Arguably, research and development have always been defining principles in architecture. But savvy clients expect buildings to be ever-smarter and more efficient, and architects are continually pushing materials beyond their known limits to reimagine the very nature of shelter. That is why the jury of this year’s R+D Awards—Frank Barkow, Cristobal Correa, and Jenny Wu—demanded more from the more than 100 projects in the entry pool. Their valuation broke down into three criteria: proof of performance, aesthetics, and evidence of progressive thinking (or, as Wu said, proof of “how it does what’s been done before, differently”). The final collection of winners—seven awards and four citations—is wide-ranging: A decarbonization plan for Chicago’s central Loop; beautifully formed pavilions made from metal and bent wood; bollards that protect buildings without detracting from the urban streetscape; and demountable drywall tape to reduce waste in interior fit-outs, to name a few. A diverse selection, and representative of the innovative thinking that defines the current landscape of architecture.
Barkow, with partner Regine Leibinger, founded Barkow Leibinger Architekten in Berlin in 1993 and has done work in the residential, industrial, and corporate sectors, among others. Recent projects include the conversion of an 1880s apartment block into office and gallery space in Berlin and a campus master plan for Bayer Schering Pharma. The firm won an R+D Award last year for a gatehouse on the manufacturer Trumpf’s campus in Ditzingen, Germany. Barkow received a B.Arch. from Montana State University, followed by an M.Arch. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has taught at Cornell University; the University of Minnesota; the State Academy of Art and Design, Stuttgart, Germany; and the Architectural Association in London.
A co-founder of the Los Angeles–based Oyler Wu Collaborative, Wu has worked on everything from a design for a tower in Taipei City, Taiwan, to a proposal for an Ordos 100 villa in the inner Mongolia region of China, to temporary bent-aluminum installations with names such as Pendulum Plane and Live Wire . Wu received a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.Arch. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She has worked as a project architect at firms such as Architecture Research Office and Gluckman Mayner Architects. Wu teaches first-year architecture studio at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and recently published her first book, Primitives.
Correa is an associate principal in the New York office of Buro Happold. He was educated at the Universidad de Chile and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he received a BSCE and an MSCE, respectively. Correa joined Buro Happold in 1998 and now manages teams in the structural engineering division, dealing with, among other things, tension structures, long-span structures, and façades. Notable projects include the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.; the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil; and the Roppongi Canopies in Roppongi, Japan. Correa teaches at the Pratt Institute in New York and serves as a member of the board of the Structural Engineers Association of New York.