Design Vanguard 2012
By necessity, young architects do whatever is needed to keep themselves going and pay the bills—teach, serve as general contractors on small projects, fabricate lighting fixtures and furniture, and chase after jobs no matter how far away. It’s a tough way of working. But the ad hoc nature of such emerging practices keeps them nimble, which is especially valuable in an age of challenging economics and limited resources. Some of this year’s Design Vanguard firms aren’t waiting for clients to approach them, but are initiating projects and serving in multiple capacities—as designer, developer, contractor, consultant. Others have set up satellite offices in distant places, even if their firms are small. Blurring roles, disciplines, and national boundaries is all part of the young architect’s kit of survival strategies these days. —Clifford A. Pearson


Yuko Nagayama & Associates
A rising young architect manages her own successful practice—and family—breaking ground in design and as a professional woman. slide show

Pictured: Urbanprem Minamiaoyama, Tokyo; Photo © Daici Ano

Culinary Art School

Gracia Studio
Jorge Gracia, who has located his office in the infamous town of Tijuana, is giving it a reputation for strong Modernist design.slide show

Pictured: Endémico Resguardo Silvestre; Photo © Luis García

Envelope Architecture+Design
A San Francisco Bay Area firm deploys a minimal style to unsettle architectural expectations. slide show

Pictured: Clipper Street House; Photo © Todd Hido

Stacking Green

Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Applying Japanese training to the vibrant but chaotic conditions of Vietnam, a firm makes the most of two cultures. slide show

Pictured: Stacking Green; Photo © Hiroyuki Oki

White Block Gallery

Jinhee Park and John Hong take on an age of austerity with a collection of carefully crafted projects that don't skimp on aesthetics. slide show

Pictured: White Block Gallery; Image courtesy SsD /© Chang Kyun Kim

Tree Clubhouse

Trace Architecture Office
A busy firm layers a commitment to social and environmental issues onto its projects in many different parts of China. slide show

Pictured: Gaoligong Museum of Handcraft Paper; Photo courtesy Tao

Ohne Titel Concept Showroom

A husband-and-wife team has gone back to basics, studying the material and structural innovations of centuries past to create new systems for building. slide show

Pictured: Changing Room; Photo © Barkow Photo

Garden Tree House

Hironaka Ogawa & Associates
A Japanese architect doesn't lose sight of his rural roots—integrating notions of the landscape and nature into his built work with skill and respect. slide show

Pictured: Forest Chapel; Photo © Daici Ano

OS House

FRPO (Rodríguez & Oriol Architecture)
A pair of Spanish architects pulls apart programs, then assembles designs with repetitive elements that create rich compositions. slide show

Pictured: OS House; Photo © José Hevia

MMX Studio
Four designers use context as a springboard and animate their projects with suprising material applications. slide show

Pictured: Casa Santa Catarina; Photo © Yoshihiro Koitani


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Record Design Vanguard Past Issues

Now available online a 5 issue collection of Record’s Design  Vanguard issues spanning  2003-2007.

Record’s Design Vanguard  annual selection of the world’s top emerging designers. With each issue  RECORD finds a diverse group of firms that are committed  to making architecture count.

Past Awards

Design Vanguard ­  2013
Design Vanguard ­  2012
Design Vanguard ­  2011
Design Vanguard ­  2010
Design Vanguard ­  2009
Design Vanguard ­  2008
Design Vanguard ­  2007
Design Vanguard ­  2006
Design Vanguard ­  2005
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