One place remaining!

28 Apr 2014

Two more emerging firms join 18 previous winners in hunt for the next 21 top practices

It’s that time of year again when we add new faces to our elite selection of emerging architects under the banner of the WAN 21 for 21 Awards. Now in its fourth year, we are tremendously excited to bring to the fore these leading lights of architecture for the 21st century. As past entries have shown, creative studios are erupting across the globe, often in some of the most financially restrained areas.

Joining us on the panel this season were: Patrik Schumacher, Partner at Zaha Hadid Architects; Angela Dapper, Senior Associate at Denton Corker Marshall; Grant Brooker, Senior Partner and Design Director at Foster + Partners; and Andrew Best, Partner at Buro Happold.

With only three spaces left to fill, our judges were presented with submissions from some impressive practices, keen to take the last available spots. Grant Brooker enthused that there were ‘some wonderfully exciting projects to come out of real restraints’. We are looking for outstanding, forward-thinking people and organisations who have the demonstrable potential to be the next big thing in the architectural world.

The judging session started well with much praise for small companies such as Hernandez De La Garza from Mexico, with Grant Brooker stating: “I think it’s interesting, they have an agenda here.” When presented with the submission from French practice Carl Fredrick Svenstedt Architects, Angela Dapper said: “In terms of moving forward they have a nice body of work.”

Synthesis Design + Architecture from America was also a hit with the judges. Andrew Best described the work as ‘crazy, I love that’ and Patrik Schumacher added that the firm is ‘a force to be reckoned with; he is very ambitious and on the scene lecturing, teaching and pushing forward’.

An important factor that the judges kept reminding themselves of throughout the selection process was to look for potential and while the final works are well-crafted, the jury can see how this skill could be translated into more complex or larger-scale projects in the future.

With this in mind, we are thrilled to announce that the next two firms to join the ranks of previous WAN 21 for 21 Award winners are:


Location: New York, USA
Company started: 2004
Number of staff members: 5
Background of practice: As a fine connoisseur in computer science Marc Fornes designs through writing text files, or codes supported structures, between art and architectures

As soon as Marc Fornes’ work was set on the table it was clear that a unanimous agreement was brewing. Patrik Schumacher led the discussion, affirming: “[Marc Fornes] is insinuating through colour and geometric trajectory, the guy is an absolute leader. Now comes the rising star of the 21st century.”

Grant Brooker added: “I think it’s amazing, that’s what I’m going to say. You’re influencing at a completely different level here. If you look at the extraordinary installation you think ‘I’d wish I’d done that!’ That’s incredible. If you have got people that can be visionary and can lead and influence then that’s the sort of stuff you want to throw out there.”

SP+A (Sameep Padora + Associates)

Location: Mumbai, India
Company started: 2005
Number of staff members: 20
Background of practice: sP+a are interested in history as a pedagogic instrument of estimation. Through the practice we argue for history as an instrument of projecting futures, where history becomes an evolving idea, not a static craft of programme logic

sP+a (Sameep Padora + Associates) presented a very impressive portfolio of work. Grant Brooker was immediately drawn to the submission and concluded: “I think what were all struck with is that there are some small works with initiative and [the firm] is interesting for its scale and delivery. It gives more credence to the larger scale work that they are actually looking at other explorations.” sP+a’s concrete pavilion was very much appreciated with Andrew Best stating: “I think this is beautiful.”

Overall the judges were very pleased with the amount of international companies bringing fresh ideas to the table. Grant Brooker summed up the judging experience after looking through all the projects: “It’s tough because there are lots of very good submissions.”

Congratulations to all those involved in the WAN 21 for 21 Awards so far. We are thrilled to be able to encourage and celebrate the blossoming of these 20 architectural companies and give them a platform to showcase their exceptional work. The search continues to fill the one remaining place in our esteemed programme…

Katy Russell and Francesca Maw
WAN AWARDS Co-ordinators

Key Facts


Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team