League Prize 2015: Authenticity

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


The 2015 League Prize competition theme, Authenticity, challenged entrants to cultivate new positions of authenticity within architecture. The theme was developed by the 2015 Young Architects + Designers Committee, comprised of past League Prize winners including Carrie NormanJohn Rhett Russo, and Jenny Sabin.

Jury and selection process

The 2015 jury included the members of the 2015 Young Architects + Designers Committee in addition to Keller EasterlingSanford KwinterMichael MeredithLyn Rice, and Billie Tsien. The League Prize is organized by Programs 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

Understanding architectural tools

First Office explores new ways of thinking about architectural production and tools while being “honest or forthright about ... our sources and references.”

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.