Rome
9- Luca Zevi - Architect and Architecture Critic, Bruno Zevi Foundation
10- Leonardo Scarcella - Architect, Justice Ministry Technical Manager
11- Giovanni D'Ambrosio - Designer, UPPER Research Manager
12- Terence Riley - Chief Curator, Department of Architecture, MOMA, New York
13- Nobuyuki Yoshida - "a+u" Publisher & Editor, Tokyo
14- Ole Bouman - Architecture Critic, "Archis" Director, Amsterdam
15- Toni Montes - Architecture Critic, "Quaderns" Editorial Board, Barcelona
The jury's decision will be considered valid with at least 11 of the 15 votes.

From a remote position online each jury member will analyze individually the conformity of the material auto-published to the requirements of the brief and the anonymity of the proposals, identified only by the 8 digit numerical code. They will then proceed in assigning, for each of the 6 skyscrapers, First place (10 points), Second place (5 points), Third place (3 points), Forth place (2 points), Fifth place (1 point) to the project ideas considered most interesting.
The sum of the assigned points of each jury member will produce the final ranking. In the case of a tie, the project idea that received the highest places will prevail, if there is still a tie, the first equal prize will be assigned.
The criteria for the evaluation of the project ideas are:
- The uniqueness, the originality and the innovation of the spatial organization proposed;
- The feasibility and the reproduction of the assembling system, the originality of the aggregations;
- The development of one or more research areas suggested for the design of the office space;
- The specific answers for diverse cities, cultures and lifestyles;
- The original interpretation of the skyscrapers' architectural characters.

UPPER identifies the architect Luigi Centola as the coordinator of the online competition. Backed by a technical staff of engineers, the coordinator, other than preparing, controlling and managing the telematic systems for registration, auto-publication and voting, will carry out all of the procedures linked to maintaining the anonymity of the participants proposals, acting as the keeper of the database, with the correspondence between the participants and their 8 digit numerical codes, until the jury makes its final decision.
The coordinator also receives the jury's reports of elements that could jeopardize the anonymity of the proposals or the inconsistencies of the material auto-published to that requested in the brief and sends it on to the other judges for their evaluation.

UPPER will be offering 6 First Prizes, one for each skyscraper, of 2.500 Euro for a grand total of 15.000 Euro. In the case of a first equal prize outcome, the total will be divided between the components of equal placing.
Prizes and Honorable Mentions will be given for each of the 6 research areas and all the participants will be invited to the awards ceremony.
Along with the payment of the prize money, UPPER reserves the option to use the project ideas for the duration of one year from the date of the announcement of the winners. Within that period, UPPER, using its unchallengeable judgment, will decide whether to set in motion the project ideas and in that case the economic agreement with the designers will be regulated by a specific contract for which a preliminary opinion of adequateness will be requested of the professional orders or associations in which the winners are registered.
After the conclusion of the competition and the announcement of the winner, UPPER reserves the right to select up to 10 project ideas, using its unchallengeable judgment, with elements or assembling systems considered to be the most interesting, the finality being their industrial production through the building of prototypes. To facilitate the construction of the prototypes, the participants selected, within 60 days of the invitation, may send a dwg or dxf file with the measured project and a doc file with the specification of materials, production and finishing touches foreseen. UPPER will realize the prototypes at its own costs and direction.
UPPER reserves the right to set in motion the production of one or more prototypes, using its unchallengeable judgment. In that case the economic agreement with the designers will be regulated by a specific contract for which a preliminary opinion of adequateness will be requested of the professional orders or associations in which the winners are registered.

After the jury's final decision, UPPER will communicate the results via email and will send the rating list to all of the participants. The rating list with the images of the winners will be sent to the National Council of Architects, Landscape Architects, Planners and Conservators (CNAPPC), to the Italian Association of Industrial Design (ADI) and to the international architecture and design magazines.
The participants will always be guaranteed the intellectual ownership of the elaborated project ideas, in compliance with the copyright law in force.

The winning and runner up project ideas will be published in a catalogue produced by UPPER, who reserves the possibility to disclose these also by means of: an itinerant exhibition; specialized fairs or shows; the publication in magazines of this sector.
The winning and runner up participants must thus assure the consignment of a Cd-Rom with drawings and images with a resolution of 300 dpi and a vertical board A1 formatted, mounted on a 5mm thick, light, rigid stand.
All of the project ideas received will be exhibited on the portal for the duration of one year.
By participating in the competition each participant will automatically grant the authorization to UPPER to use all the entries for the activities linked to the disclosure of the results.

By registering in the competition, the participants automatically grant the authorization to use their personal data for all phases concerning and pertaining to the procedures of the competition.

Competition announcement and opening for online registration: 26th November 2004
Opening for the auto-publication of entries: 15th February 2005 (12:00 AM Italian time)
Deadline for registration and auto-publication of entries: 15th March 2005 (12:00 AM Italian time)
Jury process: from 18th to 29th March 2005
Announcement of results: 2nd April 2005

nib's home