MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


The School of Architecture and Planning deals with a far wider range of fields and issues than its name might suggest. In addition to the Department of Architecture (the oldest such department in the country), and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, it houses the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, the Media Laboratory, the Center for Real Estate, the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. There are many cross-connections among these units, and together they address issues of the human environment–in all its aspects–on a very broad front.

The School was extremely active during the 1999—00 academic year. There were particularly exciting developments in faculty hiring, in initiation of new research and teaching ventures, and in improvement of physical facilities.


The strength of the faculty continued to grow during 1999—00, and there were important faculty appointments in all units of the school.

In the Department of Architecture Ann Pendleton-Jullian and Andrew Scott were granted tenure. Julie Dorsey also received tenure and will now divide her teaching between the Department of Architecture and the Department of Electronical Engineering and Computer Science. John Fernandez joined the Building Technology group as an Assistant Professor. Internationally acclaimed architect and alumnus Charles Correa was appointed the new Bemis Professor. Two new Assistant Professor appointments were made in the History, Theory, and Criticism group: Erica Naginski, a specialist in French nineteenth century art, and Arindam Dutta, an expert on Indian architecture and colonial institutions.

In the Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) Ted Selker, a former IBM Fellow, was appointed Associate Professor and director of the Media Lab’s new Context-Aware Computing Group. Deb Roy, who recently received his Ph.D. from the Media Lab’s Perceptual Computing Group, was named Assistant Professor and leader of the new Cognitive Machines Research Group. Justine Cassell, head of the Media Lab’s Gesture and Narrative Language Group, was promoted to Associate Professor without tenure. Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Media Lab’s Physics and Media Group, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Joseph Jacobson, who heads the Media Lab’s Nanomedia Group, was promoted to Associate Professor without tenure. John Maeda, head of the Media Lab’s Aesthetics and Computation Group was promoted to Associate Professor without tenure. Mitchel Resnick, director of the Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) Associate Professor Timothy Riddiough was granted tenure and Terry Szold was promoted to Adjunct Associate Professor. Keith Hampton was selected to join the Department as an Assistant Professor of Technology, Community and Urban Sociology. Distinguished Professor Anne Whiston Spirn accepted a joint appointment in DUSP and the Department of Architecture where she will teach landscape architecture and planning.

An overriding concern and goal for the School is to increase the diversity of our faculty and students. Over the past few years, with help from the Provost's special programs, we've had great success in attracting women and minorities to the School. We continue to apply aggressive recruitment efforts in every faculty search.


Plans for the new seven-story Media Lab complex, designed by world-renowned architect Fumihiko Maki, are moving ahead. The complex will house three centers: the Okawa Center for children, learning and developing nations, a center focused on the underlying science and technology needed to merge digital with physical bits, and a center dedicated to arts and expression. The scheduled date of completion for the new complex is 2003.

Renovations were completed in Building N51, transforming a former classroom and corridor area into a cohesive, highly networked research cluster uniting House-n, the Emergent Design Group, and the Design Computation Group. The new space has double height, suitable for large-scale mockups of experimental interiors. It opens into a contiguous faculty office and student workstation suite modeled on similar spaces in the Media Lab. An expanded classroom in N51-348 was also created and much needed security upgrades were made in Buildings N51 and N52.

An office for the ArchNet project was established in a newly renovated space in Building 10-322. This space includes one private office and built-in workstations in an open outer office.

At the Center for Real Estate (CRE,) the Blakeley Lecture Hall was completely renovated and now includes a state-of-the-art computer projection system.


Departments throughout the School continued to innovate in response to emerging conditions and opportunities.

In September 1999 an ambitious project called ArchNet was launched at the School of Architecture and Planning, in close cooperation with The MIT Press and with support from The Aga Khan Trust for Culture. ArchNet is an extensive online community resource dedicated to architecture, urban design, and urban development with a special focus on the Islamic world. It will be made accessible to scholars, practitioners and interested non-specialists through the Internet. More information can be found at

In the Department of Architecture a student exchange program with the Technical University Delft was established. The undergraduate program benefited from attention to its core curriculum and enthusiastic faculty advisors. There were notable improvements in undergraduate architectural studio work. The Building Technology (BT) group collaborated with Harvard’s Graduate School of Design to create a web site for advanced building envelope systems. Special programming and increasing collaboration between studio professors and Building Technology professors created an opportunity for significant teaching and research in several key areas including sustainability.

During the 1999—00 academic year, the Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) admitted the first 14 students into its new, alternative freshman-year program. The students enrolled in Media Lab recitation sections of core freshman subjects’, pursued Media Lab UROP research projects, and participated in two new MAS undergraduate subjects on research and design. This is intended as the first step towards establishing a full-fledged undergraduate program.

In May 2000, the Media Laboratory announced a 10-year collaboration with the Republic of Ireland to establish MediaLabEurope (MLE) in Dublin. Research at this independent, university-level educational center will at first focus on learning and education, arts and expression, and e-commerce. The Media Lab and MLE will share all intellectual property developed over the initial 10-year period.

During the 1999—2000 academic year, the Undergraduate Committee in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) redesigned its undergraduate major into three tracks: Urban and Environmental Planning, Urban Studies, and Urban and Regional Public Policy. Undergraduate DUSP students participated in the first year of the new interdisciplinary Minor in Public Policy program. The Master’s in City Planning (MCP) Committee began developing a one-year, mid-career MS program. The Ph.D. Committee started reviewing requirements for the five alternative "First Fields" in the Ph.D. general examination. The Environmental Policy Group (EPG) modified its curriculum, adding a series of methods modules and new courses on brownfields redevelopment, environmental leadership, and industrial ecology. DUSP graduate students launched a new national refereed journal, Projections.

At the Center for Real Estate (CRE) the fifteenth summer of professional development courses brought 452 attendees to campus during the summer of 1999 to enroll in nine courses, including one new course, an "Introduction to Portfolio and Asset Management." The Center’s 2000 Summer Institute offered two new courses on the subjects of green development and structuring complex transactions. In the professional degree program, course content continued to evolve as the real estate industry changed, especially in the areas of finance and real estate capital markets.

Eleven students joined the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) as UROPs and graduate Research Assistants this year. Professors Glorianna Davenport and Stephen Benton conducted a weekly seminar series, "MAS 879: Experiences in Interactive Expression" which brought artists Natalie Jeremijenko, Christopher Janney, Don Ritter, George Fifield and Perry Hoberman to MIT for a day of meetings with students and faculty. The seminar culminated in an exhibition of student-produced interactive installations at CAVS. An emerging mission of CAVS is the exploration of digital arts in collaborative projects with the goal of creating significant art unique to MIT.


The academic year showcased innovative work from within the School as well as offering us the chance to learn from leading international figures in design.

This year in the Department of Architecture the Pietro Belluschi lecture was given by Alvaro Siza. Christian Menn delivered the third Felix Candela lecture. The Arthur H. Schein Memorial Lecture was given by Daniel Libeskind. Professors Dennis Adams and Krzysztof Wodiczko were both selected for representation in the prestigious Whitney Biennial in New York. Professor Wodiczko was also invited to participate in the Venice Biennale, the Kwang-ju Biennale (Korea,) and had a retrospective exhibition at the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art.

Assistant Professor Wendy Jacob had exhibitions in St. Louis and Montreal, and was involved in a collaborative project with HaHa in Toulouse, France. An international conference, "Interpreting Aalto: Baker House and MIT" was held in October to celebrate the renovation of MIT’s Baker House and honor its renowned Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto. In November 1999, the Visual Arts Program faculty organized an international symposium to honor Professor Krzysztof Wodiczko, recent winner of the distinguished Hiroshima Prize.

In the Program in Media Arts and Sciences Professor Stephen A. Benton received the 1999 Dennis Gabor Award from the SPIE: International Optical Engineering Society, in recognition of his contributions to the medium of holography, including his invention of white-light holography. Hiroshi Ishii received the MIT Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Advising. Joseph Jacobson was selected by Technology Review as one of the 100 young innovators who "exemplify the spirit of innovation in science, technology, business and the arts." Professor Jacobson and his students were awarded the 2000 Gutenberg Prize for printed display and electronic inventions. John Maeda received the prestigious Daimler Chrysler Design Award. Nicholas Negroponte was the 1999 recipient of the Boston Museum of Science’s Bradford Washburn Award. Alex Pentland was elected a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and Rosalind Picard was named a Senior Member of IEEE. Mitchel Resnik’s Computer Clubhouse, an innovative after-school program for underserved youths, was awarded a $20-million grant by Intel to create a national, and eventually international, Intel Computer Clubhouse Network.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) gave its Outstanding Planning Educator Award to Professor Emeritus Lisa Peattie. Professor Karen Polenske was awarded the ACSP Margarita McCoy Award for Outstanding Service to Women Faculty at ACSP Schools. Assistant Professor Eran Ben-Joseph won the MIT Wade Award. During the academic year, faculty and students in the City Design and Development Group (CDD) organized and participated in the "Northeast Mayor’s Institute on City Design." Faculty members in the Environmental Policy Group (EPG) facilitated a campus-wide initiative exploring scientific and political controversies surrounding the worldwide introduction of genetically modified organisms. The Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED) group conducted a weekly speaker series concentrating on workforce development and community organizing initiatives. The Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) organized a seminar, "Facing Challenges: People, Market and Cities." The Center for Reflective Community Practice (CRCP) implemented several local technology initiatives and also conducted over a dozen community-based events and seminars, including a forum on Culture, Community and Technology with folk singer and activist, Pete Seeger.

The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) organized a Fall 1999 lecture series, "Seeing Others, Seeing Ourselves." "Contemporary Architecture in the Islamic World," was the subject of the Spring 2000 lecture series. Visiting Professor Hasan-Uddin Khan conducted a seminar on "Communities of Resistance: Globalization, Tourism & War." Howayda al-Harithy, Visiting Associate Professor, led a seminar on "Issues in Islamic Urbanism: Politics of City Formation and Transformation in the Muslim World."

The Center For Real Estate (CRE) celebrated its 15th year anniversary with a September symposium, "Real Estate in a Global Economy," attended by more than 300 alumni, members, and friends. Featured presenters were economist and Visiting Professor Roger Brinner and Epoch Foundation Professor of Management Donald Lessard who spoke about "hot economies and hot money." The Center also hosted a lively, well-attended members meeting in May featuring a discussion about the impact of e-business on the real estate services industry. Robert Danzinger, retired Chairman of Northland Investment, organized and led the popular Real Deals speaker series for the fourth year in a row.

Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) Senior Fellow Elizabeth Goldring and Fellow Seth Riskin received an MIT Council for the Arts grant for their Eye Dance project. Riskin also was a co-recipient of a Dance Umbrella commission award for developing Light Dance, performed in the Boston Moves 2001 dance concert in June.

An exceptional number of outstanding applications were submitted for the inaugural Harold Horowitz Student Research Fund Awards. Established through the generosity of alumnus Harold Horowitz (AR51,) the awards support student-initiated research projects and assistantships. This year's recipients were: Singh Intrachooto, Architecture, Ph.D. candidate; Kay Paelmo, Architecture, BSAD candidate; Anthony Mo Townsend, Urban Studies and Planning, Ph.D. candidate and Megan Yakeley, Architecture, Ph.D. candidate.

The Ralph Adams Cram Award for outstanding interdisciplinary work at the Master's level was presented to Michael Fischer for his thesis, "Real Estate Development Exactions in Boston: Implications for Linkage and Planning in the South Boston Seaport District."

The seventh biennial Lawrence B. Anderson Award was presented jointly to School of Architecture and Planning alumni Scott Schiamberg, for his proposal, "Take Me Out To The Ballpark: For A Glimpse Of Green In The Last Of The Golden Age Ballparks," and Kairos Shen, for his proposal," The Wegner Chair."

More information about the School of Architecture and Planning can be found on the World Wide Web at

William J. Mitchell

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000