The generic original

February 26, 2018

The League Prize, an annual competition that asks young designers to respond to a given theme, has marked an important milestone in many architects’ careers since it was established in 1981. Winners showcase their work through a lecture series and exhibition.

Endemic won a 2015 award.

Founder Clark Thenhaus tests form-making strategies by combining or recontextualizing standard geometries to produce unfamiliar or original forms. His practice has lately focused on spheres, cones, and cylinders as part of a “broad survey of contemporary formalism.”

His Authenticity installation uses the form of the dome to investigate features of the pastoral landscape, particularly abandoned Cold War-era missile silos. Thenhaus’s four dome models, each executed in a different material and sitting atop a different “hill,” play with the surrealism of “reconciling political histories in landscape” by siting each in one of four possible “middles” of America. Disentangling these forms from their defense connotations repositions them as architectural problems and engages questions about “tropes of representation.”