Foresight: 2009 Young Architects Forum Call for Entries

Young architects and designers are invited to submit work to the annual Young Architects Competition. Projects of all types, either theoretical or real and executed in any medium, are welcome. The jury will select work for presentation in public forums, an online installation, and an exhibition at the Architectural League beginning in May 2009. Winners will receive a cash prize of $1,000. A poster of the winning entries will be published and distributed nationally, as will a catalogue of winning work published by the Architectural League and Princeton Architectural Press. The Young Architects Forum is an annual competition, series of lectures, and exhibition organized by the Architectural League and its Young Architects Committee. The Forum was established to recognize specific works of high quality and to encourage the exchange of ideas among young people who might otherwise not have a forum.

The theme of this year’s competition is foresight. Our daily life is inundated by predictions and forecasts: about the world climate, the economy, socio-political trends, the housing market’s rise and fall, and all kinds of bubbles bursting. Everyone has become an expert in predicting the future, just as the very concept of a future, fundamentally better than the past, is, for the first time in recent memory, in question.

Foresight is a type of cultivated ability that relies on surveying, researching, and engaging the present towards particular, desired outcomes in the future. Our contemporary capacity to tap quickly into architectural successes and failures and make new tests, cataloguing our lessons, makes for a crucial disciplinary foresight of self-assessment and projection.

We invite you to show us work that in some fundamental way relies on mobilizing elements of that intelligence – thinking ahead, forecasting possible outcomes and opportunities and as a result imagining an effective role for architecture in the future. In a climate of nervousness and pessimism, what is the role of architecture? What problems can architecture solve? What problems can it not? Is architecture a vehicle to be used to address our most pressing problems and challenges? Or is it about something else? In the mindset of someone with foresight, an effective role in the future would by definition equal an effective role for architecture in the present as well.

Entrants may submit work done independently, as an employee or as a teacher. Entrants must be ten years or less out of graduate or undergraduate school; students are not eligible for this competition. Work completed for fulfillment of course requirements at academic institutions is not eligible. Past Young Architects Forum winners are not eligible. Work undertaken as an employee must be accompanied by a letter from a principal in the firm stating that the entrant can be given sole credit for the work submitted. The competition is open to current residents of the United States, Canada, and Mexico only.

The competition theme is given as a basis for young architects and designers to reflect upon and reevaluate their work. A written statement not to exceed 250 words is requested, which defines and considers the work. A single portfolio, which may include several projects, must be bound and no larger than 11” x 14”. The submission may not contain more than 30 double-sided pages. CDs, models, slides, and transparencies will not be accepted. Each submission must include an entry form. Insert form, intact, into an unsealed envelope attached to the inside back cover of the submission. To maintain anonymity, no identification of the entrant may appear on any part of the submission, except on the entry form and return envelope (see below).


The competition deadline is Wednesday, February 11, 2009. Entries must be received at the League office by 5:00 pm or postmarked by this date. There will be no exceptions to this deadline. The League cannot be responsible for entries received by mail after the jury date, which will be approximately a week after the deadline. Each entrant must submit an entry fee of $20.

The jury is comprised of Paola Antonelli, Teddy Cruz, Nader Tehrani and Calvin Tsao. Winning entrants will be notified by early March 2009.

For more information or to download an entry form, please visit or call 212-753-1722.