by Linda G. Miller
“It was not a given that the New Practices New York (NPNY) competition would even continue past its first year,” said Philipp von Dalwig, Assoc. AIA, co-chair of the AIANY New Practices Committee, in announcing the 2016 competition winners on the program’s 10th anniversary on 01.28.16. NPNY provides a platform for new and diverse models for the practice of architecture, an endeavor as important and relevant to AIANY now as it was 2006.
NPNY 2010 winners and AIANY New Practices Committee co-chairs Von Dalwig, partner at ManifoldArchitectureStudio, and Christopher Leong, Assoc. AIA, partner at LEONG LEONG, introduced this year’s winners. The co-chairs stated that “considering this year’s theme of ‘Prospect,’ the jury recognized six winners that have leveraged multiple aspects of the architecture profession, utilizing unique and innovative strategies, both in the projects and the practices they have started.”
Out of 53 entries, the jury selected six pioneering firms who join the ranks of 37 past winners: MODU, SCHAUM/SHIEH, stpmj; Studio Cadena, Taller KEN, and Young Projects. These firms will receive a stipend to showcase their work at an exhibition opening on 05.12.16 at the Center for Architecture, with related symposia at the showroom of competition underwriter, Cosentino.
The three members of the jury who were in attendance noted that even though there were many entries to review, they were excited to see the diversity of the submissions. Juror Julian Rose, principal of Formlessfinder and a 2012 NPNY winner, commented on the international reach of this year’s competition, and that even though the portfolios showed little built work in New York City, the winners had a “global reach and were engaged the world, while they had one foot in New York.” Jane Smith, AIA, IIDA, ASID, founding principal of Spacesmith and AIANY vice president for professional development, was excited to see the diversity of the work of the firms who entered the competition, and said that there was something “tangible about the winners,” noting that she could “envision the work of the winners being built.” Ada Tolla, Int’l. Assoc. AIA, a partner at LOT-EK, noted that the competition was a great way to “feel the pulse of what’s happening.”
One of this year’s winners, Benjamin Cadena, founder of Studio Cadena, recalled seeing the exhibition of the first NPNY winners while at at WORKac, one of that year’s winners. “I remember looking through the work and thinking how fantastic it would be to get that recognition and validation starting out in New York. And now receiving the same award feels like a great bookend to my first decade of practice in the city – it really makes me feel excited about the potential of what’s to come.”
This coming spring or summer, one member of each winning 2016 NPNY firm will be going to Spain, courtesy of Cosentino. The trip includes a visit to Cosentino’s global headquarters in Almeria for an opportunity to see first-hand how the company’s products, Dekton and Silestone, are made, along with Daniel Libeskind’s “Beyond The Wall” installation. Winners will also tour the region, known for its natural stone industry, and spend their free time in Barcelona.
New Practices New York 2016 is a preeminent platform for recognizing and promoting young architecture and design firms. To qualify for the competition, practices had to be founded since 2006 and be located within the five boroughs of New York City. The competition was open to multidisciplinary firms, widening the field of entrants to designers and young professionals currently in the process of becoming licensed architects.