Architizer and Sunbrella Celebrate the Future of Shade in New York City

Our guests previewed the Future of Shade competition winners and got the scoop on how our judges chose them!

Sydney Franklin Sydney Franklin

The future of shade is a complex challenge. How will buildings and products help protect and preserve us in the years to come? Manufacturers like Sunbrella® are creating ground-breaking materials that revolutionize the way we think of shade. No longer is the concept of shade stunted by the idea of standing underneath an awning or walking underneath a row of trees on your neighborhood sidewalk. Designing for shade can be so much more.

That’s why each year we partner with Sunbrella to produce the Future of Shade competition. Now in its fifth year, we’re always proud to filter through the ingenious projects that are submitted from around the world.

This week, Architizer and Sunbrella hosted a day-long deliberation to review the 2017 competition with our three esteemed judges: Sean Anderson, Associate Curator of MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, Alicia Ajayi, Associate Designer at MASS Design Group and Jim Miller, owner of J. Miller Canvas. After hours were spent poring over hundreds of submissions, the winning projects were debuted at a post-work announcement party.

“We look for very specific characteristics that catch our eye,” said Anderson. “I personally was seeking innovation and things I haven’t seen before. We’re living in an environment in which we see so much all the time, so I wasn’t looking for the most beautiful rendering, but for projects that respond to the program in unique ways.”

Entrants were asked to submit projects using Sunbrella fabrics as the focal point of their proposal in three separate categories: the Building Shade Challenge, the Humanitarian Challenge and the Well-Being Challenge. Submissions were narrowed down to a binder full of finalists, which our judges reviewed together, debating the design and narrative of each project.

Before our lively panel and discussion with our judges, guests at our evening event sipped on champagne while checking out the detailed designs of our three grand prize-winning projects as well as the proposals that received three honorable mentions.

In speaking on the favorite from the Humanitarian Challenge, Anderson noted the project’s success in not only solving the problem of shelter needed in a crisis situation, but imagining a permanent place for users to create a unified and resourceful community.

“There’s a sensitivity shown in the images, the details and the explanation,” he said. “Here the design provides the basic elements on the ground for building community.”

Building for shade goes beyond creating spaces for people to step out of the sun. With the right materials, like Sunbrella fabrics, architecture can improve someone’s health, make the earth greener or give displaced persons a new, sustainable place to live.

Winners of the Future of Shade competition will officially be announced in an article here on Architizer soon!