League Prize winner

Germane David Barnes of Studio Barnes

Studio Barnes | Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2020. With the assistance of Jennifer Lamy, Clarissa Hellebrand, and Andrea Martinez. Credit: Steven Brooke

The League Prize is an annual competition that has been organized by The Architectural League since 1981. Open to designers ten years or less out of school, it draws entrants from around North America.

Germane David Barnes of Studio Barnes won a 2021 award.

Germane David Barnes directs Studio Barnes, a Miami-based practice founded in 2016. According to his League Prize competition entry, the studio “explores the many rituals and narratives associated with Blackness in America,” examining “underrepresented contributions and legacies while creating new architectural possibilities that emerge within investigations of Black domesticity.” 

Recent projects include:

  • A Spectrum of Blackness, an installation designed for MoMA exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America that reimagines vital elements of Black domestic spaces, such as the kitchen spice rack and the social rituals of the front porch.
  • Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown, an installation of chairs fabricated with materials intended to mimic those used to construct shotgun houses in South Florida. The crowns of the back support “are inspired by the crowns donned by Black people across the diaspora… From Sunday Service hats to… the legendary afro-pick,” Barnes wrote in his competition portfolio.
  • Delray Beach Pop-Up Porch, a converted shipping container whose motor-operated panels open to provide shared community space. The project references the significant historic and contemporary role the front porch plays in African American culture.

Barnes holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MArch from Woodbury University. He is an assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture, where he is also director of the Community Housing & Identity Lab

Barnes’s work is included in the MoMA exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. He is the 2021 winner of the Wheelwright Prize and will be a 2021–22 Rome Prize Fellow at The American Academy in Rome. 

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