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New York’s best emerging architecture studios of 2018 revealed

Five young architecture studios based in the Big Apple have been selected for this year’s New Practices New York awards, set up to promote the city’s best up-and-coming talent.

Agency–Agency, MABU, NHDM, Only If Architecture and PRO have all been named as 2018 winners of the awards, which are awarded biennially to studios headquartered in New York, which launched 10 years ago or sooner.

The honourees were announced last week at the city’s Center for Architecture, which organises the awards with the American Institute of Architects’ New York (AIANY) chapter.

They were selected by a jury that comprised Beatrice Galilee of The Met’s architecture and design department, Jeffrey Inaba of Inaba Williams, Andrés Jaque of Office for Political Innovation, Hilary Sample of MOS Architects, Rosalyne Shieh of Schaum/Shieh and Dezeen’s US editor Dan Howarth.

The theme of this year’s awards was Consequences, and entrants were asked to demonstrate ways in which they were thinking about the environmental, urban and social impacts of their work.

The jury looked at whether the firms are pushing boundaries of architecture in three main discourses – aesthetical, social and disciplinary – and chose winners that showed they were covering at least in two of these categories, if not all.

All the studios put forward work of different scales, along with self-initiated research projects that deal with current issues facing our cities.

Agency–Agency, led by Tei Carpenter, presented research into waste management using candy-coloured renderings, while MABU proved its dedication to thoughtfully reusing materials in unusual ways, across a range of adaptive reuse projects on the city’s periphery.

Both NHDM and Only If showed visually and theoretically coherent bodies of work at a wide range of scales, from exhibition studies to social housing, and PRO impressed with completed projects ranging from rebuilding hurricane-damaged neighbourhoods to interiors for improving mental health.

The Centre for Architecture will host an exhibition of the winners’ work, designed by Studio Lin, from 12 April 2018. It will remain on display through this year’s AIA Conference on Architecture, which will be hosted in New York from 21-23 June 2018.

Read on to find out more about the winning studios, with descriptions provided from AIANY:

Agency–Agency

Founded by Tei Carpenter, the practice seeks out an expanded agency for architecture’s role in society, engaging both buildings and the systems beyond buildings. The practice is currently involved with three types of design work: non-profit, client-based built projects; competition-winning speculative designs; and self-initiated sponsored research fuelled by a sense of optimism and the possibility for public engagement. Methodologically, the practice combines research, teaching, and design to engage in discussions within the discipline and more broadly.

MABU/Matt Burgermaster

MABU’s work focuses on the material, spatial, and environmental leftovers of others. Both by choice and by coincidence, much of the firm’s work re-imagines buildings produced by a modernity that has exhausted itself. The things we discard don’t just go away, nor are the trash heaps of history only filled with old junk. In this new era where everything has been altered by human activity, the MABU chooses to recognise old buildings as material and cultural resources.

Only If Architecture

Only If is a design practice for architecture and urbanism founded in 2013 by Karolina Czeczek and Adam Frampton, AIA. Their work is based on an intimate engagement with construction processes, local policies and conditions, and cultural and community organisations. The firm translates urban techniques to an architectural scale to rethink qualities of duration and change. Only If believes that, rather than imposing additional complexity, the role of the designer is to envision simple gestures and forms to impose structure, coherence, and identity.

PRO (Peterson Rich Office)

Founded by Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich, PRO advocates for an expanded role for design that crosses disciplinary boundaries. PRO believes that design professionals are able to play the role of imaginative mediator, consensus builder, and trusted ally to multiple stakeholders simultaneously. This privileged role, one often overlooked by traditional firms, is not easily played by those outside of the practice.

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