Sunday, September 18, 2011

Branner winners announced

Well, the Branner winners were announced and, sadly, I am not one of them.  That's okay though, the fellowship went to three great and well deserved proposals:

Chris DeHenzel:  Stocking the City: This project will examine public urban food markets;  which often double as civic or transportation hubs and urban gathering places;  looking for urban and architectural opportunities for the design of alternatives to supermarket food distribution.  The precedents and lessons learned will complement a thesis proposal for a public market in the Bay Area.   

The committee found this to be a thoughtful and very well-structured proposal: the statement, methods, and itinerary are well coordinated and address important questions at both building scale and city scale, broadly encompassing spatial, social and economic issues.  The 14 primary sites will include locations in North America, South America, East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.  The itinerary site descriptions are cogently presented.                

Nathan John:  Spacehacking // City Tactics: Building on the ideas of Michel de Certeau and Peter Arlt, this project seeks to uncover the meanings and implications of temporary installations in public spaces; tactical insertions that often demonstrate potential for long-term results.  These installations typically link very local and ephemeral sites to larger and longer-lasting social, cultural, and urban issues.  The proposal is graphically rich and engaging.   

The committee commended the project for foregrounding the direct experience and spatial delight of architecture as the beginning point of the research.  From six home base cities, the itinerary proposes sites in 22 cities that will outline the ways in which public space is a natural arena for spatial and urban experimentation.                  

Marcy Monroe:  Synergetic Aid: Fusing Community, Agency, and Professional Technologies into Disaster Response: This project addresses the temporary camps that shelter the world’s 50 million refugees and displaced persons, often for periods far longer than initially intended.  The research will assess ways that design strategies for above-ground structures can be fused together with below-ground, low-cost sanitation infrastructure.  At 22 logically and architecturally selected primary sites, the research will evaluate the skin and envelope materials as well as the tensile structures of various tent elements, in addition to ways that sanitation elements are designed.  

The committee praised the critically important and timely social issues of this project, the prior preparation of the student, and the proposal’s elegant thinking, writing, and illustration. The proposed methods were detailed and sophisticated, and well-matched to the clearly articulated research questions.

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