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Mackenzie Muhonen (MArch ’19) awarded 2018 Kohn Pederson Fox Traveling Fellowship

Please join us in congratulating Mackenzie Muhonen (MArch ’19), one of three recipients of the 2018 Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF) Traveling Fellowship for her portfolio and proposal, "Learning from Love Motels: The Semiotics of a Civic Bedroom." Muhonen will travel to five cities in Brazil during a five-week trip this summer.

“Love motels are a ubiquitous architectural typology in Brazilian cities. A stop at the motel—or moteis for plural— is as commonplace as a visit to the market,” writes Muhonen. “As an urban system, the love motel generates a tectonic visibility that lacks scholarship.” Following Lauro Cavalcanti and Dinah Guimaraens’s seminal text, Arquitetura de Moteis Cariocas: Espaço e Organização Social, Muhonen will survey the semiotic language of Brazilian love motels.

Muhonen’s research in Brazil is the subject of her M.Arch thesis project in Fall 2017. “The goal is to offer a new reading of the Brazilian city, as predicated on an architecture of human desire, escapism, and the absurd,” she states. 

Muhonen studied Architectural History, Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to MIT, she spent a year in Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar at the Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro. View her portfolio submission for the Fellowship.

Previous recipients of the KPF Traveling Fellowship include Hoi Lung Damian Chan (MArch 2009), T. Buck Sleeper (MArch 2010), and Erioseto Hendranata (MArch 2014). Dennis (Hoi Kwan) Cheung and Alan Lu (MArch 2013) received an Honorable Mention in 2012, and Maya Shopova (MArch 2018) received an Honorable Mention in 2017. 

The other two winners of the 2018 fellowships are Eric Hsu (Rice University) and Eduardo Martinez-Mediero Rubio (Harvard GSD).This year’s jury included Andrea Simitch, Chair of the Department of Architecture at Cornell; Kiel Moe, Associate Professor of Architecture and Energy at Harvard GSD; Inaqui Carnicero of Columbia University GSAPP and Rica Studio; and Hana Kassem and Rob Whitlock, Principals at KPF.

Each year, KPF awards three travel grants to students in their penultimate year at one of 26 design schools in the United States. Winners of the annual competition are selected by portfolio review. The goal of the award is to allow students to broaden their education through a summer of travel before their final year at school. Each winner receives $10,000 in support of their travels.