The CCA Announces ‘How to: reward and punish’ Workshop

The CCA is reimagining how the architecture industry validates its prize procedures by exploring how awards reinforce structural inequalities through systems of selection and judgement in this year’s How to series.

Phyllis Lambert and Philip Johnson at the jury meeting for the IFCCA Prize Competition for the Design of Cities, New York City, 27 June 1999. Photograph by Vincent Colabella © CCA

According to the CCA, awards are a key part of architecture’s self-discipline. “They are mechanisms of soft power, reward and erasure, ignorance and even punishment, and reading the history of architecture awards can be a detailed and revealing way of reading architecture history itself. Through the twentieth century, these certificates, gongs, fat cheques, and medallions have defined the canon through mysterious processes of selection that emerge as ceremonies reflected in the news, only to disappear again.”

“Currently, they’re given mostly for lifetime achievements or to specific projects, but, honestly, even the Oscars are more thorough. At least, by the end of that ceremony, almost every part of movie production has been honoured,” says the CCA. “This has never been the case in architecture, so let’s consider new kinds of awards and methodologies of merit. Perhaps we need awards for the most reused brick or the most valuable intern; for the bravest client or the smartest budget. Or we may need awards that are given only to temporary groups, to promising concepts, or to new laws. Maybe truly future-focused awards must plan their own obsolescence?”

How to: reward and punish is directed by Lev Bratishenko, Curator, Public, CCA, with writer and editor George Kafka. The series will survey and taxonomize the circus of contemporary architectural “meritocracy”, consider the origins and transformations of the most important awards and how they came to be that way, and  find different approaches to funding prizes, selecting and taming jurors, and other themes, which will be developed with the participants.

How to apply

Send an email to with a short text (around 400 words) on an award that you think architecture needs and how it should be awarded, and a CV, by 1 May 2020.

The workshop is free, it begins on 26 July and ends on 1 August 2020, and is a full-time commitment during the week. This year’s workshop may take place online if the CCA building’s temporary closure extends through the summer. Upon notifying selected participants, the CCA will confirm the workshop format.

The primary language of the week will be English, but all are welcome.

For more information, visit:

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