The Architectural League of New York has announced the latest cohort of eight North American practitioners to join the ranks of Emerging Voices, the nonprofit’s annual juried award program recognizing individuals and firms hailing from the United States, Canada, and Mexico whose work “addresses pressing contemporary issues, from climate change and resource extraction to social inequities and exploitative labor practices, with a distinct ‘voice’ that has the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.”
The program was inaugurated in 1982 and has since named more than 300 awardees, including Steven Holl (1982), Deborah Berke (1993), Michael Maltzan (1998), Jeanne Gang (2006), Jing Liu & Florian Idenburg (2013), and Sekou Cooke (2022). The revamped and expanded Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts, by 2007 recipients Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon is a featured project in this month’s issue of RECORD as is the Victory Wellness Center by 2011 winners, Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich of Los Angeles-based Patterns.
For this cycle, the realized work—along with the academic activities and other contributions—of roughly 50 competition entrants were considered in a two-stage review process helmed by a jury that included League president Mario Gooden, a 2001 awardee, joined by eight fellow design professionals, several of them also past winners: Marie Law Adams, Paola Aguirre, Behnaz Assadi, Fernanda Canales, Irene Cheng, David Godshall, Bryan Lee, Jr., and Jess Myers.
“Their works are transcalar to the built environment in the production of space, sociality, community, and discourse,” said Gooden of the 2024 winners, adding that they also “hold a mirror to confront architecture’s entanglements with modernity, coloniality, and the resultant environmental, social, and technological changes, and how these are made manifest at the intersection of bodies, space, ecologies, politics, and aesthetics.”
Below are this year’s Emerging Voices, including brief summaries of each winner provided by the League. Like with recent past cycles, the League will host a free online lecture series throughout the month of March highlighting the work and practice of each of the awardees. More details on the 2024 Emerging Voices lecture series can be found here.
Emanuel Admassu and Jen Wood | AD—WO
New York City
100 Links, Chicago Architecture Biennial (2023-2024), by AD-WO and the Buell Center. Photo © Tom Harris
Emanuel Admassu and Jen Wood founded AD—WO in New York in 2018. Working at the intersection of art and architecture, the practice is rooted in Black studies, decoloniality, and conceptual art. Admassu and Wood’s installations, exhibitions, and built projects articulate, in their own words, “how architecture and art are implicated in ongoing struggles; redirecting spatial thinking against various forms of subjugation.” Located in galleries and educational and cultural institutions, the firm’s installations utilize tactical materiality and non-Western aesthetics to challenge architectural conventions.
Fermín Andrade, Juan Carlos Cano, and Paloma Vera | CANO VERA arquitectura
University of the Environment, Acatitlán, Mexico (2014), by CANO VERA arquitectura and Oscar Hagerman. Photo © Rafael Gamo
Juan Carlos Cano and Paloma Vera founded CANO VERA arquitectura in Mexico City in 2007, and Fermín Andrade joined the firm as partner in 2019. Initially oriented toward social housing design, the practice’s portfolio has since expanded to include large scale institutional, cultural, and infrastructural projects. Uniting expertise in both architectural and urban design, CANO VERA arquitectura’s work demonstrates a consistent social orientation and sensitivity to context expressed through ambitiously scaled forms. In the words of its founders, the practice believes that “the specific can transform the whole.”
David Fortin | David T Fortin Architect
Family Cabin Concept, Lac des Mille Lacs, First Nation (2019), by David T Fortin Architect. Image courtesy David T Fortin Architect
David Fortin founded David T Fortin Architect in Sudbury, Ontario in 2018. Now located in Cambridge, Ontario, the 100 percent Indigenous-owned firm believes that “well-designed spaces can strengthen our relations with each other and the Land in profound ways,” in its own words. Primarily working with Métis and First Nation clients across Canada, David T Fortin Architect produces a broad range of work grounded in Indigenous knowledge, from installations and advocacy initiatives to affordable and social housing projects.
Armida Fernández and Luis Enrique Flores | Estudio ALA
Tequila Centinela Chapel, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico (2014), by Estudio ALA. Photo © Cesar Bejar
Armida Fernández and Luis Enrique Flores founded Estudio ALA in Guadalajara in 2012. Often designing for industrial and agricultural contexts, the firm, in its own words, seeks to “honor culture and tradition while still questioning the significance of programs, methodologies, and materialities.” Through built work and research projects that engage creatively with established economic and social structures, Estudio ALA explores a wide range of topics, including migrant spaces and pathways; emerging dwelling typologies; environmental sustainability; and reuse and reprogramming.
David Hill | HILLWORKS
Alabama Meadows Research Plots, Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest at Auburn University, Alabama (2020 to present) by HILLWORKS and Emily Knox. Photo courtesy HILLWORKS and Emily Knox
David Hill founded the landscape design studio HILLWORKS in 2009. Located in Auburn, Alabama and working closely with Auburn University, a public land grant institution, the firm is grounded in the ecological and cultural landscape of the southeastern United States. HILLWORKS engages in design research on plant performance, including studies in phenology and novel ecologies, and the inventive reuse of land, such as community gardens and rewilding strategies. The studio’s projects across a variety of scales reflect a dedication to the regenerative power of the landscape.
Katherine Darnstadt | Latent
Rusu-McCartin Boys & Girls Club of Chicago (2023) by Latent. Photo © Tom Harris
Katherine Darnstadt founded Latent in Chicago in 2010. Bridging the fields of architecture and community development, Latent utilizes participatory processes and leverages local assets to create design solutions in resource and budget limited environments. The practice’s portfolio includes smallscale urban interventions, new construction community buildings, adaptive reuse, neighborhood master plans, and speculative designs. Focused on accessibility, sustainability, and economic viability, the practice states that it is founded “on the belief that great spaces belong to our most vulnerable populations.”
Ross Altheimer and Maura Rockcastle | TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture + Urbanism
Rondo Commemorative Plaza, Minneapolis (2018), by TEN x TEN Architecture + Urbanism,4RM+ULA, Seitu Ken Jones, and Roger Cummings. Photo © Morgan Sheff Photography
Ross Altheimer and Maura Rockcastle founded TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture + Urbanism in Minneapolis in 2015. According to the firm, their transdisciplinary studio works collaboratively to “co-create immersive, resilient landscapes that adapt to social, economic, and environmental transformation.” Through diverse projects that range from industrial reuse to memorial design and a methodology that centers research and community investment, TEN x TEN’s work demonstrates a deep respect for place and the belief that design can affect positive change in our environments.
Neeraj Bhatia | THE OPEN WORKSHOP
New Investigations in Collective Form, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2018), by THE OPEN WORKSHOP. Photo © Neeraj Bhatia
Neeraj Bhatia founded THE OPEN WORKSHOP in 2013 in Toronto, Canada. Now based in San Francisco, the multidisciplinary practice produces a diverse range of projects and built works that bridge speculative research and formal design. The studio investigates how architecture and urbanism can foster social, racial, environmental, and economic equity, engaging frequently with issues of housing justice and public space. Often created collaboratively with communities, institutions, and other designers, these projects both propose and represent what the firm describes as “a collective ethos of design and forms of exchange.”