The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum has announced the winners of its ninth annual National Design Awards program. The Architecture Design Award has been given to Tom Kundig, FAIA, partner in the Seattle-based firm of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, recognizing his body of work.
According to National Design Awards juror Mark Robbins, dean of the Syracuse University School of Architecture, the jury was struck by Kundig's fascination and facility with the materiality and craft of architecture. "All the jurors responded to the very direct poetry of the work that comes from the juxtaposition of late 19th-century industrial forms against the landscape. He [Kundig] has a great sensitivity to landscape," Robbins says.
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards program is unique in that it examines a cross-section of design disciplines, rather than focusing on a single discipline. Awards are given in several categories: lifetime achievement, corporate achievement, design mind, architecture design, communications design, interior design, landscape design, fashion design, and product design. According to Robbins, the jury was looking for work that communicated broadly in meaning and depth, reaching beyond its own discipline.
Kundig's work exemplifies the values of the awards program. "The quality of the work really resonates well beyond just a group of architects. It has general legibility," Robbins says, noting that the jury comprised a spectrum of design professionals.
Two finalists in the Architecture Design category also were recognized: LOT-EK, led by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, and Weiss/Manfredi, led by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.