For our eighth Antigone competition, you will recall, we asked readers the world over to take a wander around their high street and main civic spaces and identify a shop or restaurant which deserved better. The aim was to show how applying some of the simple principles of Greco-Roman architecture could not only bring new life to the retail buildings of our modern public sphere, but also give inject a sense of dignity and pleasure to the routine transactions and interactions that make up our daily life.
Well, it was a high bar to ask largely non-expert enthusiasts to take up the mantle of the expert architect. How could it be otherwise? But we were really delighted with the high quality and inventiveness of literally all the entries we received. To all of you who sought our and worked up a new vision to share with us, we offer our congratulations and admiration for the very fact that you took time to think about this issue seriously. Buildings are never just buildings, if humans have to spend and calibrate their lives within and alongside them. (But that is a well-trodden topic to be deferred to another day!) Among our many talented constestants we would, in particular, like to mention the students of Benedictine College in Kansas, who rallied round to offer a broad and brilliant array of innovative ideas to give some architectural zest to the city of Atchison: thank you for such a brilliant haul of efforts, some of which we are delighted to reproduce below.
18 and over category: Winner
Our winner hails from that self-same Atchison, taking the standard forecourt and shop of the Shell petrol station and bringing a glorious (and non-flammable) Grecian acade to the forecourt. Congratulations, Joseph: the grubby reality of needing to put petrol in cars need not be a vulgar affront to the passing citizen. It could apologise for its roadside mundanity by offering some aesthetic beauty to the city at large. £250 to your pocket, sir!
There are twenty or more other entries that we would be pleased to publish and share, but to show some discipline, we have limited ourselves to our four best runners-up, spread between Britain and America. Do let us know which you like the most!
There were so many other excellent entries, both within and without Kansas, that we are sorry only to post this small selection. While many of the most beautiful efforts radically improved the sorry building in question, several fell short of our criteria by introducing architectural orders that, despite their traditional elegance and undoubted symmetry, could not properly be described as “Classical”. Still, we admire the aesthetic improvements in each and every case.
Under-18 category: Winner
Kebabs, at least in Britain, are rarely to be found in the prettiest of places in our towns and cities. After all, it is a quick exchange to get that longed-for slab of ambiguous sustenance in hand. But need it be this way? Could not all of our takeaway stores radiate some civic pride? This is a rhetorical question, for the answer is yes. So take it – and a well-earned £150 – away, Danny lad!
Thank you so much to all who entered the competition, and indeed to all who shared the contest and encouraged others to enter it. Great fun all round! Our next competition will come for the Christmas break, so sit tight…