MIT SA+P sweeps 2017 North American LaFargeHolcim Awards


MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) alumni and faculty were honored during the fifth annual LaFargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction, the most significant international competition in green construction. The awards are administered by the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, based in Zurich, Switzerland. North American Award winners were announced in Chicago on October 12, 2017.

Alumna Constance C. Bodurow, (SMArchS/MCP ’91), and her transdisciplinary design collaborative studio[Ci] took Gold—the top North American prize—for “Grassroots Microgrid: the Seebaldt Pilot” in Detroit, Michigan.  The proposed community-owned and managed infrastructure includes local renewable energy and food production, water and waste management, and strengthens civic empowerment. Bodurow has been working with the Detroit/48204 community and the organization It Starts at Home since 2013. “Taking the pocket vacancies normally characterized as the biggest problem in Detroit, the design turns them into an opportunity to create a compelling sustainable neighborhood,” praised the jury. Upon accepting the Gold award on behalf of her large team, Bodurow said: “We are humbled and thrilled! While we have always believed in our design agency to address the grand challenges, to have our work recognized by this significant prize allows us to move our collective vision into reality.” DUSP Senior Lecturer Karl Seidman and five MCP students were part of Bodurow’s 26-member team.

Professor in Practice Sheila Kennedy and her firm Kennedy Violich Architecture, Ltd., received the North American Bronze prize for “Net-zero greenhouse for Wellesley College, Boston, USA.”

Alumnus Mitchell Joachim (PhD, ‘06) and his firm Terreform ONE, received a North American Acknowledgement Prize for “Modular Edible Insect Farm”, New York City, USA.

Latin America regional awards honored former SA+P Dean and Professor Adèle Naudé Santos, and the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, Cambridge, MA, who received an Acknowledgement prize for “Affordable housing neighborhood with integrated workspaces”.

Projects awarded a Gold, Silver, or Bronze award in each of the five regions are subsequently qualified for the Global LafargeHolcim Awards competition. As the Foundation writes, these finalists are evaluated by a panel of independent experts of international stature engaged in the sustainable development of society, building processes, and building projects. The Global LafargeHolcim Awards Jury on which SA+P Dean Hashim Sarkis will sit, meets in March 2018 in Zurich and consists of: Alejandro Aravena (head of jury), David Adjaye, Xuemei Bai, Hashim Sarkis, Stuart Smith, Werner Sobek, Rolf Soiron, Brinda Somaya, and Marc Angélil.

This fifth cycle of the LafargeHolcim Awards attracted 5,085 entries by authors in 121 countries. The LaFargeHolcim Awards are divided into a regional and a global phase. The administration opens with five regional competitions, seeking entries allocated to region based on project location: Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

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November 1, 2017: Course IV Alumni Social (New York)

On November 1st, 2017, the MIT Club of New York and the MIT Architecture Affinity Group (MITArchA) hosted its second Course IV Alumni Social event in New York City. The event was hosted by Elliot Felix M.Arch ’05 and Adam Griff M.Arch ’03 at brightspot strategy, located in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The evening was conceived as a social event with a presentation component. Attendees had the opportunity to give short, rapid-fire talks focused on their personal or professional work. Presentations covered a wide range of topics including: data-based mapping, architecture, responsive toy design, and landscape urbanism. Many talks focused on companies founded by MIT alumni, highlighting the Institute’s unique entrepreneurial spirit.

Six alumni gave presentations. Arlene Ducao SM ’13 presented the work of her company, Multimer, which aggregates data from biosensors to create a unique understanding cities and neighborhoods. Byron Stigge SMArchS ’01 showed recent projects with his company, which designs and implements sustainable infrastructure and development projects across the globe. Elizabeth Silver M.Arch ’03 presented the Lower Don Lands Master Plan, a masterplan for Toronto which will transform an underdeveloped industrial area and re-integrate the Don River into the city.

Jonathan Bobrow SM’16 showed Troxes, an origami-inspired interactive toy, and Blinks, a tabletop game platform based on electronic tiles programmed as cellular automata. Ben Hizak MBA ’15 presented his work with Cherre, which aggregates real-estate data from multiple sources to provides detailed insight into asset value and viability. Katherine Chia M.Arch ’91 presented the work of her company, Desai Chia Architecture, which creates refined designs with expressive materials and details.

This event was intended to help foster an active Course IV alumni community in the New York City area and increase engagement between local alumni and SA+P. MITArchA plans to hold many more events in the New York City area in collaboration with the Club of New York.

Slice of MIT: Alumni Modernize Boston Architecture

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Article by Katherine J. Igoe (MIT Alumni Association). Reposted from Slice of MIT. See original article here.

In a recent roundupMetropolis magazine named greater Boston as one of 15 Best Design Cities in the world. Boston was praised for effectively contending with centuries of history while simultaneously balancing modernization and sustainability, all in dense space with ever-increasing population. MIT alumni from the School of Architecture + Planning have been at the forefront of this movement, creating some of its most modern, integrated spaces.

Metropolis also acknowledged the strong institutional connection of MIT to design in Boston. Principal of internationally recognized studio Höweler + Yoon, Meejin Yoon is also head of MIT’s Department of Architecture. One of Yoon’s most recent works, the Sean Collier Memorial, features prominently on MIT’s campus.

The original Cambridge Public Library has existed since 1888 and is flanked by historic streets and two parks that the Cambridge community wanted to retain. William Rawn MArch ’79 and Ann Beha MArch ’75, along with their respective firms, were faced with the challenge of preserving the surrounding space while undertaking much needed expansion.

“Many cities can get away with ‘object buildings,’ which stand on their own as the product of a design impulse,” says Rawn, who has also been involved with other striking design projects including the W Boston Hotel. “But we were creating a civic heart of the city, and the design had to integrate seamlessly.”

The new award-winning space, with a glass building joined to the original restoration, opened in 2009. Three times the size of the original structure, it nevertheless meshed with its surroundings; the library’s grass landscape abuts the grass of one park.

MIT graduates have been involved in the Boston architecture space for decades, most notably I.M. Pei ’40 and his design of the iconic John F. Kennedy Museum in the 1970s. But design has evolved since then.

Andrea Lamberti ’91, together with her firm Rafael Viñoly Architects, contributed to the design of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute as the spiritual sister to the Kennedy Museum, embracing Pei’s original vision while reflecting a more modern space and incorporating the building’s purpose as an educational resource.

Lamberti, along with Chan-Li Lin ’88, MArch ’90, was also involved in the design and construction of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

“There was a very strong commitment on the part of the owner and the public agencies to do something out of the box,” she said. “We improved the experience by allowing daylight in and making the walkways and communal areas pleasant spaces.”

Beha, whose firm also worked on preserving and restoring Jordan Hall and Liberty Hotel, also recently finished construction of an additional New England Conservatory building. America’s oldest conservatory of music, the redesign aims to breathe new life into campus—this is the first new building in 60 years.

Beha believes Boston’s history and scale work together, instead of at odds, with modern values. “I see more and more of the need to address resilience, and sustainable reuse of existing resources. There is a lot of new building, in step with a huge interest in making more of what we have,” she says.

This repurposing isn’t limited simply to buildings; Marie Law Adams MArch ’06 and her firm Landing Studio work in peripheral, under-utilized areas of the city to introduce public access and activities.

Her firm designed a new public park underneath I-93 with MassDOT called Underground at Ink Block. The award-winning project, unveiled this month, was covered in the Boston Globe.

Alumni say that SA+P continues to influence their design thinking. “Our architecture is architecture of the public realm,” says Rawn. “At MIT, you quickly learn how to become a student of the city.”

September 13, 2017: Accelerating Innovation: DesignX@MIT

On September 13, 2017, the MIT Club of New York, in collaboration with MITArchA (the MIT Architecture Alumni Affinity Group) hosted a talk by students and leaders of DesignX, a startup accelerator hosted within MIT’s School of Architecture + Planning (SA+P). Held at the New York office of Gensler (a sponsor of DesignX), the event drew enormous interest from New York-area alumni, with over seventy in attendance.

Jay Damask ’90, President of the Club of New York, and Rocco Giannetti, Principal at Gensler, introduced the event. Three DesignX leaders then spoke. Hashim Sarkis, Dean of SA+P, stated that DesignX was created to prepare students for an evolving profession. Dennis Frenchman MCP ’76, Class of 1922 Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Faculty Director of DesignX, made the case that schools cannot let students and their ideas “fall off the edge of the table” after graduation, and said that SA+P would continue to support DesignX entrepreneurs as they transitioned from students to professionals. Frenchman then stated that this relationship would operate in two directions, and invited alumni to participate in DesignX as mentors and champions of the program and the community. Gilad Rosenzweig MCP ’13, Executive Director of DesignX, gave a brief introduction as well.

Representatives of five DesignX startups then gave short presentations. Kim Smith MAS ’17 presented Learning Beautiful, which creates analog learning tools that teach children computer science concepts. Rachelle Villalon PhD ’17 discussed Hosta, which converts interior photographs into BIM-ready 3D models that facilitate home renovation. Ariana Salazar MCP ‘16 and Nissia Sabri SDM ’16 presented Bitsence, which uses analytics and remote sensing to help building owners understand how their spaces are used. Noelle Marcus MCP ‘17 and Rachel Goor MCP ’17 explained Nesterly, a community-driven digital marketplace which allows homeowners to rent spare rooms to young people at affordable rates in exchange for help with mutually determined tasks. Finally, Daniel Fink SMArchS ’17 presented Placeful, which combines design, computation, and development to reveal untapped opportunities in local communities, empowering homeowners to maximize the value of their properties. Andrea Chegut, Head of Research at DesignX then gave a short talk on the role of data and analytics within the DesignX universe.

The talk concluded with a question-and-answer session moderated by Gilad Rosenzweig. Alumni in attendance asked many detailed and specific questions regarding technical and business issues, with some alumni expressing interest in supporting the activities of DesignX and its cohort.

Special thanks to Gensler and the MIT Class of 1960 for their support of DesignX.

Innovation + Technology: A Talk by Marcel Botha SMArchS '06 (with video)

To see video of the event click this link or scroll to the bottom of this page.

On June 06, 2017, the MIT Club of New York and MITArchA, (the MIT Architecture Alumni Affinity Group) and CAMIT (the Council for the Arts at MIT) hosted a talk by Marcel Botha, SM ’06 for a talk about his company, 10xBeta, an innovative product design consultancy focusing on consumer and healthcare products. The event was held at Arup New York, located in Manhattan’s Financial District.

Marcel Botha began the talk with a brief introduction to his company, followed by a description of NewLab, the Brooklyn-based technology and innovation incubator space in which 10xBeta resides. He described the resources available to NewLab affiliated companies and the unique community which inhabits the space. Botha then spoke about his company in greater detail, describing its operating method and philosophy, and gave examples of various working arrangements for products in which 10xBeta has been involved. He noted that his MIT education helped his career immensely, stating that the Institute helped him learn (among other things) how to first define a problem before looking for solutions.

Having described his background and approach, Botha showed attendees a number of products developed by 10xBeta, including: Beatbot, a programmable self-driving robot designed to motivate athletes by giving them a target to beat (Usain Bolt is a fan); Footprintless, a sneaker prototype created from CO2 recovered from energy production (each pair of shoes includes 78 grams of captured carbon dioxide); Timesulin, a digital add-on to a standard insulin pen that tracks injection schedules to assist diabetic patients; and Spuni, an infant spoon designed to trigger a baby’s innate latching instinct to improve feeding and reduce mess.

Alumni in attendance asked many detailed and insightful questions after the talk concluded, touching on topics including management, technology, partnerships, and the like, creating a lively and stimulating conversation that extended well into the evening.

[ See video below ]

2017 Awards Ceremony at MIT Architecture

Reposted from See original article here.

Congratulations to all of our 2016-2017 Department of Architecture graduates! 

Special congratulations go to the following students who were the recipients of the 2017 Departmental Awards:

to an Architecture Senior for Academic Excellence
Sofie Belanger

to an Architecture Senior for Academic Excellence and Achievement in Design
Maria E. Roldan

in recognition of promise for the future in the General Field of Building Construction
Noor K. Khouri

to a student who demonstrates excellence in building technology research
Carlos Cerezo Davila

to a Female Third-Year Doctoral Student in History, Theory and Criticism
Jessica A. Varner

to a Year-Two Master of Architecture Student for Outstanding Academic and Design Achievement
Anne M. Graziano

to a Year-Two Master of Architecture Woman for Outstanding Academic and Design Achievement
Mackenzie P. Muhonen

to a Master of Architecture student whose thesis proposal best exemplifies the spirit of Professor Grimshaw
Sean Phillips
Mary P. Lynch-Lloyd
Ching Ying Ngan
Maya Shopova

to a Graduating Master of Architecture Student for Service, Leadership and Promise of Professional Merit
Jessica Y. Jorge

to a Graduating Master of Architecture student for Achievement in Architectural Design
Jessica N. Pace

to a Graduating Master of Architecture Student for Academic Excellence and a Thesis in which the Design Recognizes the Expanding Responsibility of Architecture
Blanca E. Abramek

to a Master of Architecture student for Academic Excellence
Nicolo V. Guida
Jessica Y. Jorge

to the Top Ranking Graduating Master of Architecture Student
Kristina E. Eldrenkamp

Ali Khodr
Oscar Rosello Gil

to a Graduating Master of Science in Architecture Studies Student for Highest Academic Achievement
Akshita Sivakumar

Jeffrey Heller ’64 ’67 FAIA receives the inaugural MITArchA Alumni Achievement award in San Francisco on May 18, 2017 (with video)

Fifty years after completing his Masters in Architecture and Planning at MIT, Jeffrey Heller is being honored with the FIRST MITArchA Alumni Achievement Award.

Jeffrey Heller ’64 ’67 FAIA is president and founder of Heller Manus Architects. Since its beginning in 1984, the firm has established a reputation for influencing architecture and urban design in the San Francisco Bay Area, nationally and internationally.

As SAP Dean Hashim Sarkis and Department of Architecture Head Meejin Yoon noted in their letter of congratulations, Jeffrey Heller has “set a high standard for those who follow [him], and ably represent MIT’s guiding principle of mens et manus, and our permeating value of a better world.”

The initiative to honor distinguished MITArchA alumni was conceived and implemented by Pamela Tang (nee Chang Sing) ’83 ’85, MITArchA’s founding board member and Vice-President of Programs. The initiative quickly received the support of the MITArchA board, the MIT Alumni Office and the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.

The ceremony and reception at the Olympic Club in San Francisco sold out quickly as MIT alumni and the AIA San Francisco community gathered to celebrate this honor bestowed on a fellow alumnus, a Fellow of the AIA, and a dear friend of the community. John Chisholm ’75 ‘76, MIT Corporation Trustee and immediate Past President of the MIT Alumni Association, presented the Joint Letter of the Award recognition from the SAP Dean and Architecture Head, and the original MITArchA Award designed and fabricated by MITArchA President Jacob Kain ’00.

The evening was livestreamed by the acoustical engineering firm of Charles Salter ’69 which beamed the event across the evening skies to Architecture students gathered in Building 7’s Long Lounge in Cambridge and Architecture alumni across the country and the world.

MITArchA at AIA Orlando

MITArchA would like to thank everyone who came to the reception hosted at the AIA Convention in Orlando by Mina Marefat, MITArchA VP of Communications and John Klein, Research Scientist at MIT. More than twice the number initially registered attended the gathering and were encouraged to join.

Several attendees had been to the AIA Philadelphia as well as a number who came for the first time. The mission and activities of MITArchA in various cities including New York, Hong Kong, Detroit, DC, and Cambridge and was discussed and John Klein (who teaches at MIT) gave a synopsis of activities at SA+P.

Building an Affinity with Architecture

Article by Nancy Duvergne Smith (MIT Alumni Association). Reposted with edits from Slice of MIT. See original article here.

MITArchA tour of I.M. Pei’s National Gallery.

MITArchA tour of I.M. Pei’s National Gallery.

When some 45 MIT alumni and friends met April 2 for a private tour of the newly renovated East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, they were doing more than celebrating the 100th birthday of I.M. Pei. ’40. True, Pei remains one of the world’s most influential architects and the building is one of his masterpieces. But the tour, led by Mina Marefat PhD ’88, was also a perk of participation in MITArchA, a two-year old affinity group dedicated to sharing common interests of School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) alumni, faculty, and students, as well as all MIT alumni and friends.

Marefat, who teaches at Georgetown University and is the principal of Design Research, based in Washington DC, was a perfect guide for the behind-the-scenes tour of the building’s Center for Advanced Study since she was a fellow there. She commented on Pei’s groundbreaking design that accommodated the galleries and public spaces for the museum as well as its administrative, curatorial, educational and scholarly needs.

Jeffrey Heller ’64, MArch ’67 will receive the MITArchA Alumni Achievement Award in May.

Jeffrey Heller ’64, MArch ’67 will receive the MITArchA Alumni Achievement Award in May.

The National Gallery East Wing tour was one of several MITArchA gatherings this spring. On April 28, the Alumni Association group will join with the Department of Architecture to host a casual gathering at the AIA convention in Orlando, Florida. On May 18 in San Francisco, Jeffrey Heller ’64, MArch ’67 will receive the Inaugural MITArchA Alumni Achievement Award. On June 6, MITArchA members will be invited to a talk in New York City by Marcel Botha, SMArchS ‘06. Learn more about upcoming MITArchA events here.

“MITArchA was founded in 2015 to represent the more than 5,000 MIT architecture alumni world-wide by a group of course IV alumni,” says Jacob Kain MArch ’00, the group’s president and a project architect at Elkus Manfredi Architects in Boston. “It was time to organize our alumni community in order to develop a greater awareness of one another and to connect to each other, the School of Architecture and Planning, and the Institute. "Our events offer opportunities for our alumni to share their work with the MIT community, often by collaborating with established regional MIT alumni clubs. In our short history, we have held events from coast to coast and as far away as Hong Kong.”

Course IV Alumni touring the Detroit Center for Design and Technology as part of MITArchA's recent ACSA event.

Course IV Alumni touring the Detroit Center for Design and Technology as part of MITArchA's recent ACSA event.

The group also celebrates MIT’s role as the first professional school of architecture. “The first woman to graduate with a degree in architecture was from MIT and the first professionally credentialed African American architect was an MIT alum,” says Marefat, communications vice president of the group. “MIT invited cutting-edge architects like Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, and I.M. Pei to build modern buildings on campus, a trend that has continued well into the 21st century with a campus that represents a physical history of our profession. All this to say that as we face unprecedented challenges today, bringing together MIT architecture alumni helps remind us of the privilege we all share and the responsibility we all bear toward the well being of our planet and its inhabitants.”

Learn more about MITArchA and its activities.

MITArchA Tour of the National Gallery of Art East Building

Some 45 MIT alumni and guests met at the National Gallery of Art on Sunday, April 2 to tour the newly renovated exhibition spaces in the East Building.  This event was organized by MITArchA in collaboration with the MIT Club of Washington D.C. to commemorate the upcoming centennial birthday of celebrated architect and MIT alum, I.M. Pei ‘40.  Commissioned in 1968 and completed in 1978, the building remains an iconic addition to the National Mall in Washington honoring the historic legacy of both Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who conceived the city of Washington, and John Russell Pope, the architect of the National Gallery’s first building. 

Mina Marefat, MIT alum and VP of Communications with MITArchA led the tour, which included the Library and the Center for Advanced Study wing of the East Building, rarely seen by visitors.  Having been a pre-doctoral fellow at CASVA, Mina discussed the museum’s scholarly mission and the successful architectural solution I.M.Pei provided in his design to accommodate the galleries and public spaces for the museum as well as administrative, curatorial, educational, and research needs.  The open atrium of the library recalls the lofty symbolism found in the great libraries of the world.

Pei’s groundbreaking design solved the spatial needs of the museum in a very difficult trapezoidal space through a triangular geometry resulting in a modern masterpiece that celebrates the Mall and its symbols.  Setting the building in its historic context, Mina discussed the public-private partnership that has been the hallmark of this extraordinary institution through the role of its patrons, Andrew Mellon, Paul Mellon and Ailsa Bruce Mellon as well as that of the museum directors—especially J. Carter Brown, whom Mina knew personally and whose contribution was invaluable to the architectural success of the East Building. 

The newly renovated interior offers an ingenious solution that upgrades the mechanical systems, meets accessibility requirements, and expands the gallery space by 12,260 square feet within the existing structure. It includes the creation of an outdoor terrace that offers a magnificent view of Pennsylvania Avenue and Washington adorned with a 15-foot electric blue rooster by Katharina Fritsch.  

The new galleries, dedicated to Mark Rothko, to Alexander Calder, and to temporary exhibitions now showing the work of contemporary artist Theaster Gates work seamlessly with the original Pei design. The triangular geometry of the new stairways improve access to each of the five levels in each of the three towers and while the original monumental stairs and escalators beckon the visitor to enjoy the many vistas the building offers to the city of Washington.  The indoor-outdoor fluidity and the sense of Zen in the main atrium, graced by the enormous Calder mobile, is magnified as the changing light filters through the large triangular skylights; it is a reminder, a space-time assurance to the visitor of both season and time of day. The East Building, showcasing the very best of our national collection of art, has aged gracefully as it reaches almost 40 and is now rejuvenated for another few decades. 

The tour ended with a gathering at the Terrace Café around a cake modeled in the form of the East Building.  All attendees expressed their appreciation for the East Building and for its architect.  Happy Birthday I. M. Pei!  MITArchA and the MIT Club of Washington pay tribute to an illustrious architect whose contribution to Washington architecture, to world architecture, to modernism and its lasting tenets makes the MIT community proud.