League Prize 1996: Form

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.

This year’s League Prize asked entrants to consider if form is inevitable in architecture. Whether in theory or in process, form has typically been understood as something implicit, even irreducible, in architecture. Can architecture today ask questions about form itself, rather than merely taking it for granted by challenging one formal strategy in the name of another?

For some, architecture and its transformations have been tools for change and imagining progress; others shape their work in response to developments in neighboring fields; still others see in form the possibility of continuity and principles that anchor us through time. Form has multiple sources: program, site, history, budget, chance, logic, intuition, desire, criticism, convention, availability, invention, and delight. What is form in architecture, that it could seem to have such diverse genealogies?

Winners included:

  • Marwan Al-Sayed & Janet Fink
  • Kadambari Baxi & Reinhold Martin
  • Stephen Cassell, Thomas Jenkinson & Adam Yarinsky of Architecture Research Office
  • Mehrdad Hadighi
  • Erik Hemingway
  • Rick Joy

The theme was developed by the 1996 Young Architects + Designers Committee, which comprised past League Prize winners Scott de Vere, Laura Kurgan, and John Nastasi.

The jury included Walter Chatham, Peggy Deamer, Silvia Kolbowski, and Tod Williams.

More from past League Prize winners

The generic original

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