Architecture and Design Awards for the Best and Worst of 2021

Two influential and erudite design critics continue an annual tradition.

2 minute read

December 26, 2021, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A rendering depicting the proposed design for Munger Hall on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

2021 was full of terrible, inhumane ideas. | University of California, Santa Barbara / Munger Hall proposed building.

Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange continue their annual tradition of recognizing the best and the worst of design—this time in a post on Medium.

Obviously, 2021 was…difficult, but Lamster and Lange also note their disappointment with the role of architecture and design in the year's frustrations and tragedies.

The year was grim from the start, and architecture was deeply implicated. It kicked off in January with the desecration of the Capitol, in June we had the catastrophic collapse of the Surfside condo tower, in August the Vessel closed after a fourth suicide, September brought the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, and through it all the pandemic has marched its way through the Greek alphabet. So yeah, it’s been a rough twelve months.

I've picked a few planning-related highlights to share here, but be sure to click through at the link below to read the full list of admittedly fake (but always fun and informative and unflinching!) awards.

  • B. F. Skinner Design Award: To Charles Munger, the nonagenerian advocate of windowless dorms. Keep your money. [See photo above, and this article, for context.]
  • The Von Trapp Medal for Transit Oriented Development: Perkins + Will’s Singing Hills Recreation Center in Dallas was one of our favorite things this year.
  • Fight the Power Prize: MoMA’s “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America” was the year’s most provocative exhibition, giving new perspective to how cities have been and could be built.
  • The Marcel Proust Madeleine of Achievement: To the Los Angeles Civic Memory Project, which created a framework for addressing diverse narratives.
  • Been There, Done That Prize: Every new tower doesn’t need to be staggered, offset boxes. Move on, architects.

Again, click through below.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 in Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange via Medium

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