A special note from Architizer’s Architecture Editor, Paul Keskeys
Last night’s 2016 A+Awards gala was a special moment for me personally, but even more significant for the profession as a whole. Having written about brilliant buildings on Architizer for the past three years, it was my first chance to see many of the creative minds behind them get recognized in person — and the evening surpassed every expectation.
The A+Awards Gala 2016
Right by the High Line in New York’s Meatpacking District, the venue was the epitome of glamor — attendees rocked the red carpet, black ties and stunning dresses were worn, champagne flowed — but the winners themselves were refreshingly humble despite their amazing achievements. Architects from more than 95 countries flew in to celebrate together, and the community spirit on the floor was unlike anything I’ve witnessed in the profession to date.
Left: Chris Precht of Penda, Emerging Firm of the Year 2016; right: Architizer founder Marc Kushner with Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, Firm of the Year 2016; photos courtesy of Sam Deitch / BFA
Left: Paul Goldberger, Advocate of the Year 2016; right: Daniel Feldman and Ivan Quinoñes of Feldman and Quinoñes, winners of the Impact Award; photos courtesy of Sam Deitch / BFA
Architizer’s founder Marc Kushner reflected on the extraordinary atmosphere, recalling a “mood of pure joy” throughout a packed room of architects, designers, developers, businesspeople, journalists and more. On top of the winners for both the jury and public votes, Architizer announced five special prizes for standout figures in the industry over the past 12 months. The awards and their talented recipients were as follows:
Emerging Firm of the Year: Penda (Chris Precht and Dayong Sun)
The Impact Award: Feldman and Quinoñes (Daniel Feldman and Ivan Quinoñes)
Product of the Year: Samsung Gear VR (Tom Harding)
Advocate of the Year: Paul Goldberger (Author and Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic)
Firm of the Year: Studio Gang (Jeanne Gang)
The party’s common themes of innovation and creativity were also reflected by the gala’s sponsors. MINI — pioneers of creative uses of space — showcased its MINI Clubman alongside the red carpet, while Sunbrella crafted a stunning bar using its latest Contour fabric. International publisher Phaidon returned for a second year, presenting the official A+Awards compendium of projects in a beautiful hardbound edition celebrating the 2016 winners – order your copy of the limited Architizer A+Awards 2016 book now. Then there was the presence of a company that has been synonymous with countless aspiring architects through the decades: LEGO!
Left: Phaidon’s brand new edition of A+ Winners; right: Sunbrella’s innovative bar installation; photos courtesy of Sam Deitch / BFA
Left: MINI Clubman on the red carpet; right: attendees build their own LEGO masterpieces; photos courtesy of Sam Deitch / BFA
LEGO’s playful spirit brought the gala alive and tapped into passion for design shared by everyone in the room. A number of big-name firms built their own landmark projects out of the famous plastic bricks, and every attendee was invited to create their own icons at tables filled with piles of white bricks from LEGO’s innovative Architecture series. Then, of course, there was Architizer’s giant LEGO Logo: the synergy between Architizer and LEGO captured within a single letter!
In collaboration with a host of other partners including The Wall Street Journal, WSJ. Magazine, Dwell, the Webby Awards and Firestone, the 2016 A+Awards reached a staggering 300 million people around the world.
Photo courtesy of Jenna Bascom
The overriding takeaway from the event was this: Good architecture creates good feeling, and with new media proliferating across the globe, it has the potential to bring joy to a much wider audience than ever before. In this regard, one of the night’s most well-known attendees — American television host and interior designer Genevieve Gorder — posed a great question:
“Why isn’t this on TV?!”
For every participant at the gala, that must surely be a goal for next year! The most exciting realization for me personally is that this is just the beginning — now that architecture has broken out of the echo chamber, the potential is simply thrilling. Here’s to celebrating more outstanding buildings and their designers throughout the rest of 2016 and beyond!