2023 Napkin Sketch Awards

Winners Announced for the ALA 2023 Napkin Sketch Contest!
Architectural Ornamentation: The Art of the Detail

View the Award-Winning Sketches Below

The Napkin Sketch Contest was an opportunity for licensed architects, architecture associates, architecture students, and suppliers to the built environment, to showcase their design expertise. A panel of experts judged the 5-inch by 5-inch sketches based on creativity, originality and technical skill. Participants were tasked with presenting a sketch showing their interpretation of the art of the detail, and what architectural ornamentation means to them.

View the winning sketches below, along with notes from our esteemed judges.



Michael Henning, Pappageorge Haymes Partners

Judges' Notes:
  • Interesting subject, ambiguity
  • Use of negative space and napkin texture as good framework, exceed as dynamic element
  • Use of black grey red, Corbusiesque
  • Quite creative inventive object
  • Graphically lovely, perfectly placed


Scott Conwell, International Masonry Institute

Judges' Notes:
  • Exceptional analytical sketch
  • Expressive line work
  • Takes advantage of medium
  • Well composed
Michael Henning, Pappageorge Haymes Partners

Judges' Notes:
  • Graphically very strong
  • Dynamic
  • Sky circle
  • Good technical skill
  • Structure Ornament
Gregory Klosowski, Pappageorge Haymes Partners

Judges' Notes:
  • Quite elegant
  • Use of negative space lovely
  • Great line weight in all the right spots
  • A great deal of dimension in this little tiny drawing
  • Captured energy in source material
Brian Kidd, Gensler

Judges' Notes:
  • Entertaining
  • Energetic
  • Nice composition
  • Nice riff on art deco relief
  • Creative

Kristine Anderson, PKA Architecture

Judges' Notes:
  • Graphically so strong
  • About ornament in terms of shape, line, emphasis, space
  • A lot going on in this little square
  • A lot of dimension
  • A special graphic
Jan Clarence Concepcion, HuSarchitecture

Judges' Notes:
  • Maximum atmospheric visual communication in minimum space
  • Very dynamic
  • Loved use of color towards emotion of sketch
David Zentner

Judges' Notes:
  • Illustrative, loves how it tells a little narrative
  • Sweet in its simplicity
  • Drawing has nice notational quality, not so literal
Hannah Skistad, PKA Architecture

Judges' Notes:
  • Interesting graphically, dimensionally
  • Leads eye nicely

Conell Brandner, University of Maryland College Park

Judges' Notes:
  • Overall texture of ornament in various way
  • The way it effects the urban landscape
Angie Conwell, Illinois Institute of Technology

Judges' Notes:
  • It’s brilliant. Great use of color / old school coffee stain
  • Regulating lines, generating lines, hatching, emphasis of line, greys,
    blacks, whites
  • Strong composition, wonderful sense of proportion. Stopping sketch
    where color exists
  • Especially extraordinary for a student
  • Quite sophisticated on so many levels
Rae DeFrancesco, University of Maryland

Judges' Notes:
  • Well done, nice line weight, nature a great resource for ornament
  • Great sense of grace, motion
  • Insertion of ribbon adds creative interest
Sabrina Morera, Florida International University

Judges' Notes:
  • Good suggestion of interior / expanse beyond
  • Nice use of color
  • Tells a lot in a few strokes


Thank You to Our Judges:

Chair: Howard Hirsch, ALA, Principal, Hirsch MPG
Joshua Mings, AIA, Founder and Principal at Aggregate Studio
Lenore Weiss, Founder and Principal, Lenore Weiss Studios
Stephen Wierzbowski, FAIA, Wierzbowski, PLLC