Young Architects 13The Architectural League Prize is an annual competition, series of lectures, and exhibition organized by the Architectural League and its Young Architects and Designers Committee. The League Prize was established to recognize specific works of high quality and to encourage the exchange of ideas among young people who might otherwise not have a forum. Participants in the program are chosen through a portfolio competition that is juried by distinguished architects, artists and critics, and the Young Architects and Designers Committee. The committee, a group selected each year from past winners of the League Prize, is responsible for developing the program’s theme and selecting competition jurors. Open to designers ten years or less out of school, the competition draws entrants from around North America. The lecture series and exhibition by winners of the competition provide a lively public forum for the discussion of their work and ideas. This year’s theme: It’s Different. Every generation thinks it is special, new, and different and ours is no exception. What perhaps may make the claim stronger for the current generation are the circumstances: global networking and integration, and global economic and security crises; environmental activism and environmental catastrophe; virtual revolution and physical stagnation. Against these challenges and in light of the fundamental ruptures of the Great Recession, the committee posits that the future will operate on a wholly different paradigm. This difference will require architects and the discipline to practice architecture and design without preconceptions and assumptions, rethinking how designers engage constructively with our cities, our environments, and our societies. Not content to wait for the hoped-for return of economic conditions favorable to conventional ideas about architectural practice, architects must ask: What is the new role of the designer? The call for entries addressed the state of architecture as a reflection of our world: it’s different now. The committee sought projects and design approaches that provided new strategies to address existing or entrenched problems, proactive definitions of practice, and a rethinking of the design discipline in relation to new economic, political, social, and cultural paradigms.