Winterhouse Awards for Design Writing & Criticism

From 2006–2010 the Winterhouse Awards for Design Writing and Criticism sought to increase the understanding and appreciation of design, both within the profession and throughout American life. A program of AIGA, the awards were founded by Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel of Winterhouse Institute to recognize excellence in writing about design, and to encourage the development of young voices in design writing, commentary and criticism.

This program was part of a larger AIGA initiative to stimulate new levels of design awareness and critical thinking about design. Categories include, visual culture, history, research, criticism, theory. Following a call for entries, the awards were judged by distinguished writers, each of whom was renowned for exceptional writing about design and visual culture. Awards were presented at the AIGA Design Legends Gala (2006–2008) and the AIGA Design Conference (2009).

The Writing Award was open to writers, critics, scholars, historians, journalists and designers under the age of 40.

The 2010 Writing Award was awarded to Daniel Brook. Brook is the author of The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner Take All America (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2007) and has written about architecture for Harper’s, Slate.com and Metropolis, among other publications.

Read Daniel Brook’s three submissions:

The Education Award was open to undergraduate or graduate students whose use of writing, in the interest of making visual work or scholarship or cultural observation, demonstrates extraordinary originality and promise.

The 2010 Education Award was awarded to Aileen Kwun. Kwun earned her BA in English at the University of California, Berkeley, where her study of literature instilled a love of language and a drive to unearth the subtext of our constructed surroundings. Following her relocation to New York, she earned a Certificate in Publishing from Columbia University’s School of Journalism and worked for two years as a publicist for Princeton Architectural Press.

Read Aileen Kwun’s submission:

2010 Jurors:
Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the department of architecture and design of the Museum of Modern Art
Steven Heller, co-chair of the School of Visual Arts’ MFA Designer as Author and co-founder of its MFA Design Criticism and MFA Interaction Design programs (who recused himself from voting on Ms. Kwun’s entry)
Rob Walker, author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are and columnist for The New York Times Magazine.
Jessica Helfand (chair), partner at Winterhouse and co-founder of Design Observer

Design Observer feature.

Recipients from previous years include:

2009
Sean Keller, The Writing Award
Chappell Ellison, The Education Award
Steven Lauritano, The Education Award

2008
David Barringer, The Writing Award
Annie Simpson, The Education Award
Joshua Yaffa, The Education Award

2007
Jade Chang, The Writing Award
Erica Nooney, The Education Award

2006
Thomas de Monchaux, The Writing Award
Katherine Feo, The Education Award