Looking for something meaningful: a short interview with William Kempton


For the second installment in this interview series we have had a chat with jury member William Kempton, PhD Fellow at Center for Design Research, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Why did he choose to be part of this competition?

Having done my masters education in design at AHO, I saw 120 HOURS rise from being a small, primarily architectural student competition, to a multi-disciplinary design competition. This is the secret to making things well.

How do you see the relevance of this type of competition in the field?

Creating architecture and urban areas that considers man-made climate change is surely a monumental and important challenge. To create an awareness of this is equally important.

How do you see this topic as relevant to the architecture/design field, to your own practice and/or to society in general?

I really don’t see how the focus on sustainable solutions cannot be relevant in every aspect of design and architectural work. It should be the strive of every student and professional in these fields. To see beyond the lines and shapes on the drawing board, and consider what consequences it has for a sustainable manufacture and construction of their creations. The question is then, what does sustainable manufacture actually mean? In my area of research, which focuses on new ways of developing products with 3D printing technologies, it has many meanings. From the physical material that is used to make something, to the way a unique, customized object creates an emotional bond with its user, so that it hopefully won’t be replaced that often.

What are you looking forward to most in the jury process for this competition?

Its a really exciting and challenging task, and I am mostly looking forward to seeing how it will be interpreted in different ways. It’s a challenging task for those who enter the competition, but also for us who evaluate it. Luckily, there are several of us.

What are you looking for in a winning project?

In a winning project I am looking not only for a contribution that is communicated in a smart and original way, but something meaningful that considers the very complex systems of sustainability.

Do you have any tips for the contestants?

My best advice would be to consider every project you can find that deals with sustainability and carbon neutrality and find out what it’s about. The next thing is to discard it, and think for yourselves, because clearly, the way things are going we still aren’t doing things the right way.

–William Kempton