If the studio course is the bedrock of architectural education, then it follows that as the studio goes, so, eventually, goes the profession. By highlighting the most innovative courses in architectural schools across North America, the Studio Prize offers a glimpse into the concepts shaping today’s design students, and into the ways they might influence the built environment in the future.

This year’s jury of distinguished practitioners and educators—Renée Cheng, FAIA, Carlos Jiménez, and V. Mitch McEwen—was driven to analyze both the student work on display and the curricular framework of the studios themselves. “In the past, it was sufficient for the studio premise to be bound by the traditional silos of the profession,” Cheng says. “Today’s studios are embracing influences well outside of traditional architectural concerns, and use analytical techniques that may be data-driven or scaleless. When these explorations are catapulted into form and space, the results can be spine-tinglingly exciting.”

The studios that garnered this year’s awards—the Studio Prize for general excellence and the Sloan Award for investigations into sustainability and water conservation—embody this idea. They look to outside influences for inspiration and use collaboration to leverage the impact of design on social, sustainable, or tectonic terms. If this breadth of approach gets baked into the DNA of the next generation, their contributions to architecture will be transformative.


Renée Cheng, FAIA
Professor and associate dean of research, University of Minnesota, School of Architecture | College of Design

Carlos Jiménez
Principal and lead designer, Carlos Jiménez Studio; Professor and interim dean, Rice University, School of Architecture

V. Mitch McEwen
Principal, McEwen Studio Co-founder, A(n) Office; Assistant professor, Princeton University, School of Architecture

The Winners:

Joseph Brookover A cliff-side dwelling proposal for a national park site in Nuttallburg, W.Va., by University of Virginis student Joseph Brookover.

Studio Prize: Mining Appalachia
University of Virginia, School of Architecture

Alexandre Morin The Nordic Home proposal by Université Laval student Alexandre Morin.

Studio Prize: Vagabond, Nomadic House (Imagination + Construction + Experience)
Université Laval, Faculty of Planning, Architecture, Arts and Design

Alexander Tahinos and Angela Huang Models of the Pier Gardens design by University of Pennsylvania students Alexander Tahinos and Angela Huang.

Studio Prize: Real Fictions Cairo
University of Pennsylvania, School of Design

courtesy Woodbury University School of Architecture Exhibition of the student work created in Natural Tendencies at Woodbury University.

Studio Prize: Natural Tendencies
Woodbury University, School of Architecture

A visitor examines an axonometric route map at an exhibition of the studio's work
Ranu Singh, Daya Zhang, and Monica Hutton Z Koplani: Out of the Mines by MIT students Ranu Singh, Daya Zhang, and Monica Hutton, at an exhibition of the studio's work.

Studio Prize: Urbanism After Extraction
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture + Planning

Hannah Soules The City, by University of Toronto student Hannah Soules

Sloan Award: Toronto Ravine Re-Create
University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design