Michael Grimm Calgary Central Library in Canada, by Snøhetta

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York has named the 2020 winners of its National Design Awards, recognizing each member of its 21st class of winners in one of nine categories. With the museum still closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, recipients were announced during a virtual gala hosted by Bobby Berk, host of Netflix’s Queer Eye, on Thursday, Oct. 1.

“From shaping our parks and buildings to transforming the creative infrastructure and the ways we tell our stories, the remarkable work of this year’s winners demonstrates the power of design in everyday life,” said John Davis, interim director of the Cooper Hewitt, in a press release from the museum. “The virtual gala welcomed viewers from around the world and launched the first of a suite of programs during National Design Month aimed at broadening access to the vision of these leading designers and connecting people of all ages with the importance of design.”

The 2020 National Design Award Winners are: Kickstarter for design visionary; Sponge Park for climate action; Studio One Eighty Nine for emerging designer; Snøhetta for architecture; Scott Dadich for communication design, Design I/O for digital design; Telfar for fashion design, OJB Landscape Architecture for landscape architecture; and Catapult Design for product design.


Sponge Park in New York, revived by the the local firm Dlandstudio, is the inaugural winner of the National Design Awards' climate action award. The park's infrastructure keeps excess water out of the notoriously polluted Gowanus Canal, mitigating further public health risks. "The modular system, when implemented across New York City, has the potential to clean billions of gallons of storm water, and the impact nationwide has even greater power for environmental stewardship," the museum said in a press release.

Jan M. Lillebø Tungestolen Tourist Cabin in Luster, Norway by Snøhetta

The Oslo, Norway–based Snøhetta was named as the 2020 National Design Award winner in architecture in recognition of its dedication to "building equitable and sustainable places to enhance human society and natural habitat," according to the same release. "With seven offices across the globe, Snøhetta’s noteworthy projects include the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion and Times Square in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in California, the Calgary Public Library in Canada, House Zero, a zero-emissions sustainable research prototype at Harvard University, and the Ford Motor Company’s new Research & Engineering Campus in Michigan."

Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, designed by OJB Landscape Architecture
Thomas McConnell Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, designed by OJB Landscape Architecture

And OJB Landscape Architecture, a winner of AIA's 2018 Collaborative Achievement Award, was named the National Design Award winner in landscape architecture in recognition of the fact that the firm, which has offices around U.S., is "inspired to create beauty and find unexpected moments in the natural world," according to the museum's release. "The work affirms the public realm as our shared responsibility and a place for discovery, engagement and transformation."

The 2020 National Design Awards jury comprised Sigi Ahl, creative director of Eileen Fisher Waste No More; Angela Brooks, FAIA, principal of Brooks + Scarpa; Shane Coen, founder of Coen + Partners; Arem Duplessis, group creative director of Apple; Ben Ebel, experience design at Michelin North America; Toni L. Griffin, principal and founder of Urban American City; and Jae Park, vice president of G Suite UX Design, Google.

You can find a more information about all the 2020 National Design Award winners, here.