Young architects and designers are invited to submit work to the annual Architectural League Prize Competition. Projects of all types, either theoretical or real, and executed in any medium, are welcome. The jury will select work for presentation in lectures, digital media, and an exhibition in June 2021. If COVID-19 restrictions are required, the exhibition and lectures might shift to a digital format.
Established in 1981 to recognize visionary work by young practitioners, the Architectural League Prize is an annual competition, lecture series, and exhibition organized by The Architectural League and its Young Architects + Designers Committee.
Stay-at-home orders have prompted many of us to see our domestic settings anew, and to consider the various ways in which we “keep house.” The term “housekeeping” involves restoring the home to its ideal state by scrubbing, disinfecting, and decluttering its surfaces. 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. That said, it is impossible to think about housekeeping without considering its constitutive role in systemic oppression on the basis of gender, race, and class.
Architecture has been complicit in social, ecological, and economic crises that demand immediate attention. How should we think about the maintenance of our disciplinary home? What is it about the way designers work that we’re so desperate to maintain, preserve, and protect? Architecture is invested in appearances—how we present ourselves and our work—but for whom and why? Could we redirect our efforts toward caring for ourselves, one another, and the environment? How might we have more regard for the actors and agents whose care and labor manifest the appearances we strive for? Is now the appropriate time to housekeep how we housekeep? If and when the dust settles, how do we work together to clean up the mess? Our profession is overdue for some housekeeping.
The competition is open only to current full-time residents (who need not be citizens) of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Entrants must be ten years or less out of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Current students are ineligible.
Entrants may submit individually or as a group. If the individual(s) is/are the sole principal(s) of a firm, the winning firm name will be listed as well. Entrants must submit work done independently; no work done as an employee of a firm, where the entrant is not a principal or partner, is eligible for submission. No student work completed for any academic program or degree is eligible for submission. Educators may not include work done in their studios or for their teaching. Past League Prize winners are ineligible. If only one partner of a firm is eligible, the eligible partner can enter as a single entrant. The entrant must have all other partners submit an online form describing the collaborative nature of the work, and the firm will not be listed as a recipient of the Prize. Collaborative work between unrelated firms or individuals is eligible if the partnership is equal; any project with collaborators requires collaborator(s) to submit an online form describing the collaborative nature of the work. Collaborative work will be considered within the context of an individual’s complete portfolio.
No Architectural League board members or staff members; no firms or immediate family of board or staff members (spouse/partner; children; siblings); no firms or immediate family of jury members (spouse/partner; children; siblings) are eligible to participate in the competition. Individuals who work for the firms of League board members may enter the competition if they are submitting independent work carried out without connection to the firm.
- A single digital portfolio in PDF format, no larger than 8.5″×22″ and 20MB. It may not contain more than 15 spreads (or 30 pages) in total, excluding the cover page. Please use at least a 10-point size font to ensure legibility. Portfolios will be reviewed on screen. If the portfolio is meant to be viewed as a spread, please save it accordingly. The portfolio may include several projects; please do not include video or audio. Please name your file in the following format: LastName_FirstName_Portfolio. If there is more than one entrant in your group, please use the name of Entrant #1 as listed in the Formstack submission.
- A separate one-page, 8.5″ x 11″ image-key PDF in landscape format should also be submitted; it should contain thumbnail images of the projects included in the portfolio for reference. Please name your file in the following format: LastName_FirstName_Images. If there is more than one entrant in your group, please use the name of Entrant #1 as listed in the Formstack submission.
- The competition theme is given as a basis for young architects and designers to reflect upon and reevaluate their work. A written statement not to exceed 250 words is required, which defines and considers the work under the rubric of the competition theme. Significant weight is given to how an applicant’s work addresses the theme. The written statement must be on the first page of the portfolio.
Winners will present their work in lectures, digital media, and an exhibition in June 2021. Winners will receive a cash prize of $2,000.