Architectural Legends and Emerging Heroes Unite at the 2017 A+Awards

Last week, Architizer hosted our annual A+Awards gala in Manhattan.

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

In the final moments of last Thursday night’s A+Awards gala, Lifetime Achievement Award–winner Odile Decq summed up her personal motivation in making the world’s best architecture today.

“For me, architecture is to take a position on complex situations, expose yourself to the world, take risks and have the appetite to discover the unknown,” she said. “We must accept what is different, resist the standardization of production and constantly question to expand the implicit limits given today … This is how architecture can help the world.”

Last week marked the fifth year of Architizer’s annual gala for the A+Awards, the world’s largest architecture awards program that welcomes firms of all shapes and sizes to submit their best projects for public voting and peer review by over 400 of the most esteemed luminaries in the industry. This year’s event was held at the glamorous Highline Stages in Manhattan, where Architizer rolled out the red carpet for all our winners and guests, including the six special honorees of the evening. Architizer’s CEO Marc Kushner hosted the celebration.

Champagne glasses clinked throughout the night as architects, engineers, developers and journalists from over 100 countries celebrated together over their common passion for design. Amazing as it was to have so many distinguished members of the architecture community in one room together, the evening’s spotlight fell on our honorees, professionals whose visionary work and leadership has taken the industry to new heights.

Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree Odile Decq and Koray Duman, Principal and Founder of Buro Koray Duman, Emerging Firm of the Year Honoree; Photo by Sam Dietch/

Buro Koray Duman, named Emerging Firm of the Year, was the first honoree to be awarded. Our 2016 recipient of the same award, Chris Precht from PENDA, presented our brand-new and instantly iconic A+Awards trophy — designed bySnarkitecture and crafted from pure Corian® — to principal architect Koray Duman. Precht joked that one of the thrills of receiving an award for architecture is, of course, to share it with his mom. “The award [last year] gave a lot of reasons for my mom to brag to her friends,” he said. “My mom doesn’t necessarily care about the projects or the architecture of the building, but she does care about the awards and the trophy!”

In his acceptance speech, Duman urged architects to continue using creative thinking designing better cities. “While it is very trendy now for many professions to have a creative thinking course in their curriculum, we, as architects, are slowly forgetting to use the greatest tools we have and are becoming a service provider in the construction industry,” he said. “I hope these awards give us courage to be an instigator, a catalyst to face and resolve the challenges of our times.”

Adam Lisberg, Director of Communications at DJI Drones, Product of the Year Honoree and representatives from the New York office of Adjaye Associates, Firm of the Year Honoree; Photos by Sam Deitch/

Representatives from the New York office of Adjaye Associates accepted the award for Firm of the Year on behalf of Sir David Adjaye. Our Advocate Award honoree Carlo Ratti noted that his award symbolizes an important concept in his personal work: the idea that designers, as mutagenic agents, play a pivotal role in “the production of artifacts that can trigger the transformation of the world around us.”

At Architizer, we know that architects are forward thinkers, problem-solvers and enterprisers — characteristics perfectly harnessed by the amazing building products, technology and tools behind every A+Award-winning project. The Product of the Year Award was given to visionary tech company DJI Drones, whose communications director Adam Lisberg pledged his team’s commitment to making better products so architects can make better projects for the future.

Impact Award Honoree Tatiana Bilbao and Carlo Rotti, Advocacy Award Honoree; Photos by Sam Deitch/

As Impact Award honoree Tatiana Bilbao remarked in her acceptance speech, it’s an amazing opportunity for Architizer to be able to create a night each year to celebrate the world’s greatest architecture. But we know that great design shouldn’t just be created to win an award, it should be created for bettering the world.

“I can’t deny that it feels really nice to hear one’s name from loudspeakers or see it printed in a publication, but all those feelings are ephemeral. They fade,” she said. “What really sticks to you is coming back [to the project] five or 10 years later — when the photographers stop coming and the paint has lost its luster — to discover that people and the space have positively impacted one another. That’s what I work for.”

Our annual celebration is only made better year after year thanks to our incredible official gala sponsors. These brands echo the innovation and impact our award-winners make around the world, and they each contributed exciting installations and products to the gala, grabbing the attention of each guest that walked throughout the space.

Left: Sunbrella archway; right: official A+Awards book by Phaidon, Photos by Jenna Bascom Photography

Performance-fabric company Sunbrella created an eye-catching entry archway featuring a three-dimensional grid of kaleidoscopic colors. International publisher Phaidon returned for a third year, presenting the A+Awards book of projects that featured all the 2017 winners — order your copy of the limited edition book now!

Left: Rubix Cubes as part of Graphisoft’s gala installation, Photo by Sam Deitch/, right: custom-designed Wine Bar by Corian®, Photos by Jenna Bascom Photography

BIM software company Graphisoft set up a popular installation showcasing their latest tech in digital modeling with ARCHICAD. Associated Fabrication custom-designed a beautiful podium and wine bar both made of Corian® — also the primary material that was used to make our new A+ trophies. Meanwhile,Behr and Home Depot teamed up to bring a photobooth for guests to take away memories from the night’s festivities. And as always, not just the gala but the awards program as a whole wouldn’t exist without our partners at The Wall Street Journal and WSJ Magazine.

Left: Virtual Reality simulation by Graphisoftright: Photobooth by Behr and Home Depot, Photos by Jenna Bascom Photography

The A+Awards allows us to showcase the best architecture to the world each year — helping cast a niche industry as an inherently public and highly accessible profession. Incredible architecture should be recognized for its initial impact on society, but not only that, it should be recognized throughout its existence for enhancing the people it stands for.

Photo by Sam Deitch/

That’s truly what we at Architizer and all our participants at the gala work for day in and day out. We want the ability to making a lasting impact with our projects. Congratulations to all the 2017 A+Awards recipients!