The Fraud of the “Border Wall” competition?

The Fraud of the “Border Wall” competition?


If you ever took part in one of the many open Architecture competitions around the world, you should definitely read this article.

Imagine you are in front of your laptop, browsing the internet, searching for something interesting that could boost your creativity, and you suddenly bump into an Archdaily post, advertising with enthusiasm an extremely controversial design competition. That competition is called “BUILDING THE BORDER WALL? An International Design Competition to Re-conceptualize the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall”, and it challenges all kinds of designers from all around the world to develop a project for the Mexican-American Border fence.

It’s July.

Screenshot of the website "buildingtheborderwall.com" ( Oct the 20th)

Screenshot of the website “buildingtheborderwall.com” ( Oct the 20th)

The theme is very interesting, it refers to Trump’s proposal and it asks to find alternatives that could merge technical and social issues. You check the website, and it looks very professional. The brief is published in English and Spanish. The first prize is 5.000 euros and the entry fee is 50 dollars per team. The jury has not been published yet, but it will be updated soon. According to the brief, Winners are supposed to be announced the 26th of September.

Screenshot of the website "buildingtheborderwall.com" ( Oct the 20th)

Screenshot of the website “buildingtheborderwall.com” ( Oct the 20th)

At that point, you could get excited and do something very stupid: you would participate into a contest organized by someone that really does not take its job seriously.
You would start realizing it after the submission, let’s say around the beginning of October, when the big show organized by the so called “Third mind foundation” starts.

First you would get suspicious noticing that after the submission no communication have been published by the organizers. In addition, the jury is not published yet, but you would not get too nervous yet, since the website confirms that the winners are expected to be announced September the 26th.

Screenshot of the website "buildingtheborderwall.com" ( Oct the 20th)

Screenshot of the website “buildingtheborderwall.com” ( Oct the 20th)

Unfortunately, September the 26th nothing happens, and so it goes for the following 11 days. No updates on the website, the last post of Twitter dates May the 12th and there are no other social media profiles of the Third Mind Foundation. Moreover, nobody replies to your e-mail, but somehow that does not surprise you anymore.

Finally, October the 6th an update appears on the website: “Winners will be announced the 1st of November”, and four days later also the mysterious jury is finally made known. At this point, you would expect no more troubles. What else can you mess up after getting a two months delay?

Screenshot of the website "buildingtheborderwall.com" ( Nov the 4th)

Screenshot of the website “buildingtheborderwall.com” ( Nov the 4th)

Surprise surprise, today November the 5th, there have not been any winners announced! The third mind foundation did not publish any update or official communication. They simply disappeared. Again.

Screenshot of the website "buildingtheborderwall.com" ( Oct the 8th)

Screenshot of the website “buildingtheborderwall.com” ( Oct the 8th)

 

Screenshot of the website "buildingtheborderwall.com" ( Oct the 20th)

Screenshot of the website “buildingtheborderwall.com” ( Oct the 20th)

So what happened? Will there be any winners? Why did they not communicated anything yet?

3 possible scenarios could come into your mind.

1. The members of the so-called “Third Mind foundation” all died in a plane crash right after the last update. None survived to update the website and return the money.
2. The competition, heavily criticized, raised too many protests (Here you can find an example) so they decided to shut it down. Unluckily, none informed the guy updating the website.
3. The organizers just did not have funding to actually get a jury and pay the prizes, so they just decided to not go through with the awarding process. Unintentionally they kept the money of the registrations.

There would be also a fourth option: you might start feeling you have been defrauded.

Good news is that it is still too soon to jump to conclusions. Maybe there is no fraud, and this competition was just handled in an extremely unprofessional way. Maybe the organization had troubles during the process, again, and they are just very late, again, and they did not bother informing the participants, again.

Screenshot of the website "thirdmindfoundation.org" ( Oct the 20th)

Screenshot of the website “thirdmindfoundation.org” ( Oct the 20th)

Anyhow, we still hope winners will be selected.

Of one thing, anyway, we are sure: you do not treat others creative works this way. The Third mind foundation did not take this competition, your time and your effort seriously.

We founded 3nta to bring dignity to young designers work, and when things like this happen, it gets personal for us.

We tried contact the Third mind foundation, via phone and e-mail (here are the contacts in case you feel like trying: THIRD MIND FOUNDATION,315 West 39th Street, New York, Tel: 347-387-1569, info@thirdmindfoundation.org ) . We did not get any reply. Nevertheless, we do not give up. We are determined to find who is behind it and pressure them to act professionally.

Help us! Share this article, ask your friends. Let’s find out together and get for our work the respect it deserves. Let’s make sure this competition will have winners.

#Respectmydesign #Buildingtheborderfraud

PS:

For the future, make sure to share your money and your talent with more trust worthy and well-established competition platforms. We directly collaborate with Non Architecture and Archmedium, but there are also many other good ones.