Image in modal.

The Architectural League of New York has revealed the newest cohort of North America–based practitioners—including three duos and three individuals—to join the illustrious ranks of Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers awardees. Now in its 42nd edition, the portfolio-based annual competition was first established in 1981 as the Young Architects’ Forum and is open to architects and designers less than ten years out of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. 

Each responding to this year’s distress- and displeasure-probing theme of Uncomfortable, the nine 2023 League Prize recipients represent a sizable swath of geography, spanning from the Great Lakes to New England to the high desert of New Mexico. They are Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann of After Architecture (Charlottesville, Virginia); Miles Gertler of Common Accounts (Toronto, Madrid); Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison of Could Be Design (Chicago and Urbana, Illinois); Sarah Aziz and Lindsey Krug; (Albuquerque, Chicago, and Milwaukee); Daisy Ames of Studio Ames (New York City), and Sean Canty of Studio Sean Canty (Boston).

As with League Prize’s past, the 2023 theme was developed by the Young Architects + Designers Committee, a rotating group comprising previous winners. For the latest cycle, the Committee was composed of Jose Amozurrutia, Germane Barnes, and Jennifer Bonner. Joining Committee members on the competition jury panel were Barbara Bestor, Wonne Ickx, Kyle Miller, and Tya Winn.

In its Uncomfortable prompt, the Committee asked entrants to respond to their own sources of vexation:

“As young designers, we are wrestling with numerous uncomfortable responsibilities: dismantling architectural legacies, challenging traditional paradigms, grappling with the costs of comfort, responding to ecological concerns. Our many discomforts range in scale, context, and urgency. [...] From climate change to labor practices, the sources of our discomfort demand both critical reflection and collective imagination. Are you restless within the discipline’s status quo? How do you respond to discomfort? Whose comfort matters?”

The theme will be further explored in a three-part online lecture series held on the evenings of June 15, June 22, and June 29 as well as a digital exhibition featuring installations created by the winners either onsite in their respective locations or wholly online. More information on the 2023 League Prize programming can be found here.

Below are images of completed and unbuilt works by each 2023 League Prize awardee along with short profiles as provided by the League:

Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann | After Architecture

a memorial space in washington, d.c.

Camp Barker Memorial, Washington, D.C., by After Architecture, with Vinnie Bagwell, Yun Associates, Bruce Baldwin (2019). Image by Sam Orberter

Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann founded After Architecture in 2012 as undergraduates at Cornell University. In response to the construction industry’s complicity in the environmental crisis, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based studio advocates for resurfacing and advancing sustainable preindustrial building techniques and materials. Simultaneously low- and high-tech, it pairs emerging computational technologies with locally sourced biogenic materials to produce a distinct formal language “reframing the relationship between biology, technology, and authorship,” in the words of the firm.

Miles Gertler | Common Accounts 

an architectural drawing.

Closer Each Day: The Architecture of Everyday Death by Common Accounts; The Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal (2020). Image by Common Accounts

Miles Gertler founded Common Accounts with Igor Bragado in 2016. In its own words, the Toronto- and Madrid-based experimental design studio is “tethered more to networks of peers, politics, and file storage than we are to traditional notions of place and practice.” Through a variety of media, it engages with the everyday—though sometimes taboo—spatial and technological protocols surrounding self-design and the human body. Exploring subjects from fitness and cosmetic surgery to funerals and deathcare, the studio’s bold experimentations push both design and public discourse beyond their comfort zones.

Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison | Could Be Design 

a colorful supergraphic painted on a crosswalk.

Gary-goyles, Gary, Indiana, by Could Be Design with Andrea Jablonski, Efrain Araujo, Evan Stolatis (2022). Image by Brian Griffin

Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison founded Could Be Design in 2015. The Chicago- and Urbana, Illinois-based design practice imagines the built environment as an animate being with agency of its own. Using vibrant colors and whimsical shapes, Could Be Design’s projects celebrate this animacy, inviting users “to find comfort (and even delight) in the discomfort and humility integral to a world in which humans do not claim a privileged dominance,” in the studio’s words. From exuberant commercial interiors to interactive public art, the practice embraces the joy of creative placemaking.

Sarah Aziz and Lindsey Krug 


Mono-Poly-Dollar by Sarah Aziz and Lindsey Krug (2022). Image by Sarah Aziz/Lindsey Krug

Based in Albuquerque, Sarah Aziz is a designer who researches patterns of migration across scales and contexts. Lindsey Krug, based in Chicago and Milwaukee, is a designer who focuses on the role of the built environment in reifying bodily taboos and inequities. Since 2020, Aziz and Krug have shared a long-distance design and research practice. They investigate and unsettle the overlooked and the everyday, from dollar stores to tumbleweed, through provocative graphics, research, and installations.

Daisy Ames | Studio Ames 

wood-clad interior of a living space.

Supportive Housing Project, Bronx, New York, by Studio Ames (2022). Image by Studio Ames

Daisy Ames founded Studio Ames in New York City in 2017. The architectural research and design office responds to two of the built environment’s most pressing crises: the housing crisis and the climate crisis. Intervening at the nexus of the two, the practice’s work examines housing policy, segregation, and repression as well as sustainable construction materials and techniques. The results illuminate often-invisible elements of the built environment and offer a challenge to traditional domestic paradigms.

Sean Canty | Studio Sean Canty 

a gable-roofed building in field.

Folly Pavilion (unbuilt), Elliot, South Carolina, by Studio Sean Canty (2019). Image by Studio Sean Canty

Sean Canty founded his eponymous practice in Boston in 2017. The studio engages in geometrical explorations, asking social questions of traditional housing typologies and architectural forms. In its own words, Studio Sean Canty aims “to help establish a new normal in residential design, one that foregrounds collectivity, communal living, and higher density.” Through spatial contortions and remixes, Canty’s designs embrace both the social and formal tensions internal to each project.