Announcing the winners of our 2023 Best of Practice Awards

Best of Practice

Announcing the winners of our 2023 Best of Practice Awards

Pittsfield Housing by Utile (Randy Crandon)

The Architect’s Newspaper acknowledges the work of national leaders in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry through our awards programs. Whether through the realization of captivating projects (recognized through our Best of Design Awards) or the creation of unique items (realized through our Best of Products Awards), AN supports the AEC industry as a trusted source for news, reviews, products, developments, trends, and updates.

But beyond individual projects or products, how do you recognize excellence in the overall operation of a company? How to go beyond design merit to document a supportive workplace or community participation or legitimately sustainable impacts? Such a commendation is a hard challenge, but this was the ambitious goal for AN’s third iteration of its Best of Practice Awards. The program uplifts firms of all sizes working in all regions, so the set of winners offers a snapshot of what practice looks like in 2023.

AN’s jury of practitioners and educators from across the country thoroughly inspected this year’s applications to assess which offices should be recognized. The group’s conversation underscored the difficulty of this type of assessment and the urgency for holistic considerations about how design work is organized. Praise from their adjudication appears below in support of the winners. Scroll down to see these selections, in addition to the worthy honorable mentions.

The Best of Practice Awards Jury:




Architect (XL Firm) – Northeast

St. Ann’s Warehouse (Courtesy MARVEL)

Jonathan Marvel and his practice have a long history in New York City. I respect the practice because they work at multiple scales and across multiple project types. They do cultural and civic work, public work, and fine affordable housing. The design quality combined with the variety of civic-minded work for people who benefit from having better architecture around them were the strongest ideas that led me to select the practice.”Andrew Bernheimer
Honorable Mention

Architect (XL Firm) – Midwest

Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (Timothy Hursley)

Studio Gang
Studio Gang models a lot of very positive things, including the types of projects it engages with. The office has been carving a space for environmental stewardship and leadership in architecture and design, and that’s a compelling goal to develop through design practice.”Paola Aguirre

Architect (XL Firm) – Southwest

Pearl Brewery District (Lara Swimmer)

Lake | Flato Architects
Their work is compelling. The office, which has long been known for residential projects, is good at translating high-end solutions for architecture and thinking of them for public work. The office has a commitment to sustainability, which means that its environmental leadership is applied to design.”Paola Aguirre

Architect (XL Firm) – West

Intuit Marine Way Building by WRNS Studio (Jeremy Bittermann)

WRNS Studio
“I’m drawn to WRNS Studio because of the variety of the portfolio. The office expresses its values. Like this idea of open-source architecture: Who talks about that? Architecture is so protective of knowledge, so the fact that they’re addressing this is interesting; it might be an instigation for something else.”Paola Aguirre
Honorable Mention

Architect (Large Firm) – Northeast

Boston Public Library Roxbury by Utile (Anton Grassl)

“Architects tend to take themselves for policymakers, but we’re more like pieces of the policy puzzle. Utile’s work showcases an understanding of how architects, designers, and planners can influence policy.”Andrew Bernheimer
Honorable Mention

Architect (Large Firm) – Midwest

Ford Calumet Environmental Center by Valerio Dewalt Train (Tom Harris)

Valerio Dewalt Train
“Working for a range of clients, Valerio Dewalt Train infuses its work with a sense of restrained exploration. From its four offices, the firm begins with research to generate designs that succeed for its clients even under tight circumstances”Jack Murphy

Architect (Large Firm) – Southwest

Louisiana State History Museum (Courtesy EskewDumezRippkle)

“EskewDumezRipple is a well-established office that reinvented itself after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Charged with a responsibility to serve the general public, the practice works toward equitable futures. The material results of these good intentions are handsome, well-done buildings.”Jack Murphy

Architect (Large Firm) – West

The Exploratorium (Courtesy EHDD)

EHDD Architecture
“EHDD Architecture is compelling in part because of the firm’s longevity and strength of the work. They’ve weathered a lot of ups and downs and changes over the years and have maintained consistent project outcomes.”Robert Hale

Architect (Large Firm) – Canada

Churchill Meadows Community Centre by MJMA (Scott Norsworthy)

“MJMA focuses on community and campus leisure and recreational buildings and invigorates them with a sense of civic pride. The buildings are straightforward and are animated by their active use. I also appreciate MJMA’s interdisciplinary approach.”Jack Murphy

Architect (Medium Firm) – Northeast

Community Rowing Boathouse by AW-ARCH (Pygmalion Karatzas)

“AW-ARCH’s work is highly creative across many scales. The practice started out doing small-scale work, and as firms get bigger and do larger work, it’s sometimes hard to sustain that kind of attention to detail. AW-ARCH certainly has.”Tom S. Chung

Architect (Medium Firm) – Southeast

Mississippi Library Commission (Courtesy Duvall Decker)

Duvall Decker
“I appreciate a strong firm in Mississippi, as it’s not an easy place to do public architecture. The attention to the way that these public projects are rendered—and the commitment to being in Mississippi—is important. Sometimes there’s a way of showing under-resourced communities that feels a bit predatory, but I never felt that way from these images. It really feels like a celebration of these spaces.”Jess Myers

Architect (Medium Firm) – Midwest

Sue Walk Burnett Journalism & Student Media Center (Courtesy Dake Wells Architecture)

Dake Wells
“Dake Wells’s work is exceptional. Seeing this type of work would be great anywhere, but to witness it in the area around Springfield, Missouri—where it can be difficult to realize good work and there are few peers that push each other—is unique.”Tom S. Chung
Honorable Mention

Architect (Medium Firm) – West

Flor Lofts by Koning Eizenberg (Eric Staudenmaier Photography)

Koning Eizenberg Architecture
“Koning Eizenberg Architecture has been in practice for over 40 years and have grown their firm in a really consistent way. They use architecture as a way of bringing community together, and that has been consistent throughout their whole practice. Plus, the work is beautiful.”Robert Hale
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Northeast

Columbia School of Journalism Lecture Hall by LTL Architects (Michael Moran)

LTL Architects
“I admire their work and how they span both academia and practice. As their practice grows bigger, and bigger, the quality of the work and investigations that they’re doing are, again, admirable. Even with a small size, it’s good to see them winning big projects and being rigorous and investigative.”Tom S. Chung
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Southeast

In situ (Keith Isaacs)

In situ studio
“In situ studio’s built work is attractive, but I was excited to learn about the firm’s mentorship program, educational efforts, and programming which brings dialogue about architecture to Raleigh, North Carolina.”Jack Murphy

Architect (Small Firm) – Midwest

One Care Offices by M1DTW Architects (Jeffrey Kilmer)

M1DTW Architects
“The office has an attitude that appears to value engagement with the realities of practice, from proper payment of workers to client satisfaction. It helps that their work backs up the idea, as it transforms what could be mundane locales into considered sites for Midwestern life.”Jack Murphy

Architect (Small Firm) – Southwest

Otaeciah (Crane) by studio:indigenous (Tom Harris Photography)

“Discussion of Indigenous issues has been foregrounded recently. A lot of projects I’ve worked on in the Northeast, like universities and civic projects, are going back and looking at land ownership. This firm’s work feels very present. It’s admirable to start a practice with an ethical point of view.”Mikyoung Kim
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – West

Bellevue First Congregational Church (Courtesy atelierjones)

“Susan Jones’s leadership surrounding mass timber in Seattle is remarkable. Her work to introduce the technology into the ICC building code set the stage for the growing popularity of this structural system today. This is a major accomplishment!”Jack Murphy
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Canada

Together Apart by Davidson Rafailidis (Florian Holzherr)

Davidson Rafailidis
“The office focuses on “adaptive reuse” but advances the term in creative ways, setting the stage for conversations in built form that take place in time; buildings that are financially accessible and have an “everydayness” to them; and shared notions of authorship.”Jack Murphy

Landscape Architect – Northeast

Clark Art Institute by Reed Hilderbrand (Missy Harvey)

Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects
“Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects has built a body of work that is impressive and diverse. They do work outside the region, but they have a real heritage in New England. They work at different scales, and their work has a real beauty to it.”Mikyoung Kim

Landscape Architect – Southwest

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center (Courtesy Design Workshop)

Design Workshop
“Houston is a tricky landscape as it is so prone to flooding, and often public spaces are flanked by commercial interests. It’s nice to see how Design Workshop realized an expansive space here.”Jess Myers

Landscape Architect – West

NVIDIA Campus (Courtesy Hood Design Studio)

Hood Design Studio
“Walter Hood has had an ethos to his practice from the very beginning. From the beginning he was on the ground doing work in Oakland, California, and he’s continued to do that as his work of leading a cultural practice has expanded.”Mikyoung Kim
Honorable Mention

Lighting Designer – Northeast

(Courtesy L’Observatoire International)

L'Observatoire International
“You see L’Observatoire International’s work all the time without realizing it. The office, led by Hervé Descottes, joins leading architects around the world to support high-profile design efforts. The impressive results speak for themselves.”Jack Murphy

Lighting Designer – West

Fanny’s, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures by Sean O’Connor Lighting (Yoshihiro Makino)

Sean O’Connor Lighting
“Vibe is everything. For over 25 years, Sean O’Connor Lighting’s work has illuminated (or darkened) memorable environments around the world. The office is diverse in its staff and expertise and is a leader in the lighting community”Jack Murphy
Honorable Mention

Structural Engineer – Northeast

ARO by DeSimone Consulting Engineering (Courtesy ARO)

DeSimone Consulting Engineering
“DeSimone’s work shines in Eagle + West because the structure isn’t hidden there. It takes a good structural engineer to make that upside-down pyramid structure work. I like to recognize structure engineers who have a strong design sensibility to be expressive in a way that’s congruent with the architectural concept, and I think this office is a successful example.”Tom S. Chung

Facade Consultant – Southwest

rendering of populus in denver
Populus Hotel (Courtesy Studio NYL)

Studio NYL
“Studio NYL has provided their expertise to many recognizable projects, including Studio Gang’s Populus hotel in Denver and NADAAA’s Site 4 tower for MIT. It works with sustainability in mind but not at the expense of design excellence.”Jack Murphy