Young Architects Forum 2009: Foresight


Featuring work by Aziza Chaouni and Takako Tajima; Frida Escobedo Lopez; Ivan Juarez and Patricia Meneses; Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau; Phu Hoang; and Sung Goo Yang

May 14-July 29, 2009
The Urban Center
457 Madison Avenue
New York City

Foresight is the twenty-eighth annual exhibition of work by winners of the Architectural League’s Young Architects Competition. The portfolio competition is open to architects and designers who are ten years or less out of undergraduate or graduate school. In addition to creating a site-specific installation of their work, winners present lectures for the League’s Young Architects Forum, are the subject of video podcasts, and subsequently edit their work and text for an annual catalogue.

The theme for the competition, developed by the Young Architects Committee, changes every year to reflect current issues in architectural design and theory. The committee, a group selected each year from past participants in the Young Architects Forum, also asks prominent members of the design community to serve with them on the jury. In addition to committee members Mark Gage, Ana Miljacki, and Julia Salcedo, jurors for 2009 were Paola Antonelli, Teddy Cruz, Nader Tehrani, and Calvin Tsao.

This year’s theme defined foresight as an ability that “relies on the surveying, researching, and engaging [of] the present towards particular, desired outcomes in the future.” Given today’s economic, socio-political, and climatic flux, entrants were asked to show work that relies on foresight to imagine an effective role for architecture now and in the future.

The ‘call for entries’ posed a series of challenges: What problems can architecture solve? What problems can it not? Is architecture a vehicle to be used to address our most pressing problems and challenges? Or is it something else? Architects have the ability to concretize information—translating into physical form what might otherwise seem abstract. Whether through theoretical speculations, or pragmatic designs, the winning work demonstrates new ways to illuminate questions and envision solutions. Some of the projects provide commentaries on contemporary socio-economic problems, others take on design solutions for environmental challenges, while others create structures to respond sensitively to particular places. All of the work employs architects’ analytic and design tools to respond to the present with an eye to the future.

Above: Exhibition installation. Photo: David Sundberg/Esto.