Russia is not exactly known for its understanding nature.

In June 2013 President Putin signed into law a bill that banned the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors.” This law has since been the basis for taking away the fundamental rights of Russia’s gay citizens including banning gay pride parades, fines for gay rights groups (they’re accused of acting as a foreign agent), and denial of registration to non-government organisations.

As a result, violent attacks on gay people or “suspect gays” are becoming commonplace in Putin’s backwards thinking country. The vagueness of the term propaganda has helped Putin write the laws to suit his own ideas of how Russians should behave. The law is even in place for foreign visitors and is accompanied with a fine, detention and deportation.

So you can’t hold your boyfriend’s hand in public but Putin’s fine with invading neighbouring countries.

Anybody picking up on a problem with this logic? And with Belarus planning to follow Russia’s example the future seams bleak for the LGBT community in Eastern Europe.

HMMD.org is therefore challenging architecture enthusiasts to envision a way to promote tolerance within Russia with their latest architecture competition. ‘Designing for Tolerance’ challenges designers from around the globe to propose a temporary pavilion for the education of social, political and religious tolerance, to be erected in Russia’s Red Square, Moscow.

Entrants are challenged with conceiving a new pavilion that can be incorporated into educational spaces, with lecture and workshop rooms as well as exhibition spaces. Participants are also urged to consider other recreational and public spaces to support these educational programs.

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The competition offers a US$3,000 first prize (2nd prize is US$ 1500 and 3rd prize US$ 500), will be judged by an esteemed panel of judges and is a chance for architecture enthusiasts to not only win some cash and acclaim, but promote a real movement for tolerance in the world’s largest country.

Entrants can be from any country, from any background and with any level of experience. What’s important is a passion for architecture and a desire to evoke some real change in some of the less-enlightened countries of the world.

Build a more tolerant Russia, or at least sketch out the plans to it.
Visit hmmd.org or email [email protected] for more information or to register.