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Five studios win 2018–19 
J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize for Best Architecture in Community

United States - Aug 6, 2018 - 01:38   4136 views

Five studios have been named as the winners of the 2018–19 
J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize by the Exhibit Columbus, an annual exploration of Architecture, Art, Design, and Community.

Agency Landscape + Planning (Cambridge, MA), Bryony Roberts Studio (New York, NY), Frida Escobedo Studio (Mexico City, Mexico),  MASS Design Group (Boston, MA), SO-IL (New York, NY) have been awarded the 2018–19 
J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize for "bringing unique perspectives in connecting people to place and community."

The five recipients are announced as international leaders in their fields and have been selected for their commitment to the transformative power that architecture, art, and design have to improve people’s lives and make cities stronger.

GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center by MASS Design Group. Image © Iwan Baan

"Through their previous work in architecture, planning, landscapes, and performance they have already made a positive impact on cities and communities around the globe," said Exhibit Columbus.

"With this award they will have the opportunity to bring their unique perspectives to Columbus, while exploring the traditions and values that have created this city’s international design legacy."

The Miller Prize is the centerpiece of Exhibit Columbus and honors two great patrons of the Columbus community. The five recipients will be featured participants in the 2018 National Symposium speaking on the evening of Saturday, September 29. 

See the full winning studios with their short biography below:

Rebuild by Design by Agency Landscape + Planning. Image © Sasaki Associates and Rebuild by Design


Rebuild by Design by Agency Landscape + Planning. Image © Sasaki Associates and Rebuild by Design


Agency Landscape + Planning (Cambridge, MA)

Agency Landscape + Planning was formed by landscape architect Gina Ford and planner Brie Hensold to address social equity, cultural vitality, and environmental resilience through design excellence, strategic planning, and community empowerment. Though the practice is young, its principles have deep experience. While at Sasaki, Ford and Hensold confronted disaster and climate change through the Cedar Rapids Flood Recovery Planning project, working with that community to plan for long-term sustainability and resiliency.

"We Know How To Order" by Bryony Roberts + South Shore Drill Team. Performance at the Federal Center, Chicago, Chicago Architecture Biennial - October 2-3, 2015. Image courtesy of Bryony Roberts Studio

"Inverting Neutra", Site-specific Installation, Neutra VDL House, Los Angeles, Supported by the Graham Foundation - July 13 - September 7, 2013. Image courtesy of Bryony Roberts Studio

Bryony Roberts Studio (New York, NY)

Bryony Roberts Studio is an architectural design practice that creates projects in response to complex cultural histories and urban conditions. Founder and principal Bryony Roberts argues for greater exchanges between the fields of architecture, art, and preservation in order to develop new modes of creativity in relation to historical sites. She uses design to bring attention to overlooked social histories and to make intangible heritage vivid and accessible to contemporary audiences.

Frida Escobedo, La Tallera, 2012, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Image © Rafael Gamo

Stanford, California, 2016. Image © Rafael Gamo

Frida Escobedo Studio (Mexico City, Mexico)

Frida Escobedo Studio is an architecture and design studio based in Mexico City. The projects produced at the studio operate within a theoretical framework that addresses time not as a historical calibration, but rather a social operation. Principal Frida Escobedo produces work that ranges from art installation and furniture design to residential and public buildings in Mexico and around the world. Frida Escobedo has just completed the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London. 

GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center by MASS Design Group. Image © Iwan Baan

Ilima Primary School by MASS Design Group. Image courtesy of MASS Design Group

MASS Design Group (Boston, MA)

MASS Design Group is a nonprofit architecture firm that operates with the understanding that all architecture is embedded in a social, cultural, and political context. Led by a collective of Principals, the firm is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and Kigali, Rwanda. They have built a reputation for sensitive projects that strengthen community ties and use architecture to heal. Their international portfolio of mission-driven projects that span the fields of design, research, advocacy, and training was recognized with the 2017 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, and recently they earned the 2018 Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture.

Breathe MINI Living, Milan, Italy, 2017 by SO-IL. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Kukje Gallery—K3, Seoul, South Korea, 2012 by SO-IL. Image © Iwan Baan

SO-IL (New York, NY)

SO-IL is a future-oriented architectural design firm based in New York. Led by Florian Idenburg, Jing Liu, and Ilias Papageorgiou, SO-IL’s work is grounded in the conviction that architecture’s power resides in its ability to affect humankind for the better. Their participatory practice has resulted in award-winning spaces for creativity, innovation, culture, learning and living around the globe. Their projects explore fundamental questions like "How do we want to live?" in innovative, expansive ways.


The 2018 National Symposium, Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation, will take place September 26–29. It will open with the first day’s events at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, to be followed by three days of events inside iconic buildings in Columbus.

The five recipients will return to Columbus on January 19, 2019 to present their design concepts to the community, and then will build site-responsive installations that relate to the context of the many important landmarks around downtown Columbus as part of the 2019 exhibition, which will open to the public on Saturday, August 24, 2019.

The 2019 exhibition will expand on the curatorial theme in a tangible way by inviting architects and designers to create outdoor installations and experiences that use Columbus’ built heritage as inspiration and context, while highlighting the role that a visionary community plays in growing a vibrant, sustainable, and equitable city.

Bartholomew Country public Library, 1971, Columbus. Image courtesy of Exhibit Columbus

In addition to the Miller Prize Installations, the exhibition will include numerous other projects at varying scales. Later this month, Exhibit Columbus will award six University Design Research Fellowships to leading professors of architecture and design from regional public universities who will create temporary installations highlighting their own research. The Washington Street Installations will showcase innovative projects created by mission-driven organizations dedicated to using architecture, art, and design to make cities more equitable and sustainable. 

The Columbus High School Design Team will create an installation as part of its classwork in the Bartholomew County School Corporation’s C4 Program. The entire exhibition will be tied together with a dynamic wayfinding and graphic design system. These 18 projects will activate downtown Columbus for more than three months in the fall of 2019.

> via Exhibit Columbus