Research Awards and Travel Fellowships Presentations

Recipients of the 2017 Research Awards and Travel Fellowships, including the Schlossman Research Award, the Louis C. Rosenberg Travel Fellowship, the Julian Beinart Research Award, and the Marvin E. Goody Award, present their work to the department in April 2018. More information on each award and applications is available here. 

Schlossman Research Award

Jackson Davidow, PhD candidate in the History, Theory and Criticism of Art
Viral Visions: Art, Epidemiology, and Spatial Practices in the Global AIDS Pandemic

Davidow made substantial progress on a chapter from his dissertation, Viral Visions: Art, Epidemiology, and Spatial Practices in the Global AIDS Pandemic. This chapter, “Diaspora as Virus: Queer Art and Criticism in the British Black Arts Movement," considers the impact of the AIDS pandemic on emergent artistic and intellectual production in 1980s London and across diasporic contexts. Archival and interview-based research this past summer has revealed key historical insights into the complex interconnections between the black diaspora, queer sexuality, and HIV/AIDS as they were addressed in the visual field, cultural criticism, and political organizing.

Jonah Ross-Mars, SMArchS Computation 2018
If These Files Could Talk: Extracting Meaningful Patterns from Digital Archives Using Novel Forensic Techniques

What can be gleaned from examining the data embedded in our digital drawings and 3D models? If These Files Could Talk uses a novel technique for analyzing digital files to uncover the partial history of a file, including the sequence in which components were created and how they were translated into other forms by software algorithms. The project analyzes materials from the digital archive at the Canadian Center for Architecture to assemble a new kind of data set which can shed light on the evolving relationship between designers and their digital tools since the so-called digital-turn of the 1990s.

Danniely Staback, MArch 2018
Building Culture: An Inquiry into Automated Architecture

My summer research travel focused on visiting and experiencing spaces of production that may foreshadow the future of architectural fabrication, and researching the automation of these production processes. Our labor-saving technologies are pushing the limits of what is possible in terms of production, efficiency, and profit to unprecedented levels; the role of the human in production is constantly re-cast in function of profit. The romantic machine-operator parity is long gone and there is a decreasing need for people in shop-floors. With visits to New York, Chicago, Detroit, Kentucky, and Missouri, this travel grant helped me grasp the extents and ambition of a world of production that we seldom address in architecture. Unsurprisingly, it is not enough to think about making. We must think of the structures required and the effects that are triggered when we set out to make.


The Louis C. Rosenberg (1913) Travel Fellowship

Shane Reiner-Roth, SMArchS Architectural Design 2018
Tropical Islands in German Winters: The Introverted Climate of Krausnick-Gros Wasserburg

The Tropical Islands Resort, otherwise known as Tropical Islands, is a water park built inside former blimp hangar 30 miles south of Berlin, Germany. It contains four beach-themed areas (The Tropical Village, The Rainforest, The Tropical Sea, and the Bali Lagoon) and a number of corresponding amenities. Enclosing more than 710,000 square feet, the Tropical Islands Resort is the largest uninterrupted volume in the world, the largest indoor waterpark in the world, and it contains the world’s largest indoor rainforest. In an era marked by serious debate concerning climate change, material scarcity and the conflicts of globalization, this thesis considers the Tropical Islands Resort in relation to its contemporary context and the parallel histories of its precedents. These overlapping building types - including bunkers, greenhouses, world’s fairs, theme parks, and experiments in social ecology - give evidence to the gradual expansion and furnishing of the architectural interior as a formidable response to the modernizing world. If staging is the method by which commodities stand in for deep-seeded, collectively felt phenomena and are put on display, architecture is the stage itself. The Tropical Islands Resort can, in this way, be understood as a stage set, and is therefore a significant contribution to the aesthetic economy of late modernity. Tropical Islands is a testament to human ingenuity and denial thousands of years in the making, and it is absolutely a sign of things to come.

Emily Watlington, SMArchS History, Theory, and Criticism 2018
Travel to the Adrian Piper Research Archive in Berlin

Part of a thesis project titled “Pretty Gross: Aestheticized Abjection in Feminist Video Art, 1996-2010,” Emily Watlington traveled to Berlin to work in the archives of and view an installation by artist Adrian Piper, whose work serves as a historical anchor for the project. In the early 1970s, Piper performed a series titled Catalysis in which she, for instance, soaked herself in cod liver oil and road public transit, and later rummaged through a ketchup-filled purse to fetch her bus fare. The thesis ultimately looks at the work of a later generation of artists who have tooled the dialectic of desire and disgust (found in Catalysis) as a feminist strategy.


Julian Beinart Research Award

Tiffany Ferguson, MCP 2018 
Local Public Space, Global Spectacle: A Case Study on Africa’s First Shipping Container Shopping Center

Ferguson spent three weeks in Southern Africa exploring economies of tourism, recreation, and consumption. Originally interested in the ways that recreation, leisure, entertainment, and public space land use types are developed in cities in Africa, Tiffany set out to understand the typologies of these spaces in Johannesburg and around. By visiting malls, parks, commercial areas, markets, and designated tourism sites, observing the comings and goings of visitors, and compiling anecdotes from residents, Tiffany chose 27 Boxes as a case study to interrogate the local social and economic development implications of this site which functions as a retail shopping center, a market, and a public space -- a special hybrid that has proven quite difficult to optimize and make viable for all stakeholders involved.

Image: On Wednesday nights at 27 Boxes, musicians and pop up food and craft vendors assemble to add an extra jolt of flair to the already unique shopping center experience. 27 Boxes in South Africa’s first retail center made entirely of shipping containers.

Marvin E. Goody Award

Zach Cohen, SMArchS Architectural Design 2018
Hold Up: Machine Delay in Architectural Design

Machine delay is the time taken by a machine to do its work; it is a phenomenon found in all machines. Normally, we accept this delay in order for machines to function as expected. In other words: we wait. This research makes visible this latent, yet ubiquitous, phenomenon and our unknowing acquiescence to it. Further, and more importantly, it proposes machine delay as a technique to visualize the material consequences of digital systems. Through this visualization, architectural designers can synthesize temporal models of materials and digital fabrication machines—as well as the delays inherent to both—to envision processes of materialization, reconfigurations of design workflows, and subjective approaches to digital making.