FIT Honors SHoP Architects with the 2016 Lawrence Israel Prize

SHoP Architects.FIT Academic Building
SHoP Architects: rendering of new FIT Academic Building currently in design development phase

The Interior Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has named SHoP Architects the 2016 recipient of the Lawrence Israel Prize. The prize, endowed by the late architect Lawrence J. Israel, has been given annually since 1998 to an individual or firm whose ideas and work enrich FIT Interior Design students’ course of study.  Each year, the award recipients are invited to give a public talk at FIT.

Coren Sharples, AIA, principal, SHoP
Coren Sharples, AIA, principal, SHoP

This year, Coren Sharples, AIA, principal, SHoP, on Apr. 14 accepted the award and delivered a talk entitled “In Practice,” in which she discussed large scale projects that bridge communities and bring design to a different level, as well as the design process and the use of technology in that process ― something the firm is known for.

SHoP Architects was founded in 1996 with a goal to harness the power of diverse expertise in the design of buildings and environments that improve the quality of public life. Since then, SHoP has modeled a new way forward with its unconventional approach to design. At the heart of the firm’s methodology is a willingness to question accepted patterns of practice, coupled with the courage to expand, where necessary, beyond the architect’s traditional roles.

Sharples is a founding principal of SHoP whose interest and broad expertise in material expression at the tactile level has led her to oversee the work of the firm’s interior design group. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business and management from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University. Sharples is integral to the creation of comprehensive solutions that consider design at every scale, as exemplified in her work on the Barclays Center, Google’s Mountain View headquarters offices, the Botswana Innovation Hub, and FIT’s new academic building, among many other projects. Her attention to detail comes from a deep understanding and passion for craft; coupled with SHoP’s expertise in digital fabrication and construction technology.

One of SHoP’s goals for FIT’s new academic building is to create an iconic structure that will form a lasting identity for the college. The project ― a ten-story, 98,000-square-foot structure, providing much-needed additional smart classrooms, studios, student assembly space, and administrative offices ― intends to reach LEED Platinum and offers numerous opportunities for sustainable design. The building incorporates a photovoltaic, solar collection wall as a roof feature, contributing to the overall campus energy supply. The building’s design comprises two green roofs, and will allow the trash and sanitation functions to be brought inside the structure, eliminating any associated hardships resulting from outdoor storage.

Past Lawrence Israel Prize honorees are:

2015    Tony Chi
2014    LOT-EK
2013    Roman and Williams
2012    Diller Scofidio + Renfro
2011    David Rockwell
2010    Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis
2009    Gaetano Pesce
2008    AvroKO
2007    Lindy Roy
2006    Jamie Drake
2005    Adam D. Tihany
2004    Bromley-Caldari
2003    Vicente Wolf
2002    Billie Tsien
2001    Clodagh
2000    Margo Grant Walsh, Gensler
1999    John F. Saladino
1998    Charles Gwathmey

FIT’s Interior Design program, named by DesignIntelligence as one of the country’s top ten interior design programs, by as among the top ten programs in the world, and by as the number one interior design program in New York City, has been preparing students for success for more than 50 years. This rigorous, multidisciplinary program combines the academic study of the history and theory of interior design with practical, hands-on projects. In classes taught by industry professionals, students learn drafting techniques, computer modeling, lighting, and materials and methods, with an emphasis on sustainability, user health, and safety.

FIT is a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology, with a wide range of programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Part of the State University of New York, the college offers nearly 50 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees. Visit