How to: reward and punish

Research residency and publication on architecture awards. Co-curated with Lev Bratishenko for the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). Participants: Anna Hentschel, Emilienne Fernande Bodo, Shayari de Silva, Francisco Moura Veiga, Tomà Berlanda, Monica Hutton, Ioana Lupascu, and Stephen Parnell.

It is not obvious exactly what architecture awards do, or if they do it well. Awards are one of the noisiest and most expensive ways that the architectural discipline proclaims what is good about itself. Yet, the more prominent awards are, the more their internal opacity makes them suspect; the more they proliferate, the more meaningless they seem.

Even if many awards now appear to be parasitic, extracting value from architectural labour while pretending to reward it, architects continue to play along. Why? It was tempting for us to respond with cynicism and dismiss awards as an empty game of prestige but, with a sense that there was something more to uncover, something worth caring about, we chose not to…

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