The Clock Challenge

A $5000 Award for Design and Innovative Excellence

The Moreno Family is excited to announce the Tacoma Clock Challenge. Restoration and functionality of the Old City Hall clock is paramount to the founders of SURGE TACOMA. Long-term supporters of higher education and community engagement, the founders are sponsoring the “Tacoma Clock Challenge”. This project is available to all collegiate architectural and engineering students across the land. The competition will challenge students, leaders, and teams to propose innovative concepts in materials, design, fabrication and architectural heritage to:

  • Cost effectively repair the historic clock face and four bells to uphold the legacy of its original parts
  • Propose an innovative approach to keep time on the four faces of the clock and ring the bells. Bells will be rung on the hour during normal business hours.
  • Illuminate the four faces of the clock tower to allow citizens to enjoy its beauty without changing the original design and structure. Teams should note that the clock has been illuminated in the past and the expectation is that new, creative ideas will be given. The clock face is not translucent and the solid brick of the original tower cannot be removed.
  • Illuminate the tower as the original founders intended as a beacon of our light to our city. Proposals should be made to create a lantern-like effect in the top floor of the tower that will celebrate the history of our original architects.
  • Incorporate educational exhibits and training tools for educational and public tours into the tower and clock mechanics.
  • Engage the community throughout restoration project of this iconic landmark.

Student projects will be awarded points for these guidelines. 3 teams will be named finalists, 10 weeks after registration opens in FALL 2019. Feedback will be given and the winning proposal will be named after four months.
A $5,000 award will go to the winning proposal followed by an additional option for an additional fund to develop plans with the architectural team that ultimatelydesigns and completes their concept.*

The contest will be open for registration after engineers complete their renderings and seismic considerations. Teams will be registered under one individual’s email -Lead- and the winning team will have the check assigned to that individual for disbursement. Teams shall have a minimum of four people and maximum of ten, all of whom must have an active, registered collegiate email address as this is intended for as a collegiate Challenge.

Teams will need to account for the seismic restrictions in their plan for that are included in the restoration of the structure which are included in the file.

Illumination of the clock and clocktower is paramount to this project. Historical pictures should be reviewed but innovative ideas will be rewarded. The outside of the building should be well lit as should the clock face. A separate light should be seen from the upper arcade of the bell floor.

The two floors that currently house the clock tower mechanism will be used as an event space and for public tours that display the history of Tacoma, its Port, and the legacy of Old City Hall for 125 years. Proposals should include plans for creative ideas to display this on the walls and spaces for users.

The original clock apparatus mechanism may be moved to the first floor as a historical piece of equipment that will act to begin the tour of the clocktower. An additional reason to consider the move is how the current arrangement of the mechanism defines the limited space in the tower. Proposals can be given to utilize this piece of equipment or remove it and propose newer forms of timekeeping. The four bells are rung electronically and the chimes have been removed. There are multiple pieces of this table clock that are missing that can either be acquired from other similar table clocks of the period or fabricated.

*If winning team’s proposal is not viable, then additional plans will not be funded. This may need to be determined at the time of final clock tower planning.

The owners of Old City Hall are excited to bring the Old City Hall Clock and Tower back to its original splendour with the newest innovations in timekeeping. We are excited to spotlight the ingenuity of student minds by sponsoring the “Tacoma Clock Challenge.”

We will continue to post updates to the” Tacoma Clock Challenge” on our website and release more engineering documents and registration in February.