League Prize 2015: Authenticity

League Prize 2015

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 2015 competition challenged entrants to cultivate new positions of authenticity within architecture. Historically, authenticity was contingent on the value of originality, intimating the significance of an origin. Before advancements in technical reproduction challenged this stability, an original was easy to distinguish. Today, this is no longer a stable dichotomy.

The theme was developed by this year’s Young Architects + Designers Committee, which comprised past League Prize winners Carrie Norman, John Rhett Russo, and Jenny Sabin.

The jury included Norman, Russo, and Sabin, in addition to Keller Easterling, Sanford Kwinter, Michael Meredith, Lyn Rice, and Billie Tsien.

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

Winner profiles

Landing Studio

Landing Studio focuses on “developing design tactics for positively integrating active global industries and infrastructures into their local contexts.”

Besler & Sons

Besler describes her work as “referencing and reusing things that are already in circulation,” which she then seeks to “refit into a slightly different framework.”


mcdowellespinosa is concerned with the “transformation of waste, excess, and the ordinary into new spatial and material realities."

Thom Moran

Thom Moran’s work focuses on “using humor to investigate the relationships between architecture, environments and objects.”

First Office

First Office covers a variety of scales, from furniture design to building headquarters, landscape interventions, and conceptual installations.


Endemic engages the term’s definition “concerning context, language, and material sensibilities...by making contact with fundamental, cross-cultural conversations."

Interview videos

Repositioning references

Erin Besler, founder of Besler & Sons, considers the relationship between architecture and building.

February 26, 2018

The architectural uncanny

Thom Moran uses strangeness and humor to critique architectural practice and investigate underexplored ideas.

February 26, 2018

Separate, together

Working from two different locations, the founders of mcdowellespinosa take advantage of their “opposing, complementary viewpoints.”

February 26, 2018

The generic original

Clark Thenhaus tests form-making strategies by combining and recontextualizing standard geometries to produce unfamiliar forms.

February 26, 2018

Events and exhibition listings


The Architectural League Prize is made possible by Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown and Tischler und Sohn. League programs are made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support is also provided by the Next Generation Fund, an alumni fund of The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices and Architectural League Prize programs.

More from past League Prize winners

SPORTS lecture

League Prize winners Greg Corso and Molly Hunker discuss their design philosophy and approach.