Now in its 26th year, the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices program is an important rung on the ladder of American architectural prestige. In contrast with the League’s Young Architects program, which emphasizes design promise and research, Emerging Voices focuses on building, according to Anne Rieselbach, program director at the League. “That can be building from the scale of installation to architecture and urban design,” Rieselbach said. “We look for a strong voice, for a point of view in the work, as well as an interest in community work or teaching.”
Chosen by a committee comprised of previous winners and League board members that includes Calvin Tsao, Joel Sanders, Leslie Gill, Jared Della Valle, Lyn Rice, Jonathan Marvel, and the League’s executive director Rosalie Genevro, the 2009 group is geographically diverse, with varied aesthetic concerns and approaches to practice. All, however, share an interest in place-making, whether a reconsideration of suburban landscapes (Shane Coen), urban design elements that also mitigate severe climate conditions (Darren Petrucci), or the blending of American and Mexican vernacular (at103).
With the downturn in the economy, Rieselbach predicts that next year’s submissions will bring an emphasis on research or speculative projects, though she does not foresee an immediate return to theory or paper architecture. “The way architecture is made today is so different from earlier downturns,” she said. “There are so many ways to be directly involved with fabrication, construction, or with non-traditional clients.”
Emerging Voices 2009: