HANNAH, Experimental Design Practice Wins Architectural League Prize
Architecture faculty Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, coprincipals of their Ithaca-based design office, HANNAH, have been awarded a 2020 Architectural League Prize. The competition is juried by the League's Young Architects and Designers Committee who join distinguished architects, artists, and critics to develop an annual theme and review portfolios submitted by early-career designers.
The chosen theme for the 2020 award cycle was "value," asking, "how are values mediated by the processes of design?" And, "what are the discursive contexts, forms of representation, and/or spaces of action in which these values manifest themselves?" According to Architectural League President and 2020 juror Paul Lewis of LTL Architects, the increased number of entries this year and the high quality of the work submitted for review intensified the role of theme in the committee's decision making.
"The jury gravitated toward work that was distinguished by a clarity of greater purpose — work that takes a stance with regard to the collective world and moves beyond the personal, the purely aesthetic, or simply idiosyncratic," said Lewis. "Charting new territory between robotic fabrication, waste materials, and cheap/fast construction, HANNAH’s work was selected by the jury precisely because of how it advances the collective discipline while creatively contributing to material potentials in construction."
Lok and Zivkovic established HANNAH in 2013 and have since built a design practice that "expands traditional building construction techniques by implementing new technologies and processes of making to address concerns surrounding construction, rapid urbanization, and mass-customized housing design."
As members of the architecture faculty at AAP, Lok and Zivkovic have received support from both the college and department to advance their research, find new ways to apply their ideas and findings to make a significant impact on the construction industry's building material options and choices. "Over the past five years we focused on developing and implementing experimental building processes to create installations and small-scale buildings," explained Lok and Zivkovic. "In our current work, we are most excited to partner with the building industry to scale-up experimental construction processes towards sustainable residential architecture and housing."
HANNAH's work of late has centered around experimental additive manufacturing that minimizes wasted material and inefficient formwork typical of concrete construction and utilizes innovation in robotics technology to encourage the construction industry's use of renewable natural resources. The firm's recent projects include Ashen Cabin, a full-scale prototype that demonstrates the viability of 3D-printed concrete in combination with locally sourced ash trees that otherwise would fall to waste due to invasive species infestation; RRRolling Stones, 25 3D-printed concrete "follies" that encourage visitors to rethink public seating at Socrates Sculpture Park; and Log Knot, a robotically fabricated architectural installation made of timber for the Cornell Council for the Arts 2018 Biennial.
"We are honored and thrilled to receive the Architectural League Prize this year, we see it as a shared achievement and would like to thank the many talented individuals involved in design, fabrication, and construction Cornell AAP and HANNAH," said Lok and Zivkovic. "We would like to especially thank AAP Dean Meejin Yoon, former AAP Dean Kent Kleinman, architecture department chair Andrea Simitch, and former chair Mark Cruvellier for their generous advice and support—our development would not have been possible without their encouragement as well as that of many other friends and colleagues. The work of this award's past recipients has also been greatly influential for us. Many of our teachers and mentors have received the award and we are humbled to follow in their footsteps."
The Architectural League Prize includes the annual competition as well as a lecture series and exhibition of work by award recipients organized by the League and the selection committee. Lok and Zivkovic will give a public lecture hosted via Zoom on June 24. Registration will open in late May.
By Edith Fikes