2022 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers | Grounding


Sponsor: Architectural League, New York
Type: Open, Portfolio
Language: English
Fee: $35
13 February 2022 – Portfolios submission deadline

Young architects and designers are invited to submit work to the annual Architectural League Prize Competition. Projects of all types, either theoretical or real, and executed in any medium, are welcome. The jury will select work for presentation in lectures, digital media, and an exhibition in June 2022. These events will be either in-person, online, or hybrid, depending on local and national health guidelines this spring. Winners will receive a cash prize of $2,000. 

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 Architectural League and its Young Architects + Designers Committee. Learn more about past winners of The Architectural League Prize
The competition is open only to current, full-time residents (who need not be citizens) of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Entrants must be ten years or less out of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Current students are ineligible. Entrants may submit individually or as a group. If the individual(s) is/are the sole principal(s) of a firm, the winning firm name will be listed as well. Entrants must submit work done independently; no work done as an employee of a firm, where the entrant is not a principal or partner, is eligible for submission. No student work completed for any academic program or degree is eligible for submission. Educators may not include work done in their studios or for their teaching. Past League Prize winners are ineligible. If only one partner of a firm is eligible, he, she, or they can enter as a single entrant. He, she, or they must include a signed document from all other partners describing the collaborative nature of the work and the firm will not be listed as a recipient of the Prize. Collaborative work will be considered within the context of an individual’s complete portfolio.


All entries must be submitted through the League’s digital competition portal.

Chris T. Cornelius
Carla Juaçaba
Lola Sheppard
Mabel O. Wilson

Luis Beltrán del Río García
Tei Carpenter
Gabriel Cuéllar


Searching for grounding is a sticky, precarious, and stubborn pursuit of our time. In an unpredictable and hybrid world, more focus is needed on how architecture can respond to this condition and how young architects can situate themselves within it.

Through grounding, designers come to terms with complex material realities, sociocultural contingencies, and more fundamental ways of being. Although grounding suggests locality, contemporary environments are invariably embedded in global systems that complicate architecture’s relationship with place. Grounding thus means, on one hand, making vital connections to what is already there—materially, socially, and otherwise—and, on the other, contending with placeless, pervasive processes. Navigating the remote and embodied, the nonlocal and local, architecture requires methods of retooling, reappropriation, and transformation to find its grounding. 

Engaging with what precedes and underlies, grounding is also about establishing productive contexts for action and bringing design into new orbits of collaboration. Such messy interdependencies pull architecture toward the ground, urging designers to consider contingencies as resources for practice.

This year’s Architectural League Prize reflects on the substance of design’s foundations. How do young architects tether their work and practices to the grounds upon which they design? How can designers respond to both the particularities of location and the ubiquity of global forces? What are intentional approaches to and forms of grounding?

A single digital portfolio, which may include several projects, in PDF format, no larger than 35MB and no larger than 11×14”. It may not contain more than 15 spreads (or 30 pages) in total, excluding the cover page. Please note that the jury will review all portfolios digitally, not in print.

The competition theme is given as a basis for young architects and designers to reflect upon and reevaluate their work. A written statement not to exceed 250 words is required, which defines and considers the work under the rubric of the competition theme. Significant weight is given to how an applicant’s work addresses the theme. The written statement must be on the first page of the portfolio. Additional texts, such as project descriptions and image captions, are permitted.

Competition website: