Perkins+Will Announces Winners of its 2014 DLC Design Competition

Addressing the functional and expressive potential of designing within a parched climate

Every year, the Design Leadership Council (DLC) at Perkins+Will supports a competition encouraging its young, up-and-coming talent within the firm to take part in a short, 48-hour design charrette with the goal of eliciting responses to provocative design challenges.

This year’s challenge sought to address the critical issue of water, immediately felt today in the throes of one of the worst droughts in California history, but by extension is emblematic of sustainability and global warming issues worldwide. In some ways, water is becoming the currency of the realm.

The Arid Lands Institute (ALI) is an education, research and outreach organization dedicated to design innovation in water-stressed environments. For a site adjacent to the Los Angeles River, architects from Perkins+Will offices around the world were asked to address the functional and expressive potential of designing within a parched climate. The program they were given: "House of Retention," a new 40,000-square-foot building for the Arid Lands Institute, designed to capture, store, recycle, treat, and infiltrate every drop of water on this heavily urbanized site.

59 entries were received from 20 Perkins+Will offices across three continents, from Dubai to Dallas, London to Los Angeles. All entries were reviewed by a jury of industry leaders and evaluated for their overall theme and supporting concepts, sustainability and material health, and level of innovation and design excellence, as well as effective communication of those ideas. The winning submissions excelled at providing a clear vision and a defined design directive.

First Prize: Water Towers by Doug Bergert, Anne Smith, Alec Sands (Minneapolis)
Second Prize: River Walk by Danny Mui, Alan Mui (Chicago)
Third Prize: CONFLUENCE: A Hydrological Research Park by Libby Farley, Sandra Yencho, Stephanie Yu (New York)

Honorable Mentions:
Merit in Urban Design
EBB//AND//FLOW by Kaz Bremner, Aaron Knorr, Yehia Madkour (Vancouver)

Merit in Water Tectonics
A Hydro-Culture Community by Martin Lariviere (Toronto)

Merit in Poetry and Landscape
Faux Riparian by David Bradshaw, Laura Arreola, Glen Chan (San Francisco)

Merit in Flexibility
TRANS-ENVIRONMENT by Gong Zheng, Shen Jun (Shanghai)

DLC Design Competition entries will be on view in Los Angeles through mid-October, before hitting the global circuit and traveling to Perkins+Will offices around the world. We invite you to join us in two unique opportunities to view some of today’s most innovative, progressive, and exciting designs addressing sustainability and climate change.

Saturday, Sep. 27: Pop-Up Exhibition & Celebration at Woodbury University
Wednesday, Oct. 15: SPARK Dialogue at Perkins+Will Los Angeles

To view all the submissions and learn more about the design challenge, please visit

For more information, contact