June 29, 2018
2018 Architectural League Prize Exhibition Showcases 6 Rising Architects and Designers
The show, called Objective, is on view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School of Design through August 4.
Since the winners of the Architectural League’s annual League Prize are young, and have a limited body of built work, perhaps the award’s most interesting aspect is its accompanying exhibition. For this show, winners are given (relatively) free rein to take on a common theme, presenting all (or some or none) of their past work. The competition is judged on the basis of portfolios (something juror Claire Weisz calls a “seemingly arcane form”) submitted by young architects and designers no more than ten years out of school.
Diverse formats and methods abound in the six installations featured in this year’s exhibition, themed Objective. The works, which range from a postcard stand to a pin-up of finely-plotted maps, allude to the ambiguity of the exhibition’s theme: “objective” can be defined as both shared goals, or truths or realities. “There is a broad interest in storytelling and public engagement, evidenced in the projects themselves as well as how the winners present their work,” says the League’s program director Anne Rieselbach, who has overseen the League Prize program, which includes the jury process, lectures, publications, and more, since 1987.
This year’s show examines, cumulatively, where objectives might be developed—whether in the home, the public sphere, elsewhere—and how they might be transmitted and perpetuated―via history, politics, or community. “The winners show that architecture can have objectives that expand beyond the footprint of the object,” juror and past prize winner Neeraj Bhatia said.
“Many of the firms are interested in analysis, both historic and contextual,” Rieselbach explains. “That’s something really different and partly in response to the theme this year.”
Given how our political and social common ground feels under persistent threat today, it feels impossible today to ignore history and context, in architecture and beyond.
This year’s winners were Anya Sirota of Akoaki, Bryony Roberts of Bryony Roberts Studio, Gabriel Cuéllar and Athar Mufreh of Cadaster, Coryn Kempster of Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster, Alison Von Glinow and Lap Chi Kwong of Kwong Von Glinow, and Dan Spiegel of SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop.
The exhibition, which is surprisingly airy given its single white-box room, is located at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School of Design through August 4.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer, while employed at the Architectural League in 2017, was involved in the presentation and publication of past League Prize–winning work, as well as in the development of this year’s League Prize theme.
You can find other video interviews—produced by Zoë Zellers—with 2018 Architectural League Prize winners on Hunter Douglas Architectural’s blog:
You may also enjoy “Our Top 5 Moments from the AIA Conference on Architecture.”