League Prize 2000: Second Nature

Established in 1981 to recognize visionary work by young practitioners, The Architectural League Prize is an annual competition, lecture series, and exhibition led by the League and its Young Architects + Designers Committee.

Architecture, like many other arts, was once understood as mimetic of a transcendent order manifest in nature. By looking to nature as an ideal, rules could be established towards defining disciplinary rigor, criteria for beauty, and essential qualities in form. Today, very little in nature remains intact, removing it from its position as a source of metaphysical truths. Much of what one works with or comes in touch with is already some form of altered, second nature—from cultivated landscapes and processed and prefabricated materials to simulated and artificial environments.

This year’s competition asked how one defines and responds to nature in its altered state. What are the ramifications of the shift away from nature as an untouched ideal? Does nature in its modified form evoke an alternate set of rules and strategies for good design? At what levels and scales can an idea of nature be constructed and maintained in a world where so much is being programmed, retooled, and restructured? How does operating with a second nature affect your work?

Winners included:

  • Minsuk Cho & James Slade of Cho Slade Architecture
  • Julia Czerniak
  • Jeremy Edmiston
  • Douglas Gauthier of SYSTEMarchitects
  • Anuradha Mathur & Dilip da Cunha
  • Rhett Russo
  • Terry Surjan

The theme was developed by the 2000 Young Architects + Designers Committee, which comprised past League Prize winners Vrinda Khanna, Edward Mitchell, and Shih-Fu Peng.

The competition jurors included Keller Easterling, Julie Eizenberg, Frank Lupo, and William MacDonald.

More from past League Prize winners

SOFTlab lecture

SOFTlab's Michael Svizos discusses his work as part of the 2012 League Prize presentations.

Interview: MMX

Emmanuel Ramirez and Diego Ricalde discuss the work of their studio and their installation for the League Prize 2012 exhibition.