Form4 Architecture Named Winner of the 2017 American Prize for Architecture

An exhibition honoring the firm will open at Contemporary Space Athens in July.

Form4 Architecture, known for its belief that architecture is the art of giving form to ideas, has been named the winner of the 2017 American Prize for Architecture by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. The architecture, interiors, and planning firm specializes in creating enticing environments for tech offices, museums, mixed-use developments, educational institutions, memorials, and places of worship, that respond as equally to energy efficiency, site topography, and user experience. The firm’s international reach includes designs for projects in India, Korea, Taiwan, and Ireland, in addition to Northern California, with a particular focus on nearby Silicon Valley tech giants, such as Netflix, Citrix, VM Ware, Google, and Facebook. 

“These may well be the ultimate, true romantic architects,” said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, President of The Chicago Athenaeum. “Form4 Architecture’s design philosophy conveys a vision of the future and all the artistic possibilities of imagination, emotional meaning, and lyrical expressionism for a consequentially better and more enlightened world around us.”

The new American Prize for Architecture Laureates—Form4 Architecture principals Robert J. Giannini, John Marx, AIA, Paul Ferro, AIA, and James Tefend—strive to create rational, empowering, and dynamic architecture. “We believe in work that is artful and dynamic while respectful of its parameters,” said Marx. “To that end, we are able to create architecture that is poetic and memorable without sacrificing function.”

The American Prize for Architecture, also known as The Louis H. Sullivan Award, is bestowed upon outstanding practitioners in the United States that have emblazoned a new direction in the history of American architecture with talent, vision, and commitment, and have demonstrated consistent contributions to humanity through the built environment and the art of architecture. Previous American Prize for Architecture Laureates include Michael Graves, FAIA (1994), Sir Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA (1996), Richard Meier, FAIA (1998), and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects (2016).

The official presentation of the American Prize for Architecture will take place at the Orlando Museum of Art on April 27 in Orlando, Fla.

“This year’s public accolade to this San Francisco office is significant in that it celebrates an architecture that inspires us, while celebrating the human condition and acknowledging the true sensitive requirements of a better designed and natural environment,” continued Narkiewicz-Laine. “Form4 Architecture’s work pairs emotional and artistic substance to public and environmental place-making, and space-creating. The practice focuses on the dynamics of form as the carrier of more lofty intent than just simply building.”

The Chicago Athenaeum has long awarded the individual projects designed by Form4 Architecture, granting 11 such accolades since 2012 in its various awards programs. Most recently, the organization bestowed a 2017 American Architecture Award on Sea Song, a self-sustaining, net-zero energy, LEED Platinum-aimed single-family residence on the coast of Big Sur, CA. A 2016 Good Green Design Award was given to the firm’s Innovation Curve Technology Park, whose peaks and valleys of sweeping architectural curves serve as metaphors for the highs and lows of exploratory research and development. The project broke ground in the prestigious Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA, last fall, and is set to be completed in 2017.

The breadth of Form4 Architecture’s impact extends beyond its work in Silicon Valley. Located in the seventh largest metropolis in India, and inspired by the national flower, the white lotus, the LEED Gold Falling Lotus Blossoms: EON IT Park is an elegantly arranged quartet of buildings that can be seen from space. Through its design, Portal of the Winds, an annexation to Jeju International Airport in South Korea, formalizes the strong winds responsible for shaping the island through broadly sweeping lines that give form and shape to the project.

An exhibition honoring Form4 Architecture, organized by The Chicago Athenaeum and The European Centre, opens at Contemporary Space Athens in July 2017, and is scheduled to travel throughout Europe and the United States in 2017-2018. A monograph of the firm’s projects is planned for release by Metropolitan Arts Press in summer 2017.