Coffman, Wulfman Win Architectural League Prize for 2024

Taubman College Fellow Strat Coffman and former Fellow Leah Wulfman have won the prestigious Architectural League Prize for 2024.

Organized by the Architectural League of New York, the prize is an annual competition, lecture series, and exhibition open to designers in North America who are 10 years or less out of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Twenty current and former faculty members from the University of Michigan have won the prize since its inception in 1981.

Six prizes were given out under this year’s theme, “Dirty,” which asked entrants to look beyond their presentations of professionalism and respectability and expose the forces that shape design. “How do you reject sanitized ways of working with built, natural, and political environments?” the Call for Entries asked. “Show us your dirty ways and dirty things.”

Coffman has been a Taubman College Architecture Fellow since 2022 and works as a research and curatorial assistant for the Getty’s art extravaganza, Pacific Standard Time, in Los Angeles.

Coffman said their work explores the concept of “the embodied subject as an agitator of design.” Their practice exploits over-processed systems (design standards, building codes, generic products) to loosen the bonds that tighten architectural constructions into routine certainties.

“If routines clean up and expedite,” Coffman said, “my work embraces the live body to proliferate misinterpretation, readjustment, and misuse. Sometimes, this takes the form of a degree of slack or a moment of awkward fumbling, an upholstered panic bar or a baggy envelope, a surplus fit or an unfamiliar handhold.”

Wulfman was the Taubman College Walter B. Sanders Fellow from 2021 to 2023 and is now at the University of Utah’s College of Architecture and Planning as a visiting assistant professor in the Division of Multi-Disciplinary Design.

Wulfman said they are a Carrier Bag architect, educator, game designer, digital puppeteer, and writer. They assemble hybrid virtual and physical spaces to prototype new relationships to technology and nature and challenge normative ideologies so often reinforced by technology and architecture.

“My work develops nonnormative uses and playful misuses of technology through embodied physicality,” Wulfman said. “Much of this work is centered around play and performativity, and pairs game engine interactions and digital twins with their most physical, material, and ludic counterparts – dirt, weeds, trash, plastic, and foam. These mixed-reality ecologies and interactions find their foundations in disability-, trans-, and queer-embodied practice and politics and operate as lenses to reconfigure and recontextualize space and time orientations in architectural discourse beyond the normative.”

Winners will present their work in an online lecture series and exhibition in June. Each lecture will feature presentations from two winners, followed by a live discussion and Q&A. Winners will create installations of their work to be presented in an online exhibition on Coffman’s lecture is on June 13; Wulfman’s is on June 20. Learn more about this year’s winners and register to attend the lecture series at

Previous Architectural League Prize winners from U-M are: Xavi L. Aguirre (2022), Cyrus Peñarroyo (2019), Anya Sirota (2018), El Hadi Jazairy (2017), Thomas Moran and Clark Thenhaus (2015), Adam Fure (2014), Andrew Holder (2014), Wesley McGee (2013), Catie Newell (2011), Geoff Thun and Kathy Velikov (2008), Craig Borum and Karl Daubmann (2006), Keith Mitnick and Mireille Roddier (2004), Steven Mankouche (2003), and Monica Ponce de Leon (1997). View the list and see current faculty work.