I was excited when I saw a reference to a design competition being run by USGBC-LA that’s “Using shipping containers as building materials and inspiration…” After all, I’ve been talking about containers, so this would be a chance to practice something I’ve been advocating. But, alas, it’s not to be.

Contestants must be present at the AltBuild conference in Los Angeles this spring in order to win. The entry fee is quite modest, but having to fly to LA isn’t in my plans or my budget, as interesting as AltBuild might be.

But, even if I was local, the other requirement in the non-student, ‘Emerging Professional’ category is that all members of the team be under 30 years old. So, while in many instances I’m recognized as an ’emerging professional’ (which in architecture often means someone who has been licensed for 10 years or fewer), this competition’s inability to recognize non-traditional paths to the profession means I was ineligible before I even started grad school. Because it’s so specifically age related, it strikes me as being an artifact of southern California; as I said, most times, competitions of this sort are based on licensure, rather than calendar age.

They don’t get me (since I’m too old as well as being out of their area); I wonder if there are other capable, competent designers who are in the area who are also being excluded because they didn’t take a direct path into architecture.

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