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Announcing the winners of AN’s 2024 Best of Practice Awards

Best of Practice

Announcing the winners of AN’s 2024 Best of Practice Awards

Inside Studio Gang, a 2024 Best of Practice Winner for Architect (XL firm) – Midwest (Tom Harris)

More and more, the architecture and design community has been exploring the business of being a designer. Increasing conversations about unions, B Corp certifications, and employee-owned models point to a growing collective interest in investigating what a practice can and should look like. The Architect’s Newspaper chronicles this advancement in our annual Best of Practice Awards.

The Best of Practice Awards commend the overall operations and structures of companies within the AEC community. It’s an ambitious task, yet nevertheless, a jury of experts and professionals guided their reviews based on aesthetic excellence, social impact, and internal culture at the company. This year’s winners not only ticked all the boxes, but they also displayed a commitment to demonstrating studio values through every level of the company, from design language to studio structure. What is preached is what is practiced.

The jury deliberation and its results underscore the changing tides in how people are thinking about work and the higher standards with which it is being met. Scroll down to view the winners, honorable mentions, and editors’ picks of 2024’s Best of Practice Awards and hear from the jury about why the selection was made.

The Best of Practice Awards Jury:

Jury

 


Architect (XL Firm) – Canada

Mechanized River Valley Access (Cooper & O’Hara)

Winner
DIALOG
“I thought DIALOG was a well-rounded practice and the submission was strong. It demonstrated all of the criteria around community, well-being, environmental responsibility, and a participatory, interdisciplinary approach to design.”Stephanie Lin
Honorable Mention

Architect (XL Firm) – Midwest

Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (Iwan Baan)

Winner
Studio Gang
“A few things that impressed me about Studio Gang are how quickly it has grown to its current size while maintaining an extremely high standard of execution. That deserves a lot of credit. Additionally, the firm’s ability to preserve an R&D studio culture within a larger practice is highly commendable and extraordinarily difficult to achieve at scale.”Robert Yuen
Honorable Mention

Architect (XL Firm) – Northeast

Stanley Manne Institute (Chris Cooper)

Winner
Dattner Architects
“I like Dattner’s civic-mindedness. It’s a third generation, female-owned practice. It continues to be public-minded, and that’s very hard with city contracts.”Jonathan Marvel
Honorable Mention

Architect (XL Firm) – Southeast

Watauga Community Recreation Center (Mark Herboth)

Winner
Clark Nexsen
“I like the scale jumping that it can do, from bus shelters to higher education and community service. It felt like a great place to work and the quality of the work feels authentic.”Jonathan Marvel
Honorable Mention

Architect (XL Firm) – Southwest

House Zero (Leonid Furmansky)

Winner
Lake|Flato Architects
“The practice chose to show the things that it’s been prioritizing in this chapter of the firm, which are larger scale buildings, or taking on a different technology or material systems. I appreciate the evolution of the firm as its priorities continue to advance.”Wendy Dunnam Tita

Architect (XL Firm) – West

Universiade i-Park (Kunyi Visual)

Winner
RIOS
“I was appreciative that RIOS is doing great design work but also dealing with the human condition and an urban condition. I think that combination and impact is worth recognition.”Wendy Dunnam Tita
Honorable Mention
Olson Kundig

Editors’ Pick

Architect (Large Firm) – Canada

Ismaili Centre (Tom-Arban)

Winner
Moriyama Teshima Architects
“I appreciate Moriyama’s community focus within civic and institutional work. The quality of and consistency across the projects that is represented is also really admirable.”Stephanie Lin

Architect (Large Firm) – Northeast

Loblolly House (Peter Aaron)

Winner
KieranTimberlake
“A lot of firms talk about research and innovation, but I think that KieranTimberlake is a firm that really does commit to it. It has also evolved as a firm; the ability to shift to a larger and more complex scale in the last 10 to 15 years is exciting to see.”Wendy Dunnam Tita
Honorable Mention
Morris Adjmi Architects

Editors’ Pick

Architect (Large Firm) – Southeast

Ayla Golf Clubhouse by Oppenheim Architecture (Rory Gardiner)

 

Winner
Oppenheim Architecture
“I found the tensions between the buildings and the locations, the boldness and the architecture in the sites, in Oppenheim’s work visually inspiring.”Dori Tunstall
Honorable Mention

Architect (Large Firm) – Southwest

Wolf Ranch River Camp (Chase Daniel)

Winner
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
“I like the work and it looks like a place that as a practice, you would want to be a part of in terms of commitment to the next generation, commitment to the practice of architecture, all these sorts of things that reaffirm what the present future possibilities of architecture could really be.”Dori Tunstall
Honorable Mention
EskewDumezRipple

Editors’ Pick

Architect (Large Firm) – West

California Nobu (Kevin Scott)

Winner
Montalba Architects
“There’s some beautiful work there. It looks like a great firm, and the work looks strong.”Susan Jones

Architect (Medium Firm) – Canada

Prime Seafood Palace (Adrian Ozimek Photography)

Winner
Omar Gandhi Architects
“There’s a lot of original thinking there and different building types, and scale, and a point of view that brings design to a high level.”Jonathan Marvel

Architect (Medium Firm) – Mexico

Fleischmann Residence (Rory Gardiner)

Winner
PRODUCTORA
“I really appreciated this work—it wasn’t precious, but it was interesting, and some of the things the firm did were compelling and worth recognizing.”Wendy Dunnam Tita

Architect (Medium Firm) – Midwest

NASA ACF (Kendall McCaugherty)

Winner
Ross Barney Architects
“The complexity of the projects that the firm has engaged in over the last few decades has been extraordinary. The Chicago waterfront is a huge transformation of the city and the quality of the execution is really high.”Susan Jones
Honorable Mention
Snow Kreilich Architects

Architect (Medium Firm) – Northeast

One Flushing Intergenerational Affordable Housing Rooftop (Courtesy Bernheimer Architecture)

Winner
Bernheimer Architecture
“Bernheimer Architecture made an impression in this category as it is one of the first private architectural worker unions, which was voluntarily recognized. I think that being a recognized union probably has a big effect on their practice.”Emily Conklin
Honorable Mention
Merge Architects

Editors’ Pick

Architect (Medium Firm) – Southeast

MS Library Commission (Timothy Hursley)

Winner
Duvall Decker
“The practice feels a very strong responsibility to communities—and the work is beautiful. The work actually showed the philosophy, and it didn’t have to try very hard to do it either.”Wendy Dunnam Tita
Honorable Mention

Architect (Medium Firm) – West

L’Angolo Estate Winery (Jeremy Bittermann)

Winner
LEVER Architecture
“The research that LEVER’s done over the years has been extraordinary for mass timber and the pushing forward of it. I think it’s doing enormous things.”Susan Jones
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Mexico

Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Midwest

Boys + Girls Club of Chicago Rusu-McCartin Club (Tom Harris)

Winner
Latent
“Latent, led by Katherine Darnstadt, is making significant contributions in Chicago. The firm advances urban design through projects like the Fresh Moves Mobile Market and YMCA Meta Media. Latent’s leadership in design activism sets the tone for conversations around equity gaps in the profession. Its social impact has greatly impressed me.”Robert Yuen
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Northeast

Grand Concourse Academy Charter School (Chris Cooper/ArchExplorer)

Winner
LUBRANO CIAVARRA Architects
“I was super impressed by the caliber of the work for such a small firm. The body of work, the depth of the work, the culture of the community, the culture of the office: How did eight people do all this work?”Dori Tunstall
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Southeast

Villa KS (Tzu Chen Photography)

Winner
Katherine Hogan Architects
“The firm communicates an important focus on working in open spaces at suburban edges, which speaks to a very specific demographic and type of community work.”Stephanie Lin
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – Southwest

First Light (Casey Dunn)

Winner
Thoughtbarn
“The approach and the inventiveness regarding new materials like cross laminated timber and 3D printing…the progressiveness of that helps find ways to change construction industries to a more sustainable profile.”Susan Jones
Honorable Mention

Architect (Small Firm) – West

Atwater House (Paul Vu)

Winner
Design, Bitches
“It’s clear Design, Bitches is having fun as a practice, which is important for design culture, and the work really reflects that.”Stephanie Lin
Honorable Mention

Architect (New Firm) – Midwest

Honorable Mention

Architect (New Firm) – Northeast

The Nursery at Public Records (Ill Gander)

Winner
Mattaforma
“The book [Designing the Forest and Other Mass Timber Futures by founding principal Lindsey Wikstrom] is a huge jump in the pool of mass timber. She’s a good person to have in the mix.”Susan Jones
Honorable Mention

Architect (New Firm) – West

The Sierra (Paul Vu)

Winner
Kadre Architects
“This is a really strong start to a new practice with an impressive amount of realized work. They’re leveraging limited resources to enhance public and daily life.”Stephanie Lin
Honorable Mention

Acoustic Consultant & Engineer

Honorable Mention

Fabricator

NYU Paulson (Connie Zhou)

Winner
Digifabshop
“I am impressed with Digifabshop’s expertise and range of workable materials. The shop has delivered components for architects like Kieran Timberlake. It takes skilled craftspeople to translate from design intent to completed installation.”Jack Murphy
Honorable Mention

General Contractor

Honorable Mention

Graphic Design & Wayfinding

Honorable Mention

Interior Designer – Northeast

Food52 HQ (William Jess Laird)

Winner
Float Studio
“The studio takes a fresh, inclusive approach to design. They are articulate about supporting a healthy office culture and employee development through multiple avenues.”Stephanie Lin
Editors’ Pick

Interior Designer – West

Honorable Mention

Landscape Architect – Midwest

Honorable Mention

Landscape Architect – Southwest

SWA Alief (Albert Vecerka Esto)

Winner
SWA Group
“SWA was one of the first design firms to implement an ESOP [employee stock ownership plan], which shows they have interest in firm ownership, equity, and retention. This has clearly been successful, as they’ve celebrated 70 years of practice.”Emily Conklin
Honorable Mention
Design Workshop

Editors’ Pick
Dept.

Landscape Architect – West

Oakland Township Commons (Eric Einwiller)

Winner
EinwillerKuehl Landscape Architecture
“The office approaches its work with humility and a concern for health and relationships. The mix of intentional community and well-designed landscapes is something every firm should strive to achieve.”Jack Murphy

Lighting Designer

Mazur Hall (Halkin Mason)

Winner
BEAM
“I appreciate the variety of lighting conditions that’s been created. You definitely don’t get a sense of BEAM being a one trick pony.”Dori Tunstall

MEP Engineer

Honorable Mention

Photography Studio

Clubhouse (Rafael Gamo Studio)

Winner
Rafael Gamo Studio
“I think it’s a note of commendation to see the consistency of his eye in all of these images. Every single one of them has that quality of the dark, peering out to the light—that’s impressive.”Susan Jones

Structural Engineer

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