Separate, together

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.

mcdowellespinosa won a 2015 award.

Seth McDowell and Rychiee Espinosa explore ideas of transformation in architectural practice, often seeking to convert materials with a negative connotation or condition into something to be appreciated. Working from two different locations — Scottsville, VA and Brooklyn, NY — mcdowellespinosa takes advantage of the two designers’ “opposing, complementary viewpoints” in their translation of idea to built form.

For their Authenticity installation, the two investigated and reimagined different operations and materials from past projects. Espinosa and McDowell each built three models — composed of wax and water, chewing gum and spearmint leaves, and wood — that were then paired together. “This would be the Miles Davis version of the clip model and this would be the Philip Glass version of the clip model,” Espinosa joked. Collectively, they demonstrate how the “individual fingerprints” of a designer arise even when both work with the same materials and rules.