2017 Best of Design Award for Young Architects: mcdowellespinosa architects

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia and Brooklyn, New York

mcdowellespinosa architects focuses on transforming waste, excess, and ordinary materials into new spatial and material realities. The firm functions more like an artist atelier than a professional office, interfacing with everything it designs. From self-built shacks made from reclaimed agrarian structures to objects made with chewing gum or human hair—the methodology is very tactile, very hands-on, and very DIY. At the core of the firm’s philosophy is a celebration of authenticity through object transformation.

“mcdowellespinosa show an inventiveness about space and tectonics that roots their practice firmly in the real, event when it seems implausible.” —Matt Shaw, Senior Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper (juror)

Honorable Mention 

Architect: Spiegel Aihara Workshop
Location: San Francisco

True & Co, Spiegel Aihara Workshop (Spiegel Aihara Workshop)

The central premise of Spiegel Aihara Workshop (SAW) is the productive tension between architecture and landscape architecture, and the ways in which their respective materials respond different to time. SAW pursues this work collaboratively, through built projects, theoretical design speculations, trans-disciplinary research, and teaching.

Honorable Mention 

Architect: Hana Ishikawa
Firm name: site design group
Location: Chicago

Courtesy site design group, ltd.)

Mary Bartelme Park in Chicago (Courtesy site design group, ltd.)

Trained as an architect, Hana Ishikawa serves as the design principal at an emerging landscape architecture and urban design practice in Chicago, leading the firm’s process with equal parts innovation and logic. Ishikawa’s design philosophy is rooted in contributing to the well-being of society. Notable projects range from affordable housing to rehabilitative open spaces.

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