Each year, the Architectural League of New York highlights eight individuals and firms "with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism" for its Emerging Voices competition, according to a press release from the organization. This year, the Emerging Voices are Marc Blouin and Catherine Orzes of Blouin Orzes in Montreal; Brandon Dake, FAIA, and Andrew Wells, FAIA, of Dake Wells Architecture, in Springfield and Kansas City, Mon.; Lazbent Pavel Escobedo Amaral and Andrés Soliz Paz of Escobedo Soliz, in Mexico City; Casper Mork-Ulnes of Mork Ulnes Architects in San Francisco and Oslo, Norway; Olalekan Jeyifous from New York; Miriam Peterson, Assoc. AIA, and Nathan Rich, AIA, of Peterson Rich Office in New York; Christopher Marcinkoski, AIA, and Andrew Moddrell, AIA, of Port, in Chicago and Philadelphia; and Bryan Young, AIA, of Young Projects, in New York.
The eight winners will participate in the Emerging Voices 2020 Lecture Series, sharing their design perspective with attendees over four nights beginning March 5.
The 2020 winners were chosen from 50 North American firms in two stages, with a second-stage jury selecting eight winners from a shortlist of finalists. The first-round jury included Brian Bell, AIA; Fernanda Canales; Jeffrey Day, FAIA; Anne Marie Duvall Decker, FAIA; Sarah Herda; Johanna Hurme; Joyce Hwang, AIA; Sharon Johnston, FAIA; Brian MacKay-Lyons, Hon. FAIA; Tom Maul; Rozana Montiel; and Stephen Mueller. The designers who also served on the second-stage jury were Stella Betts; Mario Gooden; Mimi Hoang, AIA; Lisa Iwamoto; Dominic Leong, AIA; Paul Lewis, FAIA; Matt Shaw; and Lisa Switkin.
Description from the League: Based in Montreal, Marc Blouin has been building projects in Nunavik, north of the 55th parallel, since 2000. Catherine Orzes joined the firm in 2012 and became a partner in 2018, forming Blouin Orzes architectes. Beginning with a hotel project in Inukjuak, the firm has designed and built a number of civic projects for the Inuit communities in the region. Its work is attuned to native tradition and environmental issues, deftly adapting to the needs and limitations of the harsh northern climate. The firm’s process, in turn, is rooted in meaningful communication and collaboration with its audiences. “Our work is not just about designing and building. It is about ‘accompanying’ our clients as best we can, from the very beginnings of a project till its final realization,” the principals write.
Dake Wells Architecture
Description from the League: Founded in 2004 by Brandon Dake and Andrew Wells, Dake Wells Architecture is based in Springfield and Kansas City, Missouri. The firm is rooted in the context of the Midwest and presents creative, economic solutions for projects that range from schools to community centers to university buildings. Their firm philosophy states: “With a focus on craft, detail, materiality, spatial richness, and site connection, we endeavor to bring a measure of unexpected joy into everyday life.”
Description from the League: Established in Mexico City in 2016, Escobedo Soliz was founded by former National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) classmates Lazbent Pavel Escobedo Amaral and Andrés Soliz Paz. According to the partners, their practice “is based on a continuous exploration of materials, structures and construction systems to find particular solutions for each situation.” With built projects ranging from ephemeral art installations to rural public schools, Escobedo Soliz aims to do more with less.
Description from the League: Casper Mork-Ulnes founded Mork Ulnes Architects in 2005. With offices in San Francisco and Oslo, the firm combines “Scandinavian practicality” with the “ ‘can do’ spirit of innovation” of California. Born in Norway and raised in Italy, Scotland, and the United States, Mork-Ulnes brings a broad range of cultural perspectives to his work. The firm’s projects are guided by an economy of means, resulting in buildings that are both playful and restrained.
Description from the League: Olalekan Jeyifous’s multidisciplinary design practice explores notions of place, positioning the concept as continuously constructed rather than given or imagined. Using “borrowed or invented narratives,” Jeyifous examines architecture’s relationship to community and environment through speculative proposals that raise critical questions and open new channels of dialogue. His work spans a diverse range of media, including hand-drawn sketches, technical illustrations, photomontage, animation, public sculpture, and virtual reality experiences.
Peterson Rich Office
Description from the League: Founded in 2011 by Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich, Peterson Rich Office focuses on residential and cultural buildings as well as urban design and research-based projects. According to the principals, their design process favors “precision over abstraction, users, and context over the diagram.” The result is an architecture that “engages place, is resistant to trend and style, and attempts to be communicable and accessible.”
Description from the League: Chicago- and Philadelphia- based firm Port was founded in 2013 by Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell. The public realm and urban design consultancy is guided by the notion that the public realm is the “closest thing we have to equitable and democratic space in the contemporary city.” Its design projects seek to transform neglected and forgotten spaces within cities. The firm also works on strategies for the management of large, complex territories.
Description from the League: Bryan Young founded New York City-based Young Projects in 2010. The design studio’s work spans buildings, interiors, material prototyping, and furniture. Its practice, which emphasizes “the relationship between our material research and our approach to space itself,” is driven by a fascination with pattern, texture, and spatial complexity. Using experimental techniques for hand-pulling plaster and forming concrete with palm stems, Young Projects strives for “material and tectonic ambiguity … or at least the unexpected.”