SoA Announces 2018-19 Faculty Research Grants

May 21, 2018

The School of Architecture (SoA) announces the 2018-19 Faculty Research Grants. The objective of the grant program is to advance creative inquiry and research in the SoA. Since 2012, this program has allocated more than $125,000 to 15 faculty in support of their creative work.

The SoA will fund three awards this academic year. The recipients of the 2018-19 Faculty Research Grants are:

Assistant Professor Rachel Dickey, "Huggable Architecture: A Responsive Environment that Rethinks Body, Culture and Design"

Reviewer Comments:  The strength of the proposal is in its ambition to combine the analogue material of cast gypsum and fabrics with a digital constellation of sensors and micro-controllers. The project proposal aligns appropriately with the grant award’s goal of advancing excellence in the built environment through innovative design practices. This is due largely to the conceptual rigor of the project, the manner in which technology and material is being explored and the proposed final applications. The author’s command of the literature around their subject area is equally impressive to the clarity of their proposal.

Assistant Professor Dimitris Papanikolaou, "Mediated Architecture: Integrating Electronics into Materials and Assemblies"

Reviewer Comments:  The proposal touches on the topic of intelligent architecture, artifacts and environments which will become an evermore important topic as AI and Robotics become more ingrained within our daily lives. There are several important aspects of the proposal, first being "integration." The proposal addresses a very important and emerging area, intelligent or smart buildings and the Internet of Things, and aims to investigate the role architecture can play in this emerging area and the potential this research area could offer to architectural designers.

Associate Professor Peter Wong, "Vague Space: Tracing Eyes, Edges, and the Indeterminate Limits of the Architectural Interior"  

Reviewer Comments:  The proposal is innovative in its coupling of user perception and experience with both a theoretical analysis of space and practical issues such as improving the perception of more compact spaces. The field of architecture severely lacks a rigorous and scientific foundation of how we perceive, understand, and visually order space. This study promises to make an authentic contribution, based on collected evidence and data, on improving the relationship between humans and the spaces in which they dwell. The references to Schmarsow offer a great window into the concepts the author is working with...

Proposals were externally blind peer-reviewed applying four criteria: clarity, creativity, relevance and feasibility.  

The 2018 Grant Cycle Reviewers were:

Marwan Ghandour
Professor Marwan Ghandour is Director of the School of Architecture at LSU. He is also a partner in the Beirut-based architectural firm Bawader Architects. His research and practice include collaborations with landscape architects, planners, graphic designers, and transportation engineers. He is the author of several academic projects, including comparative urban regeneration strategies in the global south (Beirut, Lima, Kigali); the expansive space of the modern state and its urban management tools (American Midwest and Latin America); and design at the geo-communal scale where ecology, urbanization, infrastructure, and politics are integrated (Middle East, East Africa, and Latin America).

Wassim Jabi
Dr. Wassim Jabi is Associate Professor and Chair of the Digital Design Group in the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University. His research focuses on the intersection of parametric design, the representation of space, building performance simulation, and robotic fabrication in architecture. He is author of “Parametric Design for Architecture” (Laurence King, 2013). He is Past-President of ACADIA (‘05, ‘06) and is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC). He has received several large research grants: NSF on design creativity ($250,000), Leverhulme Trust on 3D Modeling ($420,000) and EPSRC on Computing Craft ($100,000).

James Kerestes
James Kerestes, RA is Assistant Professor of Architecture at Ball State University and founder of blok+WERK studio, an interdisciplinary research lab in the field of architecture and design. He has taught digital media and emergent technologies at Pratt Institute, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania. His current research focuses on the abandonment of typological obligations in favor of formations generated through computational design processes. Drawing on design communication, digital fabrication, graphic design and material research, James teaches graduate and undergraduate studios and seminars rooted in the rigorous exploration of design inquiry.

Mara Marcu
Mara Marcu is Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati and Founder of MMXIII, a research-oriented collaborative whose focus ranges from optical illusions of volume to mathematical experiments to emergent primitives. Her teaching and research focuses on digital and material workflows that connect design, fabrication, and culture-specific topics. She explores the psychological charge of architecture using advanced technology tools. Her work has been published by ACTAR, IJAEC, ACADIA and NCBDS. She is also a graduate of the International Master Class with Glenn Murcutt (Australia), Ghost Lab 7 with Brian MacKay-Lyons (Canada) and the recipient of the UVA Fellowship in 2011.

Adam Marcus
Adam Marcus, RA is Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts, where he co-directs the Architectural Ecologies Lab. He is also a partner in Futures North, a public art collaborative dedicated to exploring the aesthetics of data in which new technologies can interface with longstanding architectural traditions of craft, materiality, ornament, and pattern. He directs “Variable Projects,” an award-winning design and research studio that operates at the intersection of architecture, computation, and fabrication. He chaired “Digital Provocations: Emerging Computational Approaches to Pedagogy + Practice” and in 2013 was one of the '30 Most Admired Educators' (Design Intelligence).

Ute Poerschke
Dr. Ute Poerschke, RA is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Architecture at Penn State. She is also Principal of the firm Friedrich-Poerschke-Zwink Architekten | Stadtplaner in Munich and co-editor of the architectural journal Wolkenkuckucksheim | Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. Her research focuses on the relationship of architecture and technology, the theory of functionalism, and architectural design as a process of integration. She is author of “Architectural Theory of Modernism: Relating Functions and Forms (Routledge, 2016). She teaches architectural design and technical systems integration and has previously taught at TUB and TUM (1999-2005).

Janice Shimizu
Janice Shimizu, AIA, is Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director at Ball State University. She is also Principal of Shimizu + Coggeshall Architects which focuses on design innovation and sustainability. Prior to joining S+Ca, Janice worked as a project architect at SmithGroup Los Angeles and as a designer at Hodgetts + Fung, Guthrie + Buresh, and Morphosis Architects. In this capacity, she has worked on an array of programs, scales, and conditions: theatres, science buildings, high schools, and multiple residences. She teaches design studio and design communication media classes and previously served on the faculty at the University of Southern California.

Nora Wendl
Nora Wendl is Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico. She is co-editor of “Contemporary Art About Architecture” (Ashgate, 2013; reprint: Routledge, 2016). Her work is also published in 306090, Architecture and Culture: Journal of the Architectural Humanities Research Association, Flyway, Forty-Five, JAE, Offramp, On Site: Review, Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, and Thresholds. She has presented, performed, exhibited and held residencies in numerous venues including the Biennale Sessions at La Biennale di Venezia 2014 and at Tin House Writers Workshop 2017. From 2014-2017, she served on the editorial board of the JAE.

Andrew John Wit
Andrew John Witt is Assistant Professor of Digital Practice at Temple University and Co-Founder of WITO*: Laboratory for Intelligent Environments, an interdisciplinary research group that operates on the fringe of design, technology and robotics. His research focuses on environmentally adaptive/intelligent building design processes and systems through the integration of lightweight composites, digital tools/fabrication + robotics. He is author of “Towards a Robotic Architecture” (ORO Editions, 2018) and recipient of the 2013 Guangzhou Vanke Project of the Year. He has previously practiced in the offices of Tsushima Design Studio, Atelier Bow Wow and Toyo Ito Associates in Tokyo.  

Kimberly Zarecor
Dr. Kimberly Zarecor is Associate Professor, Undergraduate Coordinator and Director of the B.A. in Interdisciplinary Design at Iowa State. She is author of “Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960” (Pittsburgh Press, 2011), an official selection for the Book Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale.  She is also a Faculty Fulbright Research Fellow and a 2013 Erasmus Mundus Fellow. She was recently awarded a Smart & Connected Communities Planning Grant for “Data-driven Framework for Smart Decision-Making in Small and Shrinking Communities” (NSF, $100,000). She teaches history/theory courses on modern architecture and housing.