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Jing Liu of SO-IL and Teddy Cruz among winners of the Vilcek architecture prizes

The Vilcek Foundation celebrates the contributions of immigrants in the U.S.

The Pole Dance, a temporary summer pavilion at MoMA PS1 in Queens, NY, was SO-IL’s first high-profile project, complete in 2009.
Iwan Baan

The Vilcek Foundation, which was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia, has announced the winners of its annual prizes celebrating the contributions of immigrants in the United States. Awarded in rotating disciplines, this year’s Vilcek Prize in the Arts and Humanities was bestowed in the field of architecture.

“The social, political, and cultural landscape of America has been shaped by generations of immigrant contributions,” Marica Vilcek, cofounder and vice chairman of the Vilcek Foundation, said in a press statement.

“With the Vilcek Prizes in Architecture, we are pleased to recognize the many ways in which they have shaped its physical landscape as well—through bold, original designs, and through research that challenges the status quo, both in the building arts and in society.”

The top prize, the Vilcek Prize in Architecture, which comes with a $100,000 cash prize, was awarded to Guatemalan-born architect and urban researcher Teddy Cruz, a professor of public culture and urbanization in the department of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is also the director of design at Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, which he founded with political theorist, Fonna Forman and is a research-based political and architectural practice that investigates issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure, and public culture, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities.

The foundation also recognized younger immigrants demonstrating “exceptional promise” in their careers with the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise, which comes with a cash prize of $50,000. These were awarded to Iranian-born Mona Ghandi, a professor of architecture at Washington State University; James Leng, a Los Angeles-based architect and the 2013 SOM winner; and Jing Liu, a principal and co-founder of Brooklyn-based architecture and design practice SO-IL (and a Curbed Groundbreaker). Read more about the winners here.

(Lead photo: The Pole Dance, a temporary summer pavilion at MoMA PS1 in Queens, NY, was SO-IL’s first high-profile project, complete in 2009. Credit: Iwan Baan)