Exhibition and lecture series by winners of the 25th annual Young Architects Competition

The Architectural League is pleased to announce the winners of its 25th annual competition for young architects and designers. An exhibition of work by the winners will open to the public on April 27, 2006 at the Urban Center, 457 Madison Avenue, New York City, and will remain on display through June 14. The gallery is open weekdays (except Thursdays) and Saturdays from 11:00am to 5:00pm. The exhibition will also be open on the evenings of the lectures. Admission is free.

Competition winners will present their work in lectures followed by receptions. All lectures will begin at 6:30pm at the Urban Center. Admission is free and reservations are not required. The schedule is as follows. Thursday, April 27: Yansong Ma and Yosuke Hayano of Ann Arbor’s MAD office, and Betsy and Shane Williamson of Toronto’s williamson.williamson. Thursday, May 4: Craig Borum and Karl Daubmann of Ann Arbor’s PLY Architecture, and Julio Salcedo of New York City/Madrid. Thursday, May 11: Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman of Alexandria’s KBAS, and David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang of New York’s The Living.

Participants in the League’s annual Young Architects Forum are chosen through a portfolio competition, announced by a call for entries published each fall. Entrants, who must be ten years or less out of undergraduate or graduate school and live in North America, submit a portfolio of their work, accompanied by a short text that addresses the competition theme. Winners receive an honorarium, exhibit their work and present a lecture. Winners’ designs will be displayed on the Architectural League’s website (www.archleague.org) and in a catalogue to be published by Princeton Architectural Press.

The theme for the competition is selected by the Young Architects Committee and changes every year, to reflect current issues in architectural design and theory. Recent competition themes have included “inhabiting identity,” “ifthen,” and “situating.” The committee, a group selected each year from past participants in the Young Architects Forum, also invites distinguished members of the design community to serve with them on the jury. This year, in addition to committee members Douglas Gauthier, Naji Mouajes, and Beth Weinstein, the jury include Craig Dykers, Craig Konyk, Monica Ponce de Leon, and Sarah Sze.

The competition theme creates a rubric for entrants to frame their portfolios and critically evaluate their work. “Instability,” as defined by the Young Architects committee, embodies the multiple meanings tied to a period of social, political and climatic flux and asks entrants to consider the role of flexible design methodologies in their work. The committee posed a series of questions for entrants to address: Are flexible methods a necessary response to unstable conditions and an essential component of design practice? Have borrowed terminologies, ad hoc techniques, and structural improvisations become legitimate tactics evolving askew from prescribed methodologies and familiar forms? What is the value of these design tools in relationship to aesthetics? How might young architects tap into new temporal alliances, challenge preset programs, and reimagine well-established forms to situate their architectural practice?

Toronto-based Betsy and Shane Williamson are the principals of williamson.williamson, which they founded in 2002. Ranging in scale from furniture and installations to buildings and urban proposals, the Toronto studio’s work “incorporates design methodologies associated with computation and digital fabrication” to critically engage “traditional modes of construction and tectonic expression.” Recent projects include Dog/Trot, a house on an island in Orillia, Ontario, and STOCK SPACE, an exhibition of four concept spaces at the Toronto Interior Design Show in 2005. williamson.williamson was a finalist in the Burnham Prize Competition for Urban Waterways: The Chicago River Project in 2004, and in the Pentagon Memorial Competition in 2002. Their Door with Peephole was exhibited at the Mercer Union in Toronto, and their entry in New York’s City Lights competition was shown at the Museum of the City of New York in 2004. Betsy Williamson received a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College and Shane Williamson received a Bachelor of Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Both received Masters of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Shane is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto, and Betsy is employed with Shim-Sutcliffe Architects in Toronto.