Introducing AN’s 2023 Best of Design Awards Jury

Meet and Greet

Introducing AN’s 2023 Best of Design Awards Jury

Clockwise from top left: Meryati Johari Blackwell, Chris Cooper, Michelle Arevalos Franco, Michael Hsu, Maria Nicanor, and E.B. Min. (Courtesy the jurors)

For 11 years The Architect’s Newspaper has celebrated outstanding built and unbuilt architectural projects through our annual Best of Design Awards. This year, as in previous, the program recognizes work across a range of categories, including adaptive reuse, student work, retail, residential, hospitality, sports and entertainment, landscape, and more. In a divergence from previous years, 2023’s program is open to any architecture or design firm based in North America, as well any international studios with projects located in North America.

As the quality of submissions increases every year, we invited a discerning group of jurors to carefully analyze applications. This year’s panel includes principal architects, design leaders, and other prominent professionals who will each bring their well-regarded experience and perspective to ascertain winners for different categories. Before the discounted early bird registration ends on September 1 and submissions close on October 6, we’d like to introduce 2023’s Best of Design Awards jury.

A black and white image of Meryati Blackwell
(Mark Jackson)

Meryati Johari Blackwell | Principal + Interior Design Director | Marlon Blackwell Architects

Meryati Johari Blackwell is the principal of Marlon Blackwell Architects (MBA), as well as the firm’s interior design director. Established in 1990, MBA has designed numerous award-winning projects that are attuned to the needs of the environment. With Blackwell as a guiding force, the firm has gone on to win the 2023 AIA National Award for their Marygrove Early Education Center, AN’s own 2023 Best of Practice Awards, and the AIA Gold Medal in 2020. Blackwell’s unique expertise in both interior design and architecture lends a pivotal role in shaping the success of MBA.

A black and white image of a man in a suit smiling
(Cody Pickens)

Chris Cooper | Design Partner | SOM

For two decades, Chris Cooper has helped steer the extensive architecture collective, SOM, established in 1936. As design partner and cofounder of the firm’s Climate Action Group, Cooper brings a careful attention to scale and sustainability to his projects. His projects include 7 World Trade Center, New York’s first commercial office building to achieve LEED-C/S Gold certification, the redevelopment of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center in Cambridge, and U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, a sustainable production facility in Maryland.

A black and white image of a woman
(Courtesy Michelle Arevalos Franco)

Michelle Arevalos Franco | Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture | The Ohio State University

Michelle Arevalos Franco is an assistant professor in landscape architecture at The Ohio State University and founder of The Bureau of Commons. Both an academic and an activist, Franco explores the inherent relationship between the ecological and the social. Her work interrogates race and class as it relates to landscapes, drawing from her Mexican heritage and the ways in which landscape architecture is dependent upon Latinx immigrant labor. Through her practice and courses, Franco seeks to locate the collective power within landscape design and labor as a solution for social, racial, and ecological degradation.

A black and white photo of a man sitting
(Courtesy Michael Hsu)

Michael Hsu | Founder and Principal | Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Formerly the president of AIA Austin and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, Michael Hsu is the founder and principal of Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. Founded in 2005, the firm is a fully integrated architecture and design firm rooted in hospitality. Their work includes many socially-conscious projects, like middle-income row houses and a workforce development facility for Women’s Home, and is nationally award-winning. This includes AN’s 2022 Best of Design Award and Top 50 Architects and Designers.

A black and white photo of a woman
(Courtesy Maria Nicanor)

Maria Nicanor | Director | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Overseeing 86 employees and a collection of almost 215,000 objects, Maria Nicanor is the director of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. With a special focus in design and architecture, Nicanor leads the museum’s exhibition programming, digital exhibition platform, educational programming, and the annual National Design Awards.

A black and white image of an Asian woman
(Courtesy E.B. Min)

E.B. Min | Principal | Min Design

E.B. Min is the principal of Min Design, an architecture and design studio based in San Francisco. As an architect with a background in landscape design from Delaney and Cochran and a background in art history and studio art, Min brings an interdisciplinary perspective to her work and the jury panel. Under her leadership, Min Design creates objects and environments that bring pleasure and delight to the everyday.

A black and white photo of a woman
(Courtesy Emily Conklin)

Emily Conklin | Managing Editor | The Architect’s Newspaper

Emily Conklin is the managing editor at AN. Architecturally-educated, she holds an MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia GSAPP with an expertise in office to residential conversions and designs for coliving.

A black and white photo of a man with glasses
(Courtesy Jack Murphy)

Jack Murphy | Executive Editor | The Architect’s Newspaper 

Jack Murphy, AN’s executive editor, studied architecture at MIT and Rice University before going on to contribute to award-winning architectural practices in Texas, New York, and Massachusetts. Previously, he was the editor of Cite: The Architecture and Design Review of Houston and an adjunct professor at the University of Houston. He has been featured in Architectural Record, Dwell, Texas Architect, Places, PLAT, Paprika!, The SF Gate, The Houston Chronicle, and The New York Review of Architecture, amongst other publications.