League Prize 2003: Inhabiting Identity

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.

The introduction of new communication devices and faster modes of transportation alters our perception and interaction with space on every scale. Our more flexible and fluid world compels us to inhabit many different identities simultaneously. The rapid dissolution of traditional boundaries of place and definitions of human scale raises many questions about both inhabitation and identity. This process results in a constant battle between the generic and the specific, between the habitual and the indeterminate.

The 2003 League Prize asked entrants to consider the following: Must architecture must be corporeal? Has our cultural fixation on technology grown disproportionately to our needs? Has technology altered our sense of place?

Throughout history, architects have been challenged with creating habitable places beyond basic shelter. As numerous disciplines debate issues of habitation, our role as architects has become more ambiguous. Must we inhabit architecture in order to identify ourselves, or do new notions of identity render architecture inconsequential? Inhabiting identity challenges the notion of habitation as fixed and defined, and seeks to engage its dynamic, transformative and mutable qualities. How does a designer’s work reflect or identify these varied roles and scales of habitation?

The winners included:

  • Stella Betts of Leven Betts Studio
  • Ben Checkwitch
  • Lisa Hsieh
  • Stephanie Forsythe & Todd MacAllen of Forsythe + MacAllen Design Associates 
  • Mike Latham of Arts Corporation
  • Steven Mankouche

The Inhabiting Identity theme was developed by the 2003 Young Architects + Designers Committee, which comprised past League Prize winners Andrew Bernheimer, Petra Kempf, and J. Meejin Yoon.

The competition jury included Bernheimer, Kempf, and Yoon, in addition to Shigeru Ban, Michael Hays, Wendy Evans Joseph, and Marion Weiss.

The competition is organized by The Architectural League’s program director, Anne Rieselbach.

More from past League Prize winners