2009 Young Architects Forum:

The Architectural League’s Young Architects Forum is an annual competition and series of lectures and exhibitions organized by the Architectural League and its Young Architects Committee. The Forum was established to recognize specific works of high quality and to encourage the exchange of ideas among young people who might otherwise not have a forum.

Participants in the program are chosen through a portfolio competition that is juried by distinguished architects, artists and critics, and the Young Architects Committee. The committee, a group selected each year from past participants in the Young Architects Forum, is responsible for developing the program’s theme and selecting competition jurors. Open to designers ten years or less out of school, the competition draws entrants from around North America. The lecture series and exhibition by winners of the competition provide a lively public forum for the discussion of their work and ideas. Winners’ designs will also be illustrated in a catalogue to be published by Princeton Architectural Press.


Thursday, May 14, 2009
6:30 p.m.
Aziza Chaouni and Takako Tajima, Bureau E.A.S.T., Fez, Toronto and Los Angeles
Frida Escobedo Lopez, Mexico City
Ivan Juarez and Patricia Meneses, ex.studio, Mexico City and Barcelona

Thursday, May 21, 2009
6:30 p.m.
Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, Brooklyn
Phu Hoang, Phu Hoang Office, New York City
Sung Goo Yang, Ether Ship, Boston

All lectures will be held at the Urban Center, 457 Madison Avenue, New York City. AIA and New York State continuing education credits are available.

The Young Architects Forum exhibition will open to the public on the first evening of the lectures on May 14th at the Urban Center, 457 Madison Avenue, New York City, and will remain on display through July 17th EXTENDED through July 29th. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday (closed Thursdays) from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. Admission is free. The exhibition will also be open on the evenings of the lectures.

The competition theme, “Foresight,” created a basis for entrants to compose their portfolios and critically evaluate their work. This year’s committee posited that architecture is a profession of ideas—giving architects the means both to respond to problems and to project solutions. Entrants were asked to consider how architectural ideas might resonate beyond professional boundaries—particularly for younger practices who are more apt to consider cross-fertilizations from other disciplines and to incorporate new tactics and techniques into their work. Further, entrants were encouraged to address how to align the ambitions and capacities of architecture with the needs and desires of a diverse and changing world.

Paola Antonelli
Teddy Cruz
Nader Tehrani
Calvin Tsao

and the Young Architects Committee
Mark Gage
Ana Miljacki
Julio Salcedo


PHASINGAziza Chaouni and Takako Tajima are principals of Bureau E.A.S.T., with offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Fez, Morocco. The firm’s primary focus, exemplified in their ongoing “Out of Water” research, an investigation of where high-risk urban arid zones will be located in the next 50 years, is to sustainably integrate design into the environment. Their Fez river rehabilitation project won the 2008 Holcim Gold Award in Sustainable Construction and the 2009 EDRA best places award. Chaouni is also the director of the research board of DOCO.MO.MO Morocco, and winner of the Progressive Architecture research award in 2007 for her research project, “Hybrid Urban Sutures: Filling the Gaps” in the Medina of Fez.

Chaouni received her B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Columbia University and her M.Arch. from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is currently an assistant professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. Tajima received her B.Arch. from Carnegie Mellon University and an MLA and an MUP from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


ya-escobedo-casa24Frida Escobedo Lopez founded her Mexico City firm in 2006, after acting as co-director at perro rojo from 2003-2006. She describes the work of the office as focusing on “the residual and the forgotten: from decadent suburbs that are being subdivided, to rundown tourist spots, to unused roofs and basements” focusing on identifying “forces that change the configuration of cities…central and powerful or marginal, formal or informal.” Her built and current work includes Casa 24, Casa 662, Casa Negra, and Villa 49, part of the ORDOS 100 project. Her renovation (with Jose Rojas) of the Bocachica Hotel in Acapulco is currently under construction. In 2006 the firm received first place in an affordable housing competition, and in 2005 a Young Creator’s Grant from the National System of Arts, Mexico for the Caja Gris.

Escobedo received her B.Arch. from the Universidad Iberoamericana, where she currently is a faculty member.

ya-exstudio-dreamex.studio, with offices in Barcelona and Mexico City, was founded by principals Ivan Juarez and Patricia Meneses. Their firm has developed projects at different scales, from buildings and objects to city and landscape interventions. With work in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Mexico, ex.studio conceives each project in relation to its physical context, and its potential to be enriched by diverse views and disciplines. Their work has garnered awards including: an AR award for emerging architects, the Young Architects Prize given by the College of Architects of Barcelona, and the National Grant for Mexican Young Architects, granted by the National Fund for Culture and Arts.

Juarez graduated from the Architectural School, San Luis Potosi University, Mexico and specialized in Landscape Architecture at the School of Architecture of Barcelona, where Meneses received her architecture degree. They have been guest lecturers and professors at several institutions including the University of Westminster, UK; the University Alcalá, Madrid; the College of Architects in Barcelona; and the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico.


ya-fake-SuperphosphatesCristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau are principals (with collaborators Ariel Boles, Cornelia Herlz, and Cristian Zanoni) of Brooklyn-based Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, “a conglomerate that explores the potentials of architectural agonism and false constructions.” Their work, both speculative and built, examines alternative forms of domesticity and the urban landscape. Their individual and joint work and writings have been published internationally. In 2008 they were winners of Europan 9. Among their projects are a campaign for free New York City apartments; a “House for Cesar,” which is a renovation of an office for a client evicted from his home; “The Illegal Hotel,” examining the role of unpaid architecture office interns; and “Golf! Urbanism Manifesto.”


Goberna graduated from the School of Architecture of Sevilla, where she co-founded the multidisciplinary group La Casita. Grau graduated from the School of Architecture of Barcelona Both Goberna and Grau received M.S. degrees in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.

Aerial options06Phu Hoang founded his New York City firm Phu Hoang Office in 2004. Current research projects, including “Enclaves and Floods,” situated on the border between India and Bangladesh and “Foodopolis,” an Urban Food Network in New York City, are expressive of his interest in using “current political conflicts and ecological disasters as a way to formulate architectural questions…relating to the possibility of designing for radical change.” Other projects include a prototype for a responsive building envelope made of water, and a 4,500 square foot loft in Manhattan. The firm’s design for “Every Man’s Land” in the Yucatan Peninsula received an honorable mention in the 2007 Sudaplan competition, and their “No Man’s Land” design for a tourist resort city in the Dead Sea was short listed in the 2007 Environmental Tectonics competition.

Hoang received a B.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a M.Arch. from Columbia University. He is currently teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, and previously taught at Columbia University.

ya-yang-voguehouseSung Goo Yang established his Boston-based firm Ether Ship in 2008. His work spans scales from urban design to fashion runways and abstract digital animations and designs—all expressing his interest in the interplay between image and form. Recent work includes his prize-winning competition for the Gwangbook Street Renovation in Busan City, Korea; “Vogue Fashion House” and a fashion show runway for Wooyoungmi, both commissioned by Vogue Korea; the “Seoul Change Project,” commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar; and competition entries for a gallery in Porto and the Incheon Changla Tower.

Yang studied architectural engineering at Korea University, where he was a founding member of “A-GENE-DA” Design Group, and received his M.Arch. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He was recently a guest critic and lecturer at Seoul National University.


The Architectural League will produce podcast excerpts from each of the participant’s lectures in this year’s Young Architects Forum. Podcast interviews from previous year’s Young Architects, along with podcasts of many other League programs, are available on the podcast page of the League’s website, or on the League’s page on iTunes. All podcasts are free.


The Young Architects Forum is made possible with support from Dornbracht, LEF Foundation, Susan Grant Lewin Associates, and Tischler und Sohn. Architectural League programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


Images courtesy of the architects.