Leah Wulfman | FREE DIRT, Better When Messy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2022. Image credit: Leah Wulfman

Established in 1981, the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers is a juried portfolio competition for early-career practitioners in North America, organized around a yearly theme.

Leah Wulfman won a 2024 award.

Traversing physical and digital realms, Leah Wulfman’s practice develops non-normative uses and misuses of spatial technologies. Currently located in Salt Lake City, Wulfman adapts the systems and logic of architecture and game forms for purposes of embodied physicality, play and performance. Wulfman’s installations integrate digital tools such as AI and video game engines with material counterparts of dirt, weeds, trash, plastic and foam. According to Wulfman, their work elucidates mixed reality as “not simply THE NEXT BIG THING but a method of working that undercuts binary assumptions of gender and physicality, as well as technology.”

Recent projects include:

  • My Mid Journey Trash Pile, an installation representing 1,200 buildings made of digital garbage generated using Midjourney text-to-image AI software, as well as six hand-painted images
  • FREE DIRT, an installation incorporating both virtual reality and physical dirt and plants species to create an interactive online game and garden
  • Discordant Whole, with Adam Miller, a deconstructed inflatable bounce house to serve as furniture for exhibitions and events at Taubman College’s Liberty Research Annex

Leah Wulfman holds a bachelor’s of architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and a master of arts in fiction and entertainment from SCI-Arc. They were a 2021-2023 Walter B. Sanders Fellow at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. 

Wulfman has taught at numerous institutions in the United States, including ArtCenter’s Media Design Practices Graduate Program, The School of Architecture at Taliesin, and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where they developed youth programming and mixed reality coursework. They are currently a visiting assistant professor at University of Utah’s College of Architecture and Planning and visiting assistant professor in the Division of Multi-Disciplinary Design (MDD).

Wulfman has participated in digital and physical exhibitions globally, including Nómade Digital: Arquitectura y Metaverse at the 2022 Buenos Aires International Biennial of Architecture and FiDi Arsenale at the Mery Gates & Hot Air Gallery in New York.