Winning a competition like New Practices New York—AIA New York’s platform for recognizing emerging talent—can propel a young studio’s growth, as this year’s winners Ines Guzman Mendez and Gregory Kahn Melitonov learned. After their New York– and Guatemala City–based studio Taller Ken was honored, the partners received almost three dozen résumés.
“We had no projects to hire for,” Melitonov, 35, says, “and how were we going to compare the experience of someone from Kazakhstan to a Columbia student?” Instead of ignoring the sudden attention of designers looking for jobs, he and Mendez channeled it for good, inviting everyone to Guatemala City for a newly hatched design-build workshop. Nine applicants accepted. The $1,000 New Practices prize money and Indiegogo donations will fund construction of a local project (to be decided) and stipends.
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