The Architectural League of New York has announced the winners of its 2021 Prize for Young Architects + Designers, honoring six firms or designers that completed a bachelor's or master's degree program less than 10 years ago. This year's theme for the award, now in its 40th cycle, was "Housekeeping," a prompt that asked entrants to reconsider domestic settings, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The term 'housekeeping' involves restoring the home to its ideal state by scrubbing, disinfecting, and decluttering its surfaces," states the League's press release. "It evokes the comfort of the familiar, the excitement of the new. For some people, layers of dust went unnoticed until their living rooms had to double as workplaces. In other cases, household chores have provided respite from digital devices that require their own form of upkeep to optimize performance. Housekeeping implies oversight and control, maintenance and responsibility. It is as much a necessity as it is a ritual: an act of labor, but also an act of care."
This year, the League organized a hybrid in-person and online awards model, with each winner giving a lecture on Zoom. The winners will also create either physically or fully digital installations of their work, all of which will be presented on the League's website.
The 2021 League Prize Winners
From the League: Agency—Agency was founded by Tei Carpenter. The practice “seeks out an expanded role for architecture by engaging buildings, objects, interiors, infrastructures, speculations, and environments,” according to its website. Agency—Agency was recognized as one of ARCHITECT magazine‘s Next Progressives and Domus‘s 100 Best Architecture Firms in 2019 and by AIA New York’s New Practices New York competition in 2018. The studio’s work has been exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Oslo Architecture Triennale, Venice Biennale, and Center for Architecture.
Rodrigo Escandón Cesarman and Ricardo Roxo Matias, APRDELESP, Mexico City
From the League: Founded in 2012, APRDELESP focuses on “practice-as-research on space and its appropriation.” By envisioning its own office and projects as public sites of spatial research and experimentation, the firm aims to welcome unexpected encounters and discussions through the creation of self-managed “subspaces” such as cafes, galleries, and furniture stores. The studio has participated in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, and the 2018 Lisbon Architecture Triennale.
Liz Gálvez, Office e.g. (Office for Example), Houston
From the League: Liz Gálvez founded Houston-based Office e.g. in 2018. As described in her League Prize entry, her work “focuses on the interface between architecture, theory, and environmentalism through an examination of building technologies.” Gálvez held the 2018 William Muschenheim Fellowship at Taubman College of Architecture & Planning, University of Michigan, and received the 2016 Seebacher Prize for the Fine Arts from The American Austrian Foundation. She is the winner of the Rice Design Alliance Houston Design Research Grant 2021.
Ilse Cárdenas, Regina de Hoyos, Diego Escamilla, and Juan Luis Rivera, Palma, Mexico City and Sayulita, Mexico
From the League: Palma was founded in 2016 by Ilse Cárdenas, Regina de Hoyos, Diego Escamilla, and Juan Luis Rivera. Navigating between typologies in both urban and rural contexts, the practice aims to improve communities through inventive work. Their project “Aros,” a temporary installation transforming a fountain into a playground for children in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Mexico City, was the winner of the 2018 Concurso Juguetes Urbanos. Palma’s work has been exhibited at Museo de la ciudad de Mexico, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura.
From the League: Germane David Barnes founded his eponymous studio in 2016. According to Barnes, the studio “explores the many rituals and narratives associated with Blackness in America,” examining “underrepresented contributions and legacies while creating new architectural possibilities that emerge within investigations of Black domesticity.” Barnes’s work is included in the MoMA exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. He is the 2021 winner of the Wheelwright Prize and will be a 2021–22 Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.
Lindsey May, AIA, Studio Mayd, Washington, D.C.
From the League: Lindsey May founded Studio Mayd in 2017. The studio’s winning portfolio provided a holistic approach to the firm’s residential projects, conveying the “thinking, analysis, and productivity in the under-celebrated residential realms of young practice” to “offer a more inclusive, realistic, and representative narrative of the discipline.” May has received the inaugural Architect + Educator Award from the AIA|DC, as well as the Dean's Award and the Outstanding Educator Award from the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, University of Maryland.
This post has been updated since first publication to reflect that individuals having completed a bachelor's or master's degree program less than 10 years ago are eligible.