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2021 GSAPP Incubator Prize

The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation announces the 2021–2022 cycle of the GSAPP Incubator Prize. As a platform for entrepreneurship and expanded modes of practice, the Prize supports projects led by GSAPP alumni that bridge critical discourse with active practice and engagement. The Prize encourages a wide range of experiments while focusing on a specific topic of inquiry each year, and in 2021 is aligned with the School’s ongoing work of advancing racial equity in the built environment as outlined in the GSAPP Anti-Racism Action Plan. The 2021-2022 GSAPP Incubator Prize is dedicated to supporting new forms of anti-racist professional practice and seeks to fund alumni-led initiatives that critically redefine community engagement and participation. Special consideration will be given to proposals serving BIPOC communities, in particular projects that engage communities in Harlem.

Applicants must demonstrate a knowledge of the community they aim to engage with through the proposed project, and the application will ask about community partnerships as an integral aspect of the project. These connections and collaborations test the viability of execution and indicate an investment in meaningful and lasting outcomes.

In 2021, Columbia GSAPP will award ten Prizes of $10,000 per selected projects to individuals or teams of no more than two members. Projects must be led by GSAPP alumni from across the school’s programs who graduated between 2007 and 2021. Recipients will develop their work independently and can be based internationally. Operating within the broader ecosystem of the School’s commitment to new forms of design research and practice, GSAPP Incubator Prize recipients will present their work at the School at the end of the academic year.


Columbia GSAPP will consider proposals from individuals who meet the below criteria:

  • You received a Masters or Doctorate degree from Columbia GSAPP between 2007 and 2021.
  • Your proposal requests support for a new initiative, or a new stage of an existing initiative that you have ownership over.
  • Your proposal must demonstrate relevant community partnerships.
  • Your proposal has a measurable impact on the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in a community through innovative implementation of the disciplines and practices central to the built environment.
  • Individuals or teams of two may apply under a single proposal.
  • Recipients must meet eligibility requirements to receive payment from Columbia University.
Application and Selection Process
  • The online application form is now available, and all applications must be submitted through this form.
  • Submissions will be accepted between July 1, 2021 and August 31, 2021.
  • A jury composed of GSAPP faculty and alumni will review proposals beginning September 1, 2021, and recipients will be notified in October 2021.

The jury for the 2021–2022 cycle of the GSAPP Incubator Prize includes the following faculty and alumni:

  • Michael Chen ‘01 M.Arch is the Principal of New York-based Michael K Chen Architecture (MKCA) and Co-Founder of Design Advocates, a network of experienced architecture, design, and advising firms, as well as individuals, who volunteer their time and expertise to collaborate on projects, research, and advocacy to serve the public good.

  • Lance Freeman is a Professor in the Urban Planning program at Columbia GSAPP. His research focuses on affordable housing, gentrification, ethnic and racial stratification in housing markets, and the relationship between the built environment and well being.

  • Laura Kurgan '88 M.Arch is a Professor in the Architecture program at Columbia GSAPP, where she directs the Center for Spatial Research (CSR) and the Visual Studies curriculum. She is the author of Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics (Zone Books, 2013), and Co-Editor of Ways of Knowing Cities (Columbia Books on Architecture, 2019).

  • Jason Pugh '06 M.S.AUD is the president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and a Project Architect and Urban Designer Senior Associate at the Gensler’s Chicago studio.

  • Roberta Washington '71 M.Arch is principal of Roberta Washington Architects, PC, where she is responsible for the design of new and rehabilitated housing, educational, medical, and preservation projects. Washington is a fellow of the AIA, a past President of the National Organization of Minority Architects and a past Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Please contact gsappalumni@columbia.edu with any questions.

In accordance with University and Federal policy, prizes and awards are taxable. Recipients are responsible for reporting taxable payments and for remitting any tax due with their personal income tax return. U.S. withholding tax may apply to foreign recipients.