Revealing the winners of AN’s 2023 Best of Design Awards

Cream of the Crop

Revealing the winners of AN’s 2023 Best of Design Awards

Neil Campbell Rowing Centre by MJMA Architecture & Design and Raimondo + Associates Architects (Scott Norsworthy)

Every year for 11 years AN has celebrated outstanding built and unbuilt architectural projects over a range of categories through our Best of Design Awards. This year, we received the highest amount of entries.

This roster of winners features the most amount of international projects compared to our editors’ picks and honorable mentions. In the program overall, AN noted a 35 percent uptick in entries to the adaptive reuse, building renovation, and restoration and preservation categories, a trend that seems to reflect the growing interest in reusing existing buildings and incorporating more sustainable practices into the industry. The categories that saw the most entries are those concerning single-family homes. Residential work continues to be a typology teeming with imaginative potential, and as the awards suggest, are certainly a point of focus, perhaps reinvigorated by the pandemic.

With a high volume of submissions, our discerning jury took each deliberation with care and consideration to not only each individual project but the community it serves, its location, and its greater context. The result is a robust and diverse roster of 37 projects hailing from around the world. Here are the winners of AN’s 2023 Best of Design Awards.


Adaptive Reuse

(Chris Cooper/Arch Explorer)

Harvard Law School Lewis International Law Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts
“For such a complicated program and renovation, it is wonderful to see the historic midcentury building facade remain legible. The improvements are really clear, even through the interiors, along with the existing building ”E.B. Min

Architectural Lighting

(Frank Oudeman)

Confidential Staircase Project
“It’s such a simple solution that showcases the power and importance of natural light in architecture.”Meryati Johari Blackwell

Building Renovation

(Kendall McCaugherty)

Lobby with Amphitheater
“It seems this lobby went through an extensive renovation to modernize it. The insertions feel modest in scale but grand in impact and design. The quality is significant, the detailing is beautiful, and the work highly executed. ”E.B. Min


(James Steinkamp Photography)

Princeton Municipal Center
Princeton, Texas
“The goals assigned here and the ambition are all things that we want to reward in civic design. Not only did they talk about all the right things, but they delivered.”E.B. Min


(Jeremy Bittermann)

Sequitur Tasting Room
“The connection between the exterior and the interior was very seamlessly accomplished, but I found the interior particularly welcoming—a spot where you would want to linger.”Michael Hsu


(Shen Zhonghai)

Ascentage Pharma
OLI Architecture
Suzhou, China
“A high level of rigor and talent is needed to bring such a strong feeling of unity throughout an entire campus. Each building is slightly different, yet they’re all connected and floating above the reflecting pools.”Meryati Johari Blackwell


(DIOR Femme © Gerry O’Leary)

DIOR Femme
Lusail, Qatar
“Dior’s design approach here results in a truly ethereal and elegant, even airy spatial experience. ”Maria Nicanor

Commercial—Sports & Entertainment

(Scott Norsworthy)

Neil Campbell Rowing Centre
“Of the many projects we have reviewed, this was the one that brought me the most joy. It is simultaneously confident in its presence and its ephemeral absence. ”Chris Cooper


(Mike Habat)

International African American Museum
“There’s so much more to this project than just the architecture. In fact, it seems they purposefully let the landscape and the site speak louder than the new building. The way the form floats above the ground shows respect and allows a place for people to engage with history in a tactile way.”Michael Hsu

Digital Fabrication

(Hanna Grankvist)

Drape Stair
“It’s encouraging to see functionality and storytelling coming together in the Drape Stair with its effortlessly cool simplicity, which is rooted in the inspiration derived from the natural processes and foldings of dough making. ”Maria Nicanor

Education—Higher Education

(Eric Staudenm)

Sandi Simon Center For Dance at Chapman University
“It is grand yet humble at the same time, and I just love that kind of tension. Overall, it’s a very warm, inviting place.”Michelle Franco

Education—Kindergarten, Primary, High School

(Robert Benson)

American School Foundation of Guadalajara | High School
Flansburgh Architects
Guadalajara, Mexico
“The fact that it is net zero is significant: the exterior interiors are so porous and fitting for the climate. It seems like a considered environment that students would actually enjoy both learning within, while also learning about the environment. It feels appropriate, interesting, and nicely melded into its context.”E.B. Min

Exhibition Design

(Yoshihiro Makino)

Scandinavian Design and the US, 1890-1980
“It’s easy sometimes with exhibition design to overwhelm the ideas and objects on display, but this is an example that strikes a balance between creating surprise and excitement while refocusing the attention on the objects themselves.”Maria Nicanor


(Iwan Baan)

Houston Endowment Headquarters
“There’s a strong resolution in everything here. It’s a complete, mature work with a high level of technical execution. ”Meryati Johari Blackwell


(James Brittain Photography)

17th Avenue Clinic
5468796 Architecture
Calgary, Canada
“I love the materials. I love the simplicity. I love the proportions. The package brings great dignity to the project. ”Chris Cooper


(John Horner)

Kendall/MIT Gateway
Cambridge, Massachusetts
“The MIT/Kendall Gateway is actually operating as functional infrastructure, not just a public landscape. It is a point of transportation, not just an element leading you to that critical public infrastructure.”Michelle Franco


(Adrian Ozimek)

Prime Seafood Palace
“The level of sophistication and attention to every detail makes the Prime Seafood Palace a standout here. ”Chris Cooper


(Samara Vise)

MOCA Workshop
“The MOCA project, though low budget, actually transformed a pocket of space into something with great dignity, which is what makes it both different and cozy. There is also high level use of graphic design and carefully considered choices throughout. ”Chris Cooper


(Jian XU, Haoran Chen, Jing Deng)

Jackie XU Private Residence - A Love Letter to My Dogs
“The design is refreshing and breaks free of the cookie-cutter expectations for residential spaces. The undulating walls of warm materials showcase the plasticity of plaster while evoking a wondrous sense of fun in the domestic space. ”Maria Nicanor


(Brian Ferry)

Garrett Leight California Optical New York
West of West
New York
“The design is full of texture and materiality, and is effective as a retail space because it also takes into account the visitor experience of looking through the glasses on display in a comfortable way that isn’t overwhelming to the senses. ”Maria Nicanor


(Magda Biernat)

Publicis Groupe, Le Truc
“Designers are aware of the changing priorities in work and workplace environments. This design is not only responsive to these trends, but it’s effective due to its simplicity.”Michael Hsu


(Esto/Sahar Coston-Hardy)

International African American Museum
Hood Design Studio
Charleston, South Carolina
“The engagement with the history of the site, the nearby residential development, and the new architecture of the museum itself is resolved through a masterful landscape. Serving as the base for the entire project, narrative, and message, it’s a marriage of time, land and sea. ”Emily Conklin


(Naho Kubota)

East Flatbush Library
New York
“In a time when resources for community spaces are being threatened, the reinvestment in space and knowledge represented by the East Flatbush Library is encouraging and inspirational for all. The library is both welcoming and modern with an advanced facade system: a true investment in community.”Emily Conklin


(Bruce Damonte)

North Campus Housing
Seattle, Washington
“I appreciate the scale at which this was executed. Street level interaction is encouraged, adding to the neighborly feeling, but the responsibly sourced materials and goals for sustainability bring this entire project together.”Michael Hsu


(Chuen Wu)

Pacific Landing Affordable Housing
Patrick TIGHE Architecture
Santa Monica, California
“This project has done more than just take on the challenge of affordable senior housing. It’s modern, it’s connected, and the result is an accessible and walkable community.”Michael Hsu


(César Béjar)

Pabellón de la Reserva
Mexico City
“I’m always impressed when an architect starts with rectilinear forms but with iteration you arrive at really interesting interior massing and spatial solutions. I am also very compelled by the connection to the water.”Michael Hsu

Restoration & Preservation

(Josh Partee)

Oregon Supreme Court Rehabilitation
“This effort sensitively maintains a historic judicial building while expertly upgrading it to be base isolated to protect the building during a seismic event—a thorough act of care for an important structure.”Jack Murphy

Social Impact

(Paul Vu)

Watts Works
“The modular construction and economy of means embedded in this project appeal to me. This is a unique construction concept that makes room to find some design within.”Chris Cooper

Student Work

(Avery Seip)

The Naumburg Center
“It’s just exquisite. The relationship of building and landscape is quite rich. The images are clearly delineated and propose an exceptional project.”Chris Cooper

Temporary Installation

(Michelle Äärlaht)

Adjaye Associates
Venice, Italy
“This installation is one form that is doing a lot of things. It’s an occupiable sculpture so it’s active, engaged, and layered in its approach.”Meryati Johari Blackwell

Unbuilt—Commercial, Cultural, Civic, Education

(Courtesy MJMA Architecture & Design)

John Innes Community Recreation Centre
This recreation center skillfully combines the need for improved civic space in Toronto with a compelling scheme that incorporates long-span mass timber elements. I appreciate the patterned facade and wood-lined interiors.Jack Murphy


(Brick Visual Solutions)

Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation
WT/GO Architecture
Fayetteville, Arkansas
“This proposal thoughtfully proposes an academic building that is environmentally responsible, showcases forest products, and serves as a pedagogical tool for architecture students. The stepped, pleated form and the factory-like interior are particularly strong aspects of this design.”Jack Murphy

Unbuilt—Landscape, Urban Design & Master Plan

(Courtesy Associates UltraBarrio)

Hard Core, Park Core
“This master plan finds opportunities to address urban equity: transforming a parking lot or parking structure into a program that can then be a park, a cooling area, and provide an oasis in places and neighborhoods that are otherwise urban deserts. It has ambitions to provide social impact.”E.B. Min


(Courtesy West of West)

Sunset Steps
West of West
San Francisco
“Sunset Steps is a blueprint for architecture that is beautiful while also accommodating urgent urban needs like density and resource sharing. Intentional design decisions foster communal living in tangible ways and intelligent massing doesn’t overwhelm the site or landscape.”Emily Conklin


(Taller Montego)

Mutuo+There There
Merida, Mexico
“It’s inspiring to see high-level thinking applied to the everyday structures that make up our lives. The Otoch home seeks to optimize an existing structure for new, exciting ways of living that don’t require demolition.”Emily Conklin

Urban Design & Master Plan

(Field Operations/Reimagine Middle Branch Planning Team)

Reimagine Middle Branch Plan
“Reimagine Middle Branch is such a large, serious, and complex project. I really liked the way that they have organized it into these four agendas, or four goals. They have equity embedded in their categorization. I think that helps make it a lot more clear what they’re trying to achieve through that shoreline.”E.B. Min

Young Architects Award

(Courtesy Studio Ames)

Studio Ames
New York
“Studio Ames, led by Daisy Ames, simultaneously investigates the spatial organizations of housing and its material construction. The practice translates research into designs that work in the tight urban conditions we know all too well in New York City.”Jack Murphy