For this year’s R+D Awards jury, it was not enough for prospective winners to ask the right questions, divest their savings, lose sleep, try, fail, and try and fail again in order to finally—finally!—reach a viable solution. Indeed, says juror Randy Deutsch, AIA, “if the result is not beautiful and/or elegant, even if it’s really good for the environment and good for people, it hasn’t gone quite far enough.”

Which is to say that the bar was set extremely high for this year’s slate of five citation and five honorable mention recipients. Beyond communicating their purpose and process to near perfection, the multidisciplinary teams tackled a range of topics—from material health to automation and ecology—and showcased, as juror Tom Chung, AIA, put it, “what value architects and designers bring in this world.”


Top: Randy Deutsch, Jackilin Hah Bloom; Bottom: Florencia Pita, Tom Chung
Top: Randy Deutsch, Jackilin Hah Bloom; Bottom: Florencia Pita, Tom Chung

Jackilin Hah Bloom and Florencia Pita are the founders and partners of Pita & Bloom, in Los Angeles. Established in 2010, the firm was a finalist in MoMA PS1's Young Architects Program in 2014 and contributed to the U.S. Pavilion's exhibit at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Bloom and Pita are both instructors at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc); Bloom teaches and coordinates design studios, while Pita teaches design studios and visual studies and is SCI-Arc's graduate thesis coordinator.

Tom Chung, AIA, is a principal at Leers Weinzapfel Associates, in Boston. Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in the United States, Chung earned degrees in architecture from the University of Virginia and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He teaches at architecture schools throughout the Boston area and presents nationally on designing with mass timber.

Randy Deutsch, AIA, is the associate director for graduate studies and a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A recognized leader in design technology, Deutsch has designed more than 100 sustainable projects and authored several books, including Convergence: The Redesign of Design (Wiley, 2017).