Two College of Environmental Design alumni ‒ Thomas F. Robinson (BA Arch ‘91), founding Principal of LEVER Architecture, and Chris Leong (BA Arch ‘00), founding Partner of Leong Leong ‒ received 2017’s Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York.
The Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices Award spotlights North American individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury reviews significant bodies of realized work and considers accomplishments within the design and academic communities. The work of each Emerging Voice represents the best of its kind, and addresses larger issues within architecture, landscape, and the built environment. This year’s jury was comprised of Sunil Bald, Mario Gooden, Lisa Gray, Paul Lewis, Jing Liu, Thomas Phifer, Bradley Samuels, Billie Tsien, and Ian Volner.
Thomas F. Robinson is the founding principal of LEVER Architecture, a Portland, Oregon-based firm established in 2009. The firm seeks to “create buildings and spaces that elevate the human experience.” They attempt to do so by bringing “architecture and innovation to often overlooked building types.” LEVER Architecture emphasizes the importance of material experimentation, including pioneering research in the use of cross-laminated-timber (CLT), and believes that “great work delivered with limited means requires precise architecture and a willingness to rethink how buildings are made.” The firm used locally-sourced poplar in the design of Union Way, a European-inspired retail arcade that cuts through a city block to connect Portland’s Pearl District with its west end. For Pacific Northwest College of Art, LEVER Architecture built the school’s first purpose-built residence incorporating gallery, café, and public space. In 2018, the firm will complete a 12-story cross-laminated timber high rise in Portland bringing together affordable housing, office space, and retail.
Chris Leong is a founding partner of the New York-based firm Leong Leong, which he founded in 2009 with brother Dominic Leong. Their practice is “driven by a curiosity for new organization typologies and aesthetic experiences, which offer new ways of living, working, and interacting with one another.” Thus, Leong Leong’s interests are “not defined by a particular project type, but by the potential to create environments and artifacts with cultural resonance.” Recent projects include the 2015 City View Garage in Miami and the 2014 U.S. Pavilion for the XIV Venice Architecture Biennale. Two projects scheduled for completion in 2019 include the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship in Queens, New York; and the Anita May Rosenstein Campus at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Leong currently teaches at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.
You can read more about this year’s Emerging Voices here, or read Architect’s Newspaper’s series on this year’s recipients here.