Architecture, in its realized form, is neither the vision or the labor of a singular person. It is a practice which is inherently group and firm-oriented in its processes. But architecture as we know it is only celebrated after it is completed, and is very rarely celebrated for how it gets made. Few awards recognize the vast network of people that enables those at the very top of the field to put their name to completed works.
Recent controversies have only thrown more light on this state of affairs—from the petition to have Denise Scott Brown retroactively recognized for the work that won her husband Robert Venturi the Pritzker Prize in 1991 (which was ultimately rejected by the Pritzker) to revelations earlier this year about the way architects like Richard Meier have abused the power afforded to them by their personal success.
In an article recently published by Metropolis Magazine, Katie Okamoto gives her take on why we should consider new ways to recognize the practice of architecture as a whole. As she ultimately describes it, “The profession is chock full of creativity; it’s time to incentivize professionalism.” In the increasingly diverse and collaborative field of architecture, is it time to acknowledge the large group effort behind the most impressive structures, rather than the figurehead that branded them?
Read Okamoto's take on the reevaluation of architectural prizes at Metropolis Magazine.