League Prize Winner Bio


The League Prize, an annual competition that asks young designers to respond to a given theme, has marked an important milestone in many architects’ careers. Winners showcase their work through a lecture series and exhibition.

Seth McDowell & Rychiee Espinosa were winners of the 2015 competition.

Seth McDowell and Rychiee Espinosa founded Scottsville, Virginia and Brooklyn, New York-based mcdowellespinosa in 2010. Their practice, concerned with the “transformation of waste, excess, and the ordinary into new spatial and material realities,” emerged from their project Water Fuel: The Plan for a Self-Sustaining New York, which earned first place in the Self-Sufficient City competition held by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. These investigations are explored at diverse scales and formats from the city to the object, from architecture to product design.

Ongoing projects include Power House in the Sea and Ad Hoc Architecture, a design/build project exploring improvisational construction methods in the rural South. Past projects include Turnstile, a proposal for the 2015 Folly competition organized by The Architectural League and Socrates Sculpture Park; City of Blubber; Drift City: A Continental Transient Infrastructure; and the proposal for My Hair is at MoMA PS1, a finalist in the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program in 2012.

mcdowellespinosa’s work has been exhibited at Beyond the Urban Edge: ‘The Ideal City’ curated by Colin Fournier at the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture–Hong Kong in 2014. McDowell was awarded an AIA Certificate of Merit while at Columbia University GSAPP in 2009, and Espinosa was awarded a New York Society of Architects’ Matthew del Gaudio Award for Excellence in Total Design while at Columbia University GSAPP in 2009.

Seth McDowell earned a B.S. in design from Clemson University and an M.Arch from Columbia GSAPP.

Rychiee Espinosa earned a B.S. in Biology from Indiana University, a B.S. in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University, and an M.Arch from Columbia GSAPP. McDowell is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.