Someday (hopefully soon), it will be possible to talk about an awards program without referencing the still-lingering recession. But the Annual Design Review’s requirement that submitted projects must have been completed in the previous year makes the ADR a unique economic and aesthetic barometer of the industry, both good and bad.

The good news is that when the jury—which comprised Ted Landsmark, Assoc. AIA; Raymund Ryan; Hilary Sample, AIA; Trey Trahan, FAIA; and Joe Valerio, FAIA—convened in the architect offices in October, it discovered that while the state of the economy may still be weak, the state of design is strong. “I was struck by the fact that there is really good work going on all across the United States,” Landsmark said, “in both urban and rural areas, both publicly and privately funded.”

After two days of deliberation, the jury selected 20 winners, representing some of the best work that American architects have completed at home and abroad this year. They range from a highly anticipated new wing for a museum in Tel Aviv, Israel, to a New Orleans school rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina; an inspired renovation of an office park in New Jersey to a brightly accented infill house in Wisconsin; a surfing museum in France to a park-services building housing restrooms in Louisville, Ky. Of “the work that we really got excited about,” Valerio said, “there’s kind of a wonderful spectrum. … You think of museums as the subject of great architecture. You don’t think of bathrooms as the subject of great architecture.”

As a whole, the jury applauded the innovation and invention in the projects submitted, but there was a call for more of a focus on designing for the vast majority of Americans, not merely for the well-off. “We need to see more architect-designed work for American families,” Landsmark said, lamenting a lack of affordable multifamily housing. But he was heartened by the possibility of what can happen “if there’s a will on the part of a range of clients to retain architects who are committed to making great designs.”


The 2011 Annual Design Review Jury

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Credit: Eli Meir Kaplan

Joe Valerio, FAIA
Joseph M. Valerio, FAIA, is a founding partner of Chicago-based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, which has received the Firm Award from both AIA Chicago and AIA Illinois. The firm’s award-winning work includes such projects as the Kresge Foundation in Troy, Mich. Valerio is a member of the National Board of Peer Reviewers for the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program.


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Credit: Eli Meir Kaplan

Ted Landsmark, Assoc. AIA
Theodore C. “Ted” Landsmark, Assoc. AIA, is president of the Boston Architectural College. He holds a B.A. and J.D. from Yale University, a Ph.D. from Boston University, and previously served as dean of graduate and continuing education at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Landsmark received the AIA’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Award in 2006, and has remained active in the AIA and ASCA.


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Credit: Eli Meir Kaplan

Raymund Ryan
Raymund Ryan is co-curator of the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and holds degrees in architecture from the University College Dublin and Yale University. Ryan was the Irish commissioner for the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2000 and 2002. His next exhibition—“White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes”—opens in September 2012.


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Credit: Eli Meir Kaplan

Hilary Sample, AIA
Hilary Sample is a founding partner (with Michael Meredith) of New York–based design firm MOS. Current notable projects include the Sterling Opera House in Derby, Conn., and an orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal. Sample is an associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and she has taught at Yale University and the University of Toronto.


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Credit: Eli Meir Kaplan

Trey Trahan, FAIA
Victor F. “Trey” Trahan, III, FAIA, is president and principal-in-charge of Baton Rouge, La.–based Trahan Architects. The firm’s work includes the post–Hurricane Katrina restoration of the New Orleans Superdome and a house for the Make It Right Foundation. Trahan received the 2005 Architectural Review Award for Emerging Architecture in London and was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 2006.