Masks Optional! It’s the 2022 Architecture and Design Awards
By Alexandra Lange, Mark Lamster & Carolina A. Miranda
There are big changes here at Awards Central as we deliver our 13th consecutive annual prizes: We are pleased to announce that the most eminent Carolina A. Miranda of the Los Angeles Times has joined our esteemed panel. What does that mean for you? More awards. More geographic diversity. More hilarity. Welcome Carolina!
Moving on to the business at hand: It has been yet another busy, dispiriting, ridiculous, racist, sexist, anti-semitic, and all around stupid year. Which is to say, a lot of material for us. And so….on to the fake awards:
The 2022 Architecture and Design Awards
Golden Anniversary Chalice: The Kimbell Museum, Gund Hall, and Pentagram all hit the big five-oh. Many happy returns.
The Golden Carbuncle Trophy: Charles III is now the literal king of the trads. Will he relocate to Poundbury?
Bye-Bye Birdie Badge: We would have preferred it if Elon Musk immolated his tunnel business, rather than our favorite place to post buildings we can’t stop thinking about. How will architects make friends without Twitter?
Bruno Taut Award: To Miles Bron, Glass Onion’s Musk-esque bro, who decided architecture should resemble an allium.
Gold-Plated Brass Goblet: SCI-Arc, architecture’s college without walls, also hit 50, but had the event overshadowed by a student labor scandal. There’s always the diamond anniversary to look forward to.
Humpty Dumpty Medal: The so-called Egg Church of Oklahoma City, an MCM icon, was demolished for no good reason. Splat.
Copenhagen Prize: Jody Rosen’s Two Wheels Good told the history of the world’s most popular form of rolling transit, the bicycle.
Socks for Christmas Award: Sasaki’s new Boston City Hall plaza has a terrific playground and excellent graphics (by Over/Under). The plaza itself? Underwhelming.
Golden Helmet Cup: Rockstar PE teacher Sam Balto’s viral videos of his Portland, OR Bike Bus got parents across the country thinking: why not here?
Pitchfork of Dishonor: Daniel Libeskind would graft one of his wonky glass extrusions onto Antwerp’s art deco Boerentoren (“Farmer’s Tower”), once Europe’s tallest skyscraper.
Alchemy Award: The new LaGuardia is….not terrible? Maybe even good? Could there be hope for Penn Station? Well….
Magellan Geography Award: BIG unveiled its plans for a Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, but the renderings put it in Austin. Whoops!
BIG DK Prize: While BIG itself made a digital booboo, this year artist Michael Heizer produced even larger, more resource intensive, more divatastic project, City, 50 years, $40 million dollars, 6 visitors a day.
Hands Clean Award: To D.I.R.T. Studio’s Julie Bargmann, winner of the inaugural Cornelia Oberlander Prize, prescient in her focus on contaminated landscapes and how they might be holistically reborn as public amenities.
Cognitive Dissonance Badge: Robert Downey Jr. builds a guest house at his Malibu mansion to….encourage sustainability?
Jony Ive Would Not Approve Booby Prize: Who decided our iPhones should have a super-chonky time stamp? You’re slipping, Apple.
Norman Foster Prize: To the renovation architects of 60 Wall Street and the Sainsbury Wing, determined to stamp out the textures, mirrors and quirks of Pomo lobbies with the monochromatic smoothness of the Apple Store.
Towering Ambition Award: A tie between the oversized, ill-considered presence of New York’s new LINK NYC wireless hubs and the oversized, ill-considered presence of Tom Wiscombe’s Sunset Spectacular.
The Metal Medal: Harry Bertoia’s wondrous sonic and stable creations ring true at a major retrospective at the Nasher Sculpture Center.
Rivers of Babylon Plaque: Michael Maltzan’s arched Sixth Street Viaduct in L.A., which was brought into this world with lowriders, donuts (the automotive kind), car crashes, regular closures, too many influencer photo shoots and at least one haircut in the center median.
Forever Young Prize: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, still disrupting architecture at 93, with a superlative supergraphic show EXITS EXIST at the Graham Foundation.
100 Years of Pulchritude Commendation: The beloved Schindler House, which hit the century mark with a show and an opera in its honor — and a capital campaign to make much needed repairs.
Tin Ear Prize: Lincoln Center’s Geffen (née Avery Fisher) Hall reopened after yet another major renovation to fix its acoustics. The critics are unanimous: Meh.
Albert Shanker Award: Bernheimer Architecture is the first American practice to unionize. Our best wishes to labor and management.
Make Prizes Relevant Again Prize: The Pritzkers honor Burkinabè architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, making him the first African and the first Black person to win the prize.
All That Glitters Award: Adam Nathaniel Furman and Joshua Mardell’s chunky Queer Spaces takes the form of an atlas but, as the iridescent letters on the cover suggest, refuses to follow the rules, assembling a canon of LGBTQ+ places that includes the Palladium, designed by Pritzker-winner Arata Isozaki, but also cruising grounds, informal archives, intense home design and pop-up parties.
YIMBY Seal of Approval: Perkins&Will’s Galbraith mixed-income housing brings high-design to affordable housing. More like this, please.
The Sliderule Award: MIT Museum reopens with spiffy new digs created by the all-star team of Weiss/Manfredi, Howeler & Yoon, Wendy Evans Joseph, and Michael Beirut.
Man of Steel Award: Ninety-four year old Robert Irwin’s Portal Slice is rotated and reinstalled in an expanded and remade Carpenter Park in Dallas.
Madonna Living in a Material World Prize: LTL’s exhibition at Princeton on “biogenic” (i.e., natural) materials was the most deliriously intricate installation of the year.
Whole Cloth Trophy: The UCLA Fowler Museum’s dazzling Aboriginal Screen-Printed Textile From Australia’s Top End presented a staggering array of textiles that channeled beauty and resilience.
Retail Therapy Award: Scandinavian Design and the United States at LACMA, brilliantly collects and contextualizes all the Marimekko, Dansk, LEGO and Aalto the heart could desire in a colorful exhibition designed by Bestor Architects.
Tombstone Prize: Marlon Blackwell’s excellent new monograph, Radical Practice, tips the scales at 7 pounds.
White Lotus Blossom of Reverie: Mike White’s Italian fantasy makes us all want to move into a Sicilian palace.
Button Pusher Prize: To the New York Times Real Estate section, which created the negative viral hit of the year with its magnum opus on “back kitchens.”
Oatmeal Cup: Do primary colors hurt your eyes (or your feelings)? Wish more toys came in mushroom, flax and mulberry? Dress your child like a 19th century farmworker? TikToker @sadbeige is the account for you.
The Maurizio Cattelan Golden Toilet Plunger: San Francisco’s $1.7 million public pooper.
More of the Same Award: To the Met Museum’s sumptuous retrospective on Bernd and Hilla Becher, highlighting repetitive, centered, squared up photographs long before Accidentally Wes Anderson.
Straight Talk Award: Jessie Singer’s There Are No Accidents shows how nomenclature (accident instead of crash) allows people, places and systems to evade responsibility and avoid change.
Architecture Without Architects Award: To betterstreetsai, showing cities what greener, safer streets look like with zero human intervention.
Castles Aren’t Just for Princesses Prize: To Machado Silvetti’s superlative renovation of the Denver Art Museum’s Gio Ponti Building, a glimmering fortress unappreciated for too long.
Piercing Pagoda Prize: To the Lloyd Center, one of America’s first shopping centers and cover star of Alexandra’s mall book, bringing the mall back with comic book stores and record stores. Totally retro, dudes.
Power to the People Award: To Muyiwa Oki, next president of RIBA, both its first Black leader and its youngest at 31. Oki has vowed to represent the “architectural worker” rather than the connected and entrenched.
Resuscitation Ribbons: A pair of San Diego renovations — the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego by Selldorf Architects and the Mingei International Museum by LUCE et studio — brought grace (and great terraces) to a pair of previously clunky buildings.
Strange Bedfellows Award: When brash, big-gesture Dutch firm Mecanoo was hired to revamp Mies van der Rohe’s sober-sided MLK Jr. Memorial Library in DC, it seemed like a match made in [confused emoji]. But the result — curves here, colors there, a sprawling rooftop deck — shows that contrast was the right choice.
Still Standing Award: Kyiv’s chimerical Gorodetsky House, from 1903, which has eluded Russian destruction — a symbol of Ukraine’s fierce resistance to Putin’s brutal invasion, which has left other cities in ruins.
World Cup: Not awarded. It’s impossible to care about stadium design when they are built with slave labor and too fragile to admit a rainbow armband.
Ozymandias Prize: Saudi Arabia begins construction on The Line.
Not Fully Baked Badge: Morphosis’s new Orange County Museum of Art, which opened to the public in October with a cracked window and pieces of the atrium rendered in foam core. PS: No thanks to its proposed complex for the University of Texas at Dallas.
Louis Kahn Medal: To Peter Barber, deserving winner of the 2022 Soane Medal, for his brick-forward, humanistic, warm designs for affordable housing. Now, if we could only build like this in the United States …
Gold Megaphone: Never count criticism out: new columnist gigs for Elizabeth Blasius and Anjulie Rao, and new publications like the New York Review of Architecture, pass the mic to the millennials.
Dieter Rams Prize: 2022 feels like the year people finally “got” embodied carbon: the greenest building is one that already exists. And if you must demo, recycle!
Kevin Lippert: The beloved founder of Princeton Architectural Press was an advocate for new thinking and new thinkers and a force for human decency in architecture and design.
Mike Davis: Irascible Marxist urbanist, who exposed Southern California’s social and political fractures in more than a dozen books, including the groundbreaking 1990 treatise City of Quartz.
Ed Feiner: If you’ve admired a courthouse, a federal building, or even a border crossing designed over the past 30 years you have Feiner to thank. As head of the General Services Administration he hauled U.S. government architecture to the cutting edge.
Christopher Alexander: While in his later years Alexander was taken up by the trads, his legacy should be beyond style — considering how buildings and cities might be molded by and for relationships, and how his dictum, “the city is not a tree,” has been interpreted by technologists as radically nonhierarchical.
Ricardo Bofill: In recent years, Bofill’s intricate, chromatic and community-driven housing projects turned up everywhere from Instagram to Monument Valley to “Squid Game.” But the Spanish architect’s flash had a utopian agenda, even if it didn’t always play out IRL.
Gyo Obata: The soft-spoken O in HOK helped invent the modern corporate architecture firm, and gave us the Galleria malls, DFW airport, and the resplendent wedding-cake Priory Chapel in St. Louis.
James Polshek: A gentleman who, unlike so many others in his starry generation, avoided the spotlight while producing consistently excellent work. But we still don’t know what Ennead means.
John Andrews: The larger-than-life Australian architect died just before the release of a new monograph on his work. His Intelsat headquarters in Washington DC is one of the great buildings nobody knows.
Marcus Fairs: The website Dezeen is a love-hate proposition — where many designers get their news, a venue for press release journalism, a seller of watches. Fairs, who died far too young, ran the site as a come-one, come-all proposition, cheekily mixing the critical and the flashy to create a winning platform.
Issey Miyake: Designer of *the* uniform for Lady Architects with his go-anywhere Pleats Please line, Miyake’s boutiques similarly showcased a dizzying variety of cutting edge architecture, materials and effects.
Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and author of The Man in the Glass House. You can find him @marklamster on Twitter and Instagram.
Alexandra Lange is a design critic and author of Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall. She can be found @langealexandra on all platforms.
Carolina A. Miranda is an art and design columnist at the Los Angeles Times. Find her on what’s left of Twitter @cmonstah or on Instagram at @cmonstah.