2019 Architectural League Prize Winners Announced
The Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers—now in its 38th year—recognizes exemplary work from six rising practices in North America.
Since 1981, The Architectural League has organized an annual portfolio competition to find the discipline’s rising talents and prompt conversations around their work. Young practices throughout North America are eligible, though candidates must have graduated from their respective degree programs no more than ten years ago. The 2019 recipients include:
- Cyrus Peñarroyo of EXTENTS (Ann Arbor, MI)
- Virginia Black, Gabrielle Printz, and Rosana Elkhatib of feminist architecture collaborative (f-architecture) (Brooklyn, NY)
- Gregory Melitonov of Taller KEN (New York, NY / Guatemala City, GT / San José, CR)
- Jennifer Bonner of MALL (Boston, MA / Atlanta, GA)
- Mira Hasson Henry of Henry Architecture (HA) (Los Angeles, CA)
- Rachel G. Barnard of Young New Yorkers (YNY) (New York, NY)
The League’s director Anne Rieselbach worked with its Young Architects + Designers Committee—a rotating group of past winners that this year comprised Isabel Abascal, Bryony Roberts, and Anya Sirota—to set judging parameters and select additional jurors, who included Mario Gooden, Juliet Kinchin, and Paul Lewis. Some of the prize’s previous notable winners include Steven Holl (1982), Deborah Berke (1993), and Jeanne Gang (2006).
This cycle of the awards, aptly titled “Just,” called for architects whose work is cognizant of the multitudinous—and sometimes opposing—approaches and positions that architects can take. As The League said in a press release, “Just explores architectural action with the understanding that a multiplicity of coexisting and contradictory attitudes may be constructive, liberating, and justified.” Consequently, the jurors were ready to consider a wide range of practices: “[This year’s prize] asks entrants to consider the just in how they approach the practice of architecture, whether through experimentation in research and design advocacy or by advancing speculative and applied techniques within the discipline.”
Three of the six winners hail from New York studios; they certainly represent that range of advocacy, research, and built work. Virginia Black, Gabrielle Printz, and Rosana Elkhatib of feminist architecture collaborative (f-architecture) work to dismantle spatial politics of the body through research, design, and installations. Gregory Melitonov of Taller KEN examines the softer side of architecture’s cultural and social impact, creating playful designs for commercial, residential, institutional, and public projects. Rachel G. Barnard of Young New Yorkers implements art-based programs that help young people foster a positive relationship with design, their community, and themselves. Each of her programs culminates with a large-scale installation.
Winners from the Midwest, West Coast, and South each had their own unique focus as well. Cyrus Peñarroyo of EXTENTS studies the intersection of digital media, architecture, and urbanism, primarily through research and exhibitions. Architect Jennifer Bonner of MALL explores the relationship between historic architectural typologies, representation, and popular culture through research, publications, and built projects. (See Metropolis’s coverage of her Haus Gables project.) Similarly, Mira Hasson Henry of the Los Angeles–based firm Henry Architecture uses building elements and representation to probe themes such as identity and inclusion. Her work ranges from wallpaper to photography and performance.
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design/The New School will celebrate its tenth year co-sponsoring and hosting the League Prize exhibition and lectures in cooperation with the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons School of Design/The New School. The winners will deliver lectures on June 20 and 21. Installations of their work will be on exhibit from June 21 to July 31. Original competition content will appear in editorial features on archleague.org.
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