MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


While the teaching and research of the Department of Architecture have a remarkably broad scope, the core program remains the professional architectural degree (Master of Architecture). The strength and well-being of this program is fundamental in maintaining and enhancing our position as one of the most respected professional schools of architecture. Within and beyond the professional degree program, the department is engaged in the several domains of the discipline of architecture. Through the concept of "discipline" we understand the full constituency of architecture to be much broader in scope than the profession alone. On a department level "discipline" refers not only to architectural design but also to the other distinctive domains of our program: visual arts, building technology, and history, theory, and criticism of art and architecture. We are committed to a leading role in each of these areas and in the exploration of new technologies and electronic communications in relation to our physical and social environments.

The discussion below is organized by discipline group, followed by individual topics that cross discipline areas.


The statement below was prepared for the accreditation of our professional architectural design degree, but also emphasizes the interconnecting roles of all discipline areas in the Department.

Goals in Architectural Education

It is a commonplace that new theories and new technologies are changing our conception of what architecture can do and how architects conceive their tasks and accomplish them. The unique position of the MIT Department of Architecture is that we survey the development of theory from a decades-old departmental commitment to viewing such developments through the long lens of the history of criticism. We also view technology within an Institute which for a half-century has profoundly shaped and investigated technology's role in society. So we are open to–indeed are enthusiastic about–new technologies and theories. But we also feel impelled to test the results of our designing against long-held social and environmental values. As we embrace new conceptions of architecture, we demand of ourselves that our designs have the qualities of space, light, air, tectonic soundness, and place that allow for appropriate, even poetic, inhabitation.

Beginning studios (undergraduate and graduate) build up modeling and drawing skills by focusing those skills on an expanding range of ideas that the students must synthesize in their design projects. The first semester of Level II extends the core studio sequence for graduates and qualified undergraduates with a focus on tectonics–the making and the resultant expression of construction and architecture. Starting in 1999—2000 we continued the core sequence into the spring term of level II with studios devoted to housing. During that same term, MArch students develop a "concentration," a particular field of inquiry, which they continue to pursue through closely-focused design "workshops" and course-work in this and other departments.

Having "graduated" from the core sequence, MArch students in Level III choose that combination of diverse studio offerings which best meets their individual needs and desires. The insights gained in these studios and the concentration culminate, in the final semester, with the MArch students' theses.

Themes to Pursue

A hallmark of studio education at MIT is that instructors propose to their students not merely a project but a process by which that design might be accomplished. Our faculty use a shared set of themes as vehicles for advancing their pedagogies. Here are those themes, not imposed by departmental fiat, but observed and endorsed by all of us in mutual consultation:

Studio Visitors

The noted Greek architect Dimitris Antonakakis once again taught with us in the fall term. The distinguished Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and the noted Indian architect Raj Rewal were short-term visitors, as will be Maki again next year. A young, emerging local architect, Maryann Thompson, will also continue as a visitor after her successful appearance last year. During the year we secured a long-term visiting relationship with internationally acclaimed architect (and alumnus) Charles Correa, the new Bemis Professor.


Admissions results for the professional MArch were less strong or at least more ambiguous than the notable success of last year. The pool of applicants for our 3-1/2-year program was viewed as very strong and deep. Ranking these applicants with little previous background in architecture is an uncertain activity, but we do our best. This year we secured fewer of our top ranking applicants. Taking the pool as a whole we had the same results as in other years — and we are encouraged by the perceived depth of the pool. These students come almost wholly from the most prestigious private colleges and universities. As usual our principal competitor was Harvard; Yale strengthened while Princeton and Columbia waned. Last year I recorded the results of admissions to the 2-1/2 year advanced standing program as literally unbelievable: nine of the ten top-ranked candidates; 10 of 13; 16 of 20. We were over-subscribed with 20 enrolling. This year we cut back on admissions, admitting our targeted 12, more evenly distributed over the rankings–still including three of the top seven and five of the top 14. Most of these students come from major public universities, here and abroad. Harvard weighed even more heavily than before as a competitor; indeed, it was virtually the competitor.

Promotions and Changes

We are pleased by notable success in the promotion of Architectural Design faculty. Both Ann Pendleton-Jullian and Andrew Scott, architecture studio faculty, were promoted to tenure. Julie Dorsey, active in computation and design, was promoted to tenure; however, she will now share her teaching between Architecture and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with her dominant position in the latter. Ellen Dunham-Jones, both a studio professor and teaching a required history subject, will leave to direct the architecture program at Georgia Tech. She has been an accomplished teacher and a devoted colleague; we will miss her. We will conduct a search for a new junior studio professor. Michael Dennis was on leave in the spring term.


Samples of research by faculty in Architectural Design include: sustainability (Andrew Scott); New American School Design Project, now with remarkable strength in his work in Paterson, New Jersey (Roy Strickland); emerging urbanism (Ellen Dunham-Jones); visualization (Julie Dorsey); shape grammars (George Stiny, Terry Knight); space planning and organization (William Porter and Fernando Domeyko); computation and unbuilt architecture (William Mitchell, Takehiko Nagakura); Emergent Design Group (Peter Testa); design in developing countries (Jan Wampler, Reinhard Goethert); urban design (Michael Dennis, Julian Beinart); and the American landscape (William Hubbard).

Architectural Practice

Established practices are conducted by Michael McKinnell and Michael Dennis. Smaller practices include those of Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Jan Wampler, Shun Kanda, and Paul Lukez. Among built works, a production facility on Okinawa by Nagakura and a chapel in Chile by Domeyko received much favorable attention.

Professional Association

Our special association with the offices of Renzo Piano in Genoa and Paris is off to a strong start with the first two annual student internships. Similar relationships have started with the Takenaka office in Tokyo and the engineering office of Ove Arup & Partners in London. Another such relationship is being explored with the architectural office of Norman Foster, also in London. These are all among the most distinguished practices in the world.

Institutional Association

For some years we have had an exchange program with the department of architecture at Cambridge University. With the advent of the general MIT/Cambridge exchange, we will look for enhancement of this relationship. This year we completed the arrangement to exchange students with the Technical University Delft, including our undergraduates. Dunham-Jones and Lukez were central to the Delft initiative.


The Building Technology (BT) group continues a strong research record and specialized graduate instruction. Critical reflection is being directed toward enhanced teaching both at the undergraduate and professional architecture levels.


Leon Glicksman, Qingyan Chen, and Les Norford, joined by the architect Andrew Scott, are engaged in major research and design work in China involving energy issues and environmental sustainability at several levels: materials, dwelling units, and the site organization of large housing developments. Residential demonstration projects are in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzen. Glicksman and Chen conduct research through our laboratory for the study of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, building energy analysis, heating ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system control and design. This includes new research on natural ventilation in US applications. Norford and Julie Dorsey are working on a computational tool to aid architects in complex lighting designs. A new initiative is that of Norford and Glicksman to develop sustainable guidelines for MIT’s new and refurbished buildings. There is also collaboration with Harvard’s GSD on a web site for advanced building envelope systems.

Faculty Matters

Glicksman and Chen were both appointed to named chairs. With the appointment of John Fernandez as an assistant professor there will now be renewed attention to research in building materials and assemblies. He has received funding from 3M for the study of natural fiber reinforcement. Chen and Glicksman received ASHRAE awards for best paper and for best poster presentation. Barry Webb, noted Australian lighting designer whose work will be prominent in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and Carl Rosenberg of Acentech teamed again to teach lighting and acoustics.

Professional Association

What most observers consider the most distinguished engineering firm world-wide, Ove Arup and Partners, headquartered in London, continues a close relationship with our department, both in architecture and building technology–only enhanced by the status of our former colleague, Chris Luebkeman, as a director of Arup.


The faculty and graduate students of the History, Theory, and Criticism (HTC) group continue a strong record of research and publication. Graduates of the advanced degree programs also continue to receive excellent teaching positions throughout the world. With Michael Leja’s presence, the undergraduate teaching has been especially strong.

Research and Publication

All members of the group regularly contribute to major journals in their fields and/or to catalogs or edited works. New books this year were: Henry A. Millon, ed., The Triumph of the Baroque (New York: Rizzoli, 1999); Mark Jarzombek, The Psychologizing of Modernity (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Stanford Anderson, Peter Behrens: A New Architecture for the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000).

Faculty research interests include architecture and urbanism of modern Europe and America, architecture and epistemology, historiography, architectural theory, urbanism in pre-modern Europe, late medieval and Renaissance architecture, classical and medieval Islamic architecture and urbanism.

Faculty Matters

This group continues to undergo rapid change. The loss of an art historian and an architectural historian in the previous year, resulted in two new assistant professor appointments: Erika Naginski (PhD, Berkeley), a specialist in French nineteenth century art, a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard, and with recent appointments at the University of Michigan; and Arindam Dutta, who is completing a dissertation on architecture and colonial institutions in his native India for the Department of Architecture at Princeton. A search will be conducted for a junior professor in the Aga Khan-funded line vacated when Nasser Rabbat became our Aga Khan Professor. Rabbat was on leave in the fall and spring terms. It was noted above that Ellen Dunham-Jones of the architectural design faculty is leaving to direct the architecture program at Georgia Tech; she also departs from her valued role as teacher of a subject on contemporary architecture and discourse required of MArch students. To our great regret, Michael Leja accepted a position in the distinguished program for American art and architecture at the University of Delaware. Leja’s teaching received the highest commendation from undergraduate and graduate students, and he is an outstanding colleague. He will be extremely difficult to replace.


Doctoral students entering their non-resident research stage continue to win prestigious external research grants. Devoted faculty and staff deserve credit here as well as the winning students. But here too we must note an important loss. Diane Tavitian, departing as principal staff member for HTC, deserves much credit for the successful operations of HTC, not least the success of the graduate students in winning grants.

Student Financial Aid

As for all units of the department, student financial aid has been and remains a crucial issue. In HTC this appears dominantly as financial packages that will attract the best candidates for the PhD program. What appeared forcefully this year, is that the traditional competitors of the HTC program (Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell especially) have greatly escalated their offers to incoming students. We are now radically disadvantaged in this competition.


The Visual Arts Program (VAP) supports the undergraduate education curriculum of the Institute and also conducts a small graduate program. Its faculty includes a remarkable group of outstanding artists. In a small but selective mode, we are in a position to compete as one of the distinguished schools for contemporary artistic production.

Faculty Matters

Dennis Adams continues as the effective director of the Visual Arts Program (VAP). He is in a very productive stage of his own work having just completed a major work in Munich and beginning one for the Manhattan terminal of the Staten Island Ferry. Both Adams and Krzysztof Wodiczko were selected for representation in the prestigious Whitney Biennial in New York. Krzysztof also published the book Critical Vehicles. The distinguished performance artist Joan Jonas joined us as a full professor in January 2000. Edward Levine won a competition for a project in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia. Wendy Jacob, new as an assistant professor, impressed in her first year. She had a solo exhibition in St. Louis, was exhibited in Montreal, and was involved in a collaborative project with HaHa in Toulouse, France. Julia Scher had a solo exhibition at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York and participated in group exhibitions at the Castello di Rivoli in Italy and at the Musée d’art moderne in Bordeaux. The success of their work will take Wodiczko away all of next year, Levine in the spring term, and Adams in 2001—02.


The VAP faculty organized an international symposium on 20 November 1999 to celebrate Wodiczko on his winning of the distinguished Hiroshima Prize. Participants included Dominick LaCapra, John Rajchman, Eva Lajer-Burcharth, and Michael Leja. VAP collaborates with the Graduate School of Design of Harvard in organizing lectures and seminars with internationally-known artists who often appear first in our departmental lecture series.


The undergraduate program has benefited from attention to its curriculum and a core group of committed and enthusiastic faculty advisors. There has also been a notable improvement in architectural studio work by undergraduates, including a significant amount of outstanding work. Nonetheless, a serious inquiry into the undergraduate program by a graduating senior points to a number of issues that need to be addressed. These include the negative impact of isolation of undergraduates in building N52 and a number of other factors that inhibit undergraduates from feeling appreciated and empowered for their own self-development and their potential contribution to the school. We plan to examine these matters and hopefully find ways to address them.


Winning the best students: For all programs in the department, competition for exceptionally talented and motivated students remains high. Developing the means to offer competitive packages to students choosing architecture and its related disciplines, fields with long degree programs and low professional salaries, is a high priority.

Containing student debt as an institutional ethic: For the core MArch program, with its long duration, we view the problem of total debt of our graduates as an even more serious issue than initial attraction of students, not because we do not wish to compete for the best students, but because, in this degree program, there is considerable evidence that initial choices are based much more on the perception of the program than on the financial package. For those students who choose us, we should seek not only to give them a first-rate education, but also not to send them away with almost impossible financial burdens.


Major renovations to our core facility continue and we trust that the goal of consolidating the department’s teaching and support services will continue to be met phase by phase. Renovations in N51 transformed a former classroom and corridor area into a highly networked research cluster uniting House-n, the Emergent Design Group, and the Design Computation Group. Some studios and faculty offices, the Visual Arts Program, the wood and metal workshop, and the Indoor Air Quality Laboratory remain in N51/52.


The activities of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture of Harvard and MIT are reported separately in this volume.


A total of 225 students were counted in Course IV: 52 undergraduate, 92 MArch, 45 SMArchS/SM without specification, 10 SMBT, 5 SMVisS, 32 resident PhD, 25 Non-Resident PhD, 2 Special (non-degree) Students, and 2 non-Institute exchange students.


Student Awards

Student Awards designated by the Department or Institute: The William Everett Chamberlain Prize for graduating BSAD for achievement in design (Minna Ha). The Sydney B. Karofsky ‘37 Prize for the outstanding Master of Architecture student with one further year of study (Junko Nakagawa). The Francis Ward Chandler Prize for achievement in architectural design (Jae Kim). The Alpha Rho Chi Medal for leadership, service for the school and department, and promise of real professional merit (Michelle Apigian). The AIA Certificate of Merit for second-ranked master of architecture student (Ryan Chin). The AIA Medal for the top-ranked master of architecture student (Juintow Lin). The SMArchS Prize (Michelle Hoeffler, Garyfallia Katsavounidou, Axel Kilian, Mimi Levy). The Imre Halasz Thesis Award (Jae Kim). The AIA Foundation Scholarships (Amina Razvi, Dan Steger). Faculty Design Award (Lucy Fang, Ian Ferguson). Outstanding Undergraduate Prize (Kay Paelmo). Schlossman Research Fellow (Luke Yeung, Jorge Otero-Pailos). Ann Macy Beha Travel Award (Talia Braude, Henry Chang, Bianca Nardella, David Sledge). Louis C. Rosenberg Travel Award (Omar Khan, Amina Razvi). Marvin E. Goody Prize (Daniel Arons, Laurie Griffith, Tawing Louie). Aga Khan Program Summer Travel Grant (Sunitha Raju, Marianne De Klerk, Panayiota Pyla). Robert Bradford Newman Medal for Merit in Architectural Acoustics (Elizabeth Cordero, Michelle Hoeffler). Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Foundation Traveling Fellowship Nominees (Juintow Lin, Li Lian Tan). Renzo Pian Workshop Internship (Junko Nakagawa). Kristen Ellen Finnegan Memorial Award (Ann Volmann Bible).

External Awards: Fulbright Fellowship (Thomas Beischer). Mary Davis Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (Alona Nitzan-Shiftan). Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow (Ritu Bhatt). Arthur Goldreich Trust Research Award (Alona Nitzan-Shiftan). John Coolidge Fellowship (Adnan Morshed). John Coolidge Student Fellowship (Fernando Alvarez). Edilia and François-August de Montequin Fellowship (Fernando Alvarez). Association for Middle East Womens Studies Prize (Kishwar Rivzi).

Visitors and Lecturers

Visitors included: Edith Ackermann, Dimitris Antonakakis, John Fernandez, and Hasan Uddin-Khan in Architectural Design; Howyda Al-harithy, Barry Bergdoll, Martin Bressani, Hélène Lipstadt, John Rajchman, and Elisabeth Sussman in History, Theory, and Criticism; Edward Allen and Austin Parsons in Building Technology. Lecturers were appointed for the particular skills they could offer to the curriculum: Dan Greenwood, Paul Paturzo, and Maryann Thompson in Architectural Design; Robert Dermody, Carl Rosenberg, and Barry Webb in Building Technology; Leila Kinney in History, Theory, and Criticism; Barbara Broughel and Julia Scher in Visual Arts. Harvey Gantt was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor, a joint appointment with the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.


The Department of Architecture Lecture Series brings outstanding scholars, practitioners, and artists to the School. In the fall, speakers were Silvia Kolbowski, Alice Friedman, Alex Tzonis with Liane Lefaivre, Henk Döll, Dimitris Antonakakis, Harvey Gantt, and Patricia Patkau. In the spring, speakers were Barry Bergdoll, Joan Jonas, Andy Foster with a group from Ove Arup & Partners London, Raj Rewal, Hermann Pitz, Barry Webb, and Galen Cranz.

The Pietro Belluschi Lecture was given by Alvaro Siza as part of the conference, "Interpreting Aalto." The third Felix Candela lecture (co-sponsored by Princeton University, The Structural Engineers Association of New York, and the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) was given by Christian Menn. The Arthur H. Schein Memorial Lecture was given by Daniel Libeskind.


An international conference with many distinguished participants (including Alvaro Siza and Juha Leiviskä) titled "Interpreting Aalto: Baker House and MIT" was held in October in celebration of the renovation of Baker House and recognition of its famed Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto.


The department publication Thresholds, now available by subscription, is well established as a means to communicate to alumni and friends of the School something of the intellectual life here. The internal newsletter PinUp, edited and produced by students, offered an opportunity for debate and communication about activities within the department.


Our core programs in architectural design enjoyed a successful year with excellent production in the studios and theses. The promotion this year of two of our younger studio faculty to tenure brings a new generation into the core faculty and assures both new energy and stability for this key area. Most needed now is the consolidation of faculty offices and studios, and the provision of resources for faculty development.

Increasing collaboration between studio professors and those in Building Technology (the success, e.g., of newly tenured Andrew Scott in working with BT and the appointment of the young architect John Fernandez to the BT faculty) and special programming create the opportunity for significant teaching and research in several key areas including sustainability.

The new appointments in the Visual Arts Program and the concerted guidance of the group by Dennis Adams establish the promise of a nationally recognized art program. The quality of their space and their equipment are, however, seriously inhibiting to the goals of the group.

The Aga Khan Program will enter upon a new course with the appointment of newly tenured Nasser Rabbat both as Aga Khan Professor and the intellectual director of ArchNet. Rabbat is the most accomplished scholar we have had in this professorship and does bring a professional background to the postion as well. The full realization of this opportunity awaits the completion of Rabbat’s sabbatical leave.

The public face of the Department has been enhanced in recent years through innovations in exhibitions, publications, lectures and conferences. Positive factors include our tradition of devoted teaching, a high national ranking of our professional program, and improved (if not yet fully adequate) financial aid. The increasing use of the web as the source of information about institutions and programs has led us to a current redesign of our web site.

More information about the Department of Architecture can be found on the World Wide Web at

Stanford Anderson

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000