Organization of the international architectural competition “Changing the Face”



DuPont – one of the world’s largest scientific and industrial corporations, producing a wide range of chemical products used in various industries, including high tech innovative construction materials.

Changing The Face is an architecture competition that company has been holding since 2008. The idea behind it is to take a well-known yet old and in need of renovation building and as an alternative to its demolition or complete reconstruction, let architects to come up with a façade reconstruction project, using the latest technology that DuPont has to offer.

The aim of the competition – position DuPont as a leading global manufacturer of innovative solutions in architecture and construction through generating public debate about changing the architectural appearance of famous buildings.

Throughout the years the contest was held in many cities around the world. Leading architects have developed projects changing buildings appearance in Athens, Bucharest, Prague and Rome. Russia is a large developing market as building materials are concerned and promising in terms of increasing sales for DuPont. That inspired the company to hold a competition in Moscow.


After considering a variety of options, at the suggestion of the agency an object for Moscow event was chosen. The Rossiya Cinema (also known as Pushkinsky Cinema) is a landmark building for the city due to its downtown location and historical value – for 50 years it was an official venue for the Moscow International Film Festival.

Agency secured an important partnership with Union of Architects of Russia presented by Andrei Bokov who headed an international jury.The jury was made up of architects from all over the world as well as cultural workers, such as director Alexey Uchitel.

A partnership with the Karo Film company – the owner of the building – was equally important as it potentially increased chances for winning projects form a base of a real reconstruction. The Moscow City Government along with the City Chief Architect enthusiastically supported the project.

Ongoing discussion and proclaimed intentions of the Moscow city authorities regarding cinema reconstruction were context of competition, yet the main communication strategy was aimed at generating media buzz, drew potential participants and resonate with audience while pointing the message in the direction of new facade technology implementation.

To accomplish those goals agency customized approach to different media. For business media the message was formed from the perspective of investment opportunities in reconstruction of important architectural objects, for political media – from the point of changing the face of downtown, for specialized architectural media contest was presented as a unique chance for architects to showcase their creative ideas and for media covering cinematography the message pinpointed a possible reconstruction of the famous movie theater and a venue of the Moscow International Film Festival.

The campaign combined a number of special projects. Dozhd (TV Rain) conducted a public opinion research to learn how citizens envision The Rossiya Cinema after reconstruction.

To announce the official start of the Changing The Face – Pushkinsky Cinema competition agency held a press conference. News quickly triggered interest among media and public.

Through professional seminars that took place in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Moscow and Alma-Ata, organized together with DuPont in order to further interact and attract new participants, well-known international architects presented their projects and shared their experiences with DuPont solutions in construction and reconstruction of facades.

To promote competition among the members of international architectural community and attract more Russian and international participants agency focused on online channels, developing campaigns together with reputable architecture and design sites such as Architizer.com.

Agency developed a Russian version of www.changingtheface.com, the official website of the competition as well as took the campaign to social media (including blogs, forums and popular online media).

Central House of Architects hosted a gala celebration and winning design projects were displayed at an exhibition for few weeks after.


Extensive international campaign targeted at generating public and media interest to the competition resulted in a record number of applications – 2591, from 96 countries, including 397 from Russia.

Comprehensive competition coverage in major business, political, specialized print and online media as well as relevant campaign in social media generated following results: 37,600 unique visitors to the official website of the competition – www.changingtheface.com; over 200 000 views of proposed design projects uploaded to the official competition page on Flickr.com; more than 15 000 video views on contest’s YouTube channel; over 380 publications in print and online media. More than 450 people attended workshops with well-known Russian and international architects.

During his welcome speech at the award ceremony, Vlodek Sobon, program curator of DuPont Changing the Face project, said: “Moscow is the sixth city where DuPont is holding an architectural competition. Number of proposals submitted by international architectural community this year significantly exceeded our wildest expectations, and their quality suggests that it is the best competition we’ve seen so far”.

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