What We Did Last Night: The 2015 A+Awards Gala, Of Course!

All you need to know from the A+Awards Ceremony!

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

“I don’t want to freak anyone out … but this is one giant experiment.”

So said Marc Kushner at the third annual Architizer A+Awards gala, the culmination of a wildly successful program that has grown to thousands of entries, a jury of 300-plus luminaries, and a global public voting campaign. The High Line Stages hosted a diverse crowd, including A+Award-winning architects from Bernard Tschumi to Jeanne Gang, product designer (and honoree) Yves Béhar, and even public figures such as Eduardo Paes, Mayor of 2016 Olympics-hosting Rio de Janeiro. The eclectic, enthusiastic crowd reflected the mission of the Awards program and Architizer as a whole: “We made [the awards] really really big,” Kushner added, “To celebrate everyone behind the work — mayors, architects, planners, users, even tweeters.”

Marc Kushner, co-founder of Architizer, with the 2015 A+Awards Book. Photo by Samantha Nandez/BFA.com

Tim Kirchmann of LEGO. Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

The first honoree was the LEGO Group, which took home the Advocate Award. Senior Brand Manager Tim Kirchmann took to the stage, reveling in the company’s power to put the “tools of design and creativity into the hands of children.” Kirchmann expressly thanked architect-turned-LEGO-artist (and A+ juror) Adam Reed Tucker, who pitched the idea for LEGO Architecture years ago, out of the blue, noting that his son is currently studying architecture, as well.

SsD principal Jinhee Park. Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

Next came the firm SsD, winner of the “Dare Greatly” Award presented by Cadillac, accepted by principal Jinhee Park, for Songpa Micro Housing in Korea. “Architecture can literally change the world, for better or worse,” said Park. “[This award] supports us in understanding that daring is the alter ego of failure.”

Yves Béhar and Jason Johnson. Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

If Park was philosophical, Yves Béhar and Jason Johnson, founders of August, opted for a lighter touch. The app-controlled smart lock uses wireless technology to create an “easy, fun, and magical way to enter a house,” as Béhar put it, and won this year’s Product Award. “It’s about who you would let in,” such as nannies, friends, etc., “To see the beautiful architecture!”

Susan Rodriguez and Frank Lupo of the 14+ Foundation. Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

Celebrating access to architecture on a different scale, Susan Rodriguez and Frank Lupo accepted the Impact Award on behalf of the 14+ Foundation, a nonprofit organization that builds schools and orphanages in Zambia. The two architects thanked 14+ cofounder Joe Mizzi for his “vision, drive, and passion” in realizing a school, orphanage, and community facility that kicked off its first classes in January. Rodriguez and Lupo implored architects to use their time and expertise “outside their traditional work life” to make projects such as these possible.

Reiulf Ramstad and Kristin Stokke Ramstad of Reiulf Ramstad Architects. Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

Last but not least came the Firm of the Year Award given to Reiulf Ramstad Architects and accepted by Reiulf Ramstad, founder and design principal, and Kristin Stokke Ramstad, the firm’s managing director and CEO. With a range of unique and popular projects under their belt, Kushner noted that their selection was the culmination of three years of A+ success. From the National Tourist Route in Tollstigen to the Split View Mountain Lodge and Trollwall Restaurant and Service Building, the firm has perfected the art of creating lucid sculptural forms.

Remarking on how he traveled from a sparse mountaintop in Norway to the dense streets of New York within two days, Reiulf Ramstad was most excited about how a “global culture” is growing in our increasingly small world. But if culture binds us, he seemed to say, then “architecture [also] melds people together.” He concluded simply, “I love people, places, and this award!”

Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

Samantha Nandez/BFA.com

Cadillac CT6 at the A+Awards Gala, Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

We’d like to give another big thank you to our partners, especially ­The Wall Street Journal, Cadillac, Audemars Piguet, Bally, Sunbrella, and Phaidon.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible — sponsors, winners, and architecture lovers everywhere — we couldn’t have done it without you!

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