16 Creative Thought Leaders on the 2021 A+Awards Jury

To get your projects viewed by this incredible cast of influential thinkers and doers, submit them for an iconic A+Award.

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

While architecture is the beating heart of Architizer’s A+Awards, the impact of the program extends far behind the profession. It makes sense, then, that our jurors do too: our 250+ member jury academy is comprised of leaders who are actively shaping the world we live in, representing a sought-after segment of design-savvy professionals including distinguished luminaries from fields as diverse as fashion, publishing, product design, real estate development and tech.

To get your projects viewed by this incredible cast of influential thinkers and doers, submit them for an iconic A+Award before the Final Entry Deadline on April 23rd, 2021:

Enter the 2021 A+Awards

A+Awards Finalists and Winners get their work in front of the people who matter, and gain recognition as the most influential visionaries in the AEC field. This year’s jury is more diverse than ever before, and the stellar lineup is representative of the pioneering spirit that underpins the program. Here are just some of the fascinating figures that will be casting their creative eye over the world’s best architecture this year.


Nader Tehrani

Founding Principal, NADAAA; Dean, Cooper Union School of Architecture

For his contributions to architecture as an art, Nader Tehrani is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ 2020 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize. Nader Tehrani is founding principal of NADAAA and Dean of the Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. His research focuses on the transformation of the building industry, innovative material applications, and the development of new means and methods of construction, especially through digital fabrication.

Tehrani’s work has received many prestigious awards, including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, and eighteen Progressive Architecture Awards. Prior to becoming Dean at the Cooper Union, he taught at RISD, Harvard GSD, Georgia Institute of Technology, and MIT.

Tom Kundig

FAIA, RIBA, Principal/Owner, Olson | Kundig

Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, is an owner and principal of global design practice Olson Kundig. Kundig has received some of the world’s highest design honors, including a National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and election to the National Academy as an Academician in Architecture.

Kundig was also awarded the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor as well as a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Washington. Known for his contextual approach to design, Kundig emphasizes the primacy of the site. His buildings are a direct response to place, often serving as a backdrop to the built, cultural or natural landscapes that surround them.

Alison Brooks

Principal & Creative Director, Alison Brooks Architects

Alison Brooks is one of Britain’s mostly highly acclaimed architects. Born and educated in Canada, she moved to London in 1988 and founded her practice in 1996. She is now internationally recognised for her award-winning works ranging from urban design and housing to performing arts venues, higher education buildings and exhibitions. With a unique design process that fuses history, community and locality Brooks has since become the only recipient of the UK’s three most prestigious awards for architecture: the RIBA Stirling Prize, the Manser Medal and Stephen Lawrence Prize.

Her work attracts acclaim for its conceptual rigor, sculptural quality and ingenious detailing. Brooks serves as a Trustee of Open City. She taught at the Architectural Association from 2008-2010 and in 2018 was appointed as the John T. Dunlop Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard GSD. She lectures internationally and is currently a visiting professor at ETSAM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. In 2016 Alison Brooks was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from her Alma Mater, the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Han Wenqiang


Han Wenqiang was born in Dalian, Liaoning, China. He received his masters degree from the School of Architecture of CAFA in 2005, and since then has been teaching there. In his design practice and research, he advocates for observing and reflecting on the physical environment with traditional wisdom, insists on the view that “space is a medium” and that “design of relationships” is an important approach, creates forms based on physical objects, produces spatial ambience for the mind, and strives to achieve harmony and balance among humans, nature, history, culture, commerce and space.

His representative works include Waterside Buddhist Shrine, Tea House in Hutong, Organic Farm, and Twisting Courtyard. In 2020, he was invited to be the judge of Leaf Awards. He was a winner of Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard Competition in 2015, Perspective’s 40 UNDER 40 Awards (Architecture category) in 2017, and AD100 list from 2015 to 2019.

Design & Culture

Professor Lesley Lokko

Founder & Director, African Futures Institute

Lesley Lokko trained as an architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture and holds a PhD in Architecture from University of London. She is the founder and director of the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana, an independent postgraduate school of architecture and platform for pan-African architectural discourse. She was the founder and director of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg (2014—2019) and the Dean of Architecture at the Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture (2019—2020).

She is the editor of White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000); editor-in-chief of FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture. In 2004, she made the successful transition from academic to novelist with the publication of her first novel, Sundowners (Orion 2004) and has since followed with twelve further bestsellers, which have been translated into fifteen languages.

Aric Chen

M+ Museum, Design Miami

Aric Chen is a design and architecture curator and writer based in Shanghai, where he is Professor of Practice at the College of Design & Innovation at Tongji University. In addition, Chen currently serves as Curatorial Director for the Design Miami/ and Design Miami/Basel fairs and as Curator-at-Large for M+, the new museum for visual culture under construction in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, where from 2012-2018 he was that institution’s first Lead Curator for Design and Architecture.

Liam Young

Speculative Architect and Director, Tomorrows Thoughts Today

Liam Young is a speculative architect and director who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is cofounder of Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank, exploring the local and global implications of new technologies and Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle these emerging conditions as they occur on the ground. His worldbuilding for the film and television industries has been acclaimed in both mainstream and architectural media, including the BBC, NBC, Wired, Guardian, Time Magazine and New Scientist, he is a BAFTA nominated producer and his work has been collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and MAAS in Sydney.

He has published several books including the recent Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post Anthropocene and has taught internationally at the Architectural Association, Princeton University and now runs the groundbreaking Masters in Fiction and Entertainment at Sci Arc in Los Angeles. Liam’s narrative approach sits between documentary and fiction as he focuses on projects that aim to reveal the invisible connections and systems that make the modern world work. Liam now manages his time between exploring distant landscapes and visualizing the future worlds he extrapolates from them.

Karim Rashid

Kreator, Karim Rashid

Karim Rashid is one of the most prolific designers of his generation. Over 4000 designs in production, over 300 awards and working in over 35 countries attest to Karim’s legend of design. His award-winning designs include democratic objects such as the ubiquitous Garbo waste can and Oh Chair for Umbra, interiors such as the Morimoto restaurant, Philadelphia and Semiramis hotel, Athens.

Karim collaborated with clients to create democratic design for Method and Dirt Devil, furniture for Artemide and BoConcept, brand identity for Citibank and Hyundai, high tech products for LaCie and Samsung, and luxury goods for Veuve Clicquot and Swarovski, to name a few. Karim’s work is featured in 20 permanent collections and he exhibits art in galleries worldwide. Karim is a perennial winner of the Red Dot award, Chicago Athenaeum Good Design award, I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review, IDSA Industrial Design Excellence Award.

Innovation & Business

Natsai Audrey Chieza

Founder & Director, Faber Futures

Natsai Audrey Chieza is Founder and Director of Faber Futures, an award-winning multidisciplinary design agency operating at the intersection of nature, technology, and society. The London-based studio empowers industry and institutions with innovative design solutions and R&D for an impactful transition towards sustainable futures. A background in Architectural Design and Material Futures, Chieza pioneered the design- driven application of microbial pigment dyes for textiles and has been awarded the Index Award 2019 for the chemical-free, water-saving biofabrication system she developed.

In her 2017 TED Talk, Chieza demonstrates how emerging biotechnologies converge with craft and interact with the contemporary realities of resource scarcity, climate change, and sustainable development. With a highly influential practice in the contemporary design for ecology movement, Chieza has exhibited at prestigious institutions including at the Cooper Hewitt (US), Pompidou Centre (FR), Vitra Design Museum (DE), The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, The Victoria & Albert Museum (UK) and Science Gallery Dublin (IE). An international speaker on emergent futures, Chieza is named on OkayAfrica’s “100 Women 2018” for her work in STEM, ICON Magazine’s 2019 “ICON Design 100” list and It’s Nice That’s “Ones to Watch 2019”.

Céline Semaan

Founder & Executive Director, Slow Factory Foundation

Céline Semaan-Vernon is a Lebanese-Canadian designer, writer, advocate and public speaker. She is the founder of Slow Factory Foundation, a 501c3 public service organization working at the intersection of environmental and social justice, which produces a conference series promoting sustainability literacy called Study Hall, and the first science-driven incubator in fashion called One X One. She is on the Council of Progressive International, became a Director’s Fellow of MIT Media Lab in 2016, and served on the Board of Directors of AIGA NY, a nonprofit membership organization that helps cultivate the future of design in New York City from 2016-2017.

David Benjamin

Founder & Principal, The Living

David Benjamin is Founding Principal of The Living and directs the GSAPP Incubator. Benjamin’s work combines research and practice, and it involves exploring new ideas through prototyping. Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and design, Benjamin has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-processing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing.

The Living has won many design prizes, including the Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League, the New Practices Award from the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, the Young Architects Program Award from the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, and a Holcim Sustainability Award. Recent projects include the Princeton Architecture Laboratory (a new building for research on next-generation design and construction technologies), Pier 35 EcoPark (a 200-foot-long floating pier in the East River that changes color according to water quality), and Hy-Fi (a branching tower for the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 made of a new type of biodegradable brick).

Monica von Schmalensee

Senior Architect/MDA, White Arkitekter

Monica von Schmalensee is a senior partner and architect at White Arkitekter. In her role as CEO of the company from 2010-2017 she established the practice internationally and doubled its size. She continues to develop the practice in her current role as senior strategic advisor. Monica was awarded Community Builder of Year 2016 by the organisation ‘Swedish professionals for the built environment’ and in 2017 she was named the second most powerful person in Swedish architecture and design by publication Tidskriften Rum.

Since 2017 she is one of the Mayor’s Design Advocates, a collection of individuals who are called upon to support the Mayor of London and his staff in the delivery of the Good Growth by Design agenda, through advocacy, critique and research. During 2018 Monica was appointed by the government as chairman of the “Sustainable Cities Council” and she was recently appointed new Chairman of the Board at the Form / Design Center.

Emerging Voices

Pascale Sablan

FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, Founder & Executive Director, Beyond the Built Environment

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, With over 13 years of experience, she has been on the team for a variety of mixed-use, commercial, cultural & residential projects in the U.S. and globally. Pascale is the 315th living African-American, female registered architect in the U.S. She is an activist architect who works to advance architecture for the betterment of society, bring visibility and voice to the issues concerning women and diverse designers.

She founded the Beyond the Built Environment organization positioned to uniquely address the inequitable disparities in architecture. She was awarded the 2021 AIA Whitney M. Young. Jr Award for her advocacy efforts and ascended to the AIA College of Fellows, the youngest African American to reach that honor. She also received Pratt Alumni Achievement Award, BD+C 40 Under 40; featured on the cover of the 09/2017 issue. Pascale has given lectures at Colleges and Universities nationally; cultural institutions such as the United Nations and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Tao Liu + Chunyan Cai

Founders & Principals, Atelier tao+c

Tao Liu and Chunyan Cai are the co-founders of atelier tao+c, an emerging architectural design studio based in Shanghai. The office’s design experiments span from architecture, interior, products and teaching, paralleled with studio’s continuous research on the restoration of old buildings and the domestic landscape in the living condition.

The studio has unique design approach to blur the boundaries between architecture and interiors, to allow the space to grow on its very own narrative. During the past five years, the studio has received numerous highly-acclaimed design awards, including shortlisted in AR Emerging Architecture Awards 2020, Interior Project of the Year by Dezeen Awards and winners of Architizer A+ awards among many others. Their project has been published worldwide. The founders, Tao Liu and Chunyan Cai lecture internationally, for instance as a guest talker on the Harvard GSD lecture themed “ typology and imagination.”

Fernanda Canales

Founding & Director, Fernanda Canales Arquitectura

Fernanda Canales holds a PhD in Architecture (ETSAM, Madrid), and a MA from the Universidad Politecnica de Cataluña (UPC, Barcelona). She has been distinguished with several international awards, such as the Emerging Voices Award from The Architectural League of New York.

Author of books such as: Private Spaces; Shared Structures (Actar, 2020), Vivienda Colectiva en México (Gustavo Gili, 2017) and Architecture in Mexico 1900-2010: The Construction of Modernity (Arquine, 2013), she has been visiting faculty member at Yale School of Architecture and invited speaker at the Architectural Association School in London, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture in New York. Her work has been widely exhibited, among other venues, at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the ifa-Gallery in Stuttgart, and the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Amanda Ferber

Founder, Architecture Hunter

Amanda Ferber is the young architect who founded Architecture Hunter, one of the largest architectural Instagram pages in the world, with over 2 million followers. She has already worked with Marcio Kogan, one of the greatest Brazilian architects and also with renowned digital platforms. She is the ambassador of Morpholio, the Sketching app for Architects and designers and also one of the partners of Arquiforma, a Brazilian platform for students.

To get your projects viewed by these and more than 250 other creative leaders on the A+Awards jury, enter your best projects before the Final Entry Deadline on April 23rd, 2021:

Enter the 2021 A+Awards

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