Dean, School of Architecture and Planning

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 2000-2001 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 2000-2001, and there were important faculty appointments in all units of the school.

In the Department of Architecture, Takehiko Nagakura, Associate Professor of Design and Computation, was granted tenure. Wendy Jacob was named the Class of 1947 Career Development Professor for a three-year term. J. Meejin Yoon, who trained at Cornell and Harvard, was chosen as a new Assistant Professor of Design. Structural engineer John Ochsendorf was selected to join the Building Technology group and will arrive in July 2002 following completion of his current research project. Heghnar Watenpaugh, who earned a Ph.D. at UCLA, was appointed Assistant Professor in the History, Theory, and Criticism group.

In the Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) Hiroshi Ishii, director of the Tangible Media Group, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Bruce Blumberg, head of the Synthetic Characters Group, was promoted to Associate Professor without tenure. Isaac Chuang, from IBM's Almaden Research Center in California, was appointed Associate Professor. He heads the new research group on quanta which explores the fundamental building blocks of physical media, information technology, and intelligence.

Nicholas Negroponte, long-time Director of the MIT Media Laboratory, announced that he would take on the newly created position of Senior Director, focusing on external and international relations. Walter Bender, head of the Electronic Publishing Group, was named Executive Director in charge of internal growth and development of research and sponsor relations. Sony Career Development Professor John Maeda, head of the Aesthetics and Computation Group, was named Associate Director of design and communication. Rudolph Burger, an expert in digital photography and a former Xerox Corporation Vice President, was named Chief Executive Officer and Director of Media Lab Europe (MLE) based in Dublin.

In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), Diane Davis was appointed Associate Professor of Political Sociology. Her research focuses on the politics of urban policy and history, cities and national development, and policing and public security. Lorlene Hoyt was hired as an Assistant Professor. He specializes in municipal geographic information systems, business improvement districts, and public service systems.

In December, Chairman Blake Eagle left the Center For Real Estate (CRE) to become President of the National Council of Real Estate Fiduciaries. John T. Riordan, former president of the National Council of Shopping Centers, became the new Chairman in June.

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.

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Plans for the new Media Laboratory Expansion, designed by world-renowned architect Fumihiko Maki, entered the construction documents phase. Construction is expected to commence in April 2002. 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 new center, which will approximately double the current size of the lab, is scheduled for completion in 2004. Plans for a complete renovation of the lab's existing site (Building E15) are also underway. In order to accommodate the lab's recent growth there is a newly established temporary "outpost" at One Cambridge Center.

The last phase of the School's master plan—the renovation of offices, project rooms and the Computer Resources Labs of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning—was approved and is currently near completion. Classroom space for the newly configured Teacher Education Program was allocated to the School and renovated during the year. Graduate student studio spaces for the Visual Arts programs are in the process of renovation and will be completed by fall 2001. The work adds security measures and provides much needed general upgrading. These changes will provide art school-standard studio spaces and a common teaching area for the graduate program.

At the Center for Real Estate (CRE), the central office was redesigned to provide quieter and more private workspace for support staff. Plans were made to update carpet, paint, and furnishings in the student lounge and adjoining conference room.

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Education Initiatives

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

The ArchNet project evolved rapidly over the course of the year. Launched in 1999, ArchNet is an extensive online community resource dedicated to architecture, urban design, and urban development with a special focus on the Islamic world. It is accessible via the Internet to scholars, practitioners and interested non-specialists. Currently over 1,700 online subscribers from more than 65 countries are utilizing ArchNet's resources and virtual workspaces. Detailed information can be found at

In the Department of Architecture, the undergraduate program was strengthened by a newly implemented studio sequence. The MArch Committee reorganized its curriculum resulting in a greater emphasis on design, a stronger integration of multi-disciplinary subjects, and a better model for selecting and developing concentrations. A student exchange began with the Technical University Delft, overseen by faculty member Paul Lukez. New international student internships began with the distinguished firms of Renzo Piano, Takenaka Corporation, and Ove Arup & Partners with options for future opportunities at Norman Foster in London and Behnisch and Behnisch in Germany. The Building Technology group started working on a five-year project in collaboration with Cambridge University on sustainable buildings in the UK. Students expanded the Architecture Student Council (ASC) and now have representatives active on the Department Council, the MArch Curriculum Committee, and the Studio Faculty Committee.

The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) began making the transition from an outreach-based program to an academic-based program, under the leadership of Aga Khan Professor Nasser Rabbat.

The Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) enrolled 24 students in its alternative freshman year program during the 2000-2001 academic year. The students signed up for recitation sections in two core freshman subjects, pursued Media Lab UROP research projects, and participated in two new MAS undergraduate subjects on graphic design and research methods. MAS continued to work towards the goal of establishing a full-fledged undergraduate program.

On July 24-25, 2000 Media Lab Europe (MLE) was launched in Dublin, Ireland with a major symposium attended by over 400 people from the academic, business, and arts communities. MLE initiated more than ten collaborative projects with Irish Universities including "Intelligent Sensing Systems for Science Education and Bio-Monitoring" and "A Multilingual Development Environment for Speech Technologies." Current research groups at MLE include Affective Feedback, Nanostructures, and Everyday Learning. In October over 200 people from 40 nations came to the Media Lab in Cambridge to open Digital Nations, a new consortium dedicated to helping people in developing areas solve local problems by learning and applying digital technologies. In June 2001, the lab announced a one-year exploratory project with the government of India to create Media Lab Asia. The mission of this new initiative would be to work with the Indian government and local non-government organizations to apply sophisticated emerging technologies to the daily problems of India's poorest and least educated people.

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) was named the "premier planning school in the U.S." in the reaccredidation report for its Masters in City Planning (MCP) Program. The Ph.D. Committee addressed admissions and curriculum issues while the Undergraduate Committee introduced several new subjects in response to recent restructuring. In October the department participated in a joint teaching studio on "Open Design Methods" with the Technical University Delft (TUD) and also began discussions for a multi-year joint research effort with TUD. The Department also launched plans for a series of annual joint studios with the University of Cambridge. The Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED) Group investigated two new issues: the role of community organizing in place and faith-based organizations and the combination of physical and economic development in neighborhood commercial revitalization. The Environmental Policy Group (EPG) offered a new course in environmental planning which provided funding for students to travel to the Philippines to work on ecological protection issues. Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal helped establish MIT's Program on Human Rights and Justice, a joint effort between DUSP and the Center for International Studies. The program, which hosts a speaker series, aims to develop student internships and collaborative research projects with the United Nations and other agencies.

At the Center for Real Estate (CRE), the sixteenth summer of professional development courses brought 296 attendees to campus during the summer of 2000 to enroll in nine courses, including two new courses on "Structuring Complex Real Estate Transactions" and "Advanced Real Estate Negotiations." The center's 2001 Summer Institute offered a new course on "Benchmarking Real Estate Investment Management and Performance Measurement." 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.

Eight students joined the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) as UROPS this year. Two new courses on Special Effects for New Cinema and Narrative and Central Conflict Theory were offered. Research Scientist Glorianna Davenport and Professor Stephen Benton conducted a weekly seminar series, MAS.878 Experiences in Interactive Expression which brought artists Ken Goldberg, Jack Ox, Christa Sommerer, Tetsuro Fukuhara, and Christian Boustiani to MIT for a day of discussions with students and faculty. The seminar culminated in an exhibition of student-produced interactive installations at CAVS.

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Events and Awards

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 Edward Cullinan. Mamoru Kawaguchi delivered the fourth Felix Candela lecture. The Arthur H. Schein Memorial Lecture was given by Herman Hertzberger. The Architecture Lecture Series included distinguished guests Santiago Calatrava, Peter Eisenman, Anthony Vidler, Marlon Blackwell, Shigeru Ban, Sheila Kennedy, Fumihiko Maki, Elaine Sturtevant, Elizabeth Diller, and Ricardo Scofidio. John Fernandez was given a Graduate Teaching Award by the Graduate School Council. Edward Levine won a competition for a public art project in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia. Krzysztof Wodiczko concluded a significant public projection about border issues in Tijuana, Mexico. In November 2000, Joan Jonas had a major retrospective exhibition and performance series at the Stædtisches Museum, Stuttgart. In September 2000, Stanford Anderson organized an intercontinental conference on the work of Eladio Dieste, "Scientific Innovation in Structure and Construction with Traditional Materials: The Eladio Dieste Symposia."

In the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, Justine Cassell won a 2001 Edgerton Award. Joseph Jacobson was one of nine winners of the 12th Annual Discover Awards. Pattie Maes was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council. Marvin Minsky won the Benjamin Franklin Medal by The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. John Maeda received the 2001 Design Management Institute Muriel Cooper Award and was inducted into the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale. The Expressive Footwear project won a 2000 Discover Magazine Award for Technical Innovation. John Maeda and Joseph Paradiso were chosen to head a team to create a special exhibition, Workspheres, on the role of design in the work environment at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Their creation, entitled Atmosphere, is a multifaceted communication tool for navigating and organizing information.

In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), faculty and students in the City Design and Development Group (CDD) organized and participated in two successful colloquia, "Metropolitanism in Practice" and "Urban Narratives: Making the City Speak." Faculty in the Environmental Policy Group (EPG) hosted two conferences, "Civic Environmentalism Roundtable" and "Regional Sustainable Development Forum." The Environmental Technology and Public Policy Program within EPG launched an environmental justice initiative that includes teaching, research, and capacity building activities. The Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED) group hosted a series of seminars featuring Ernesto Cortes of the Industrial Arts Foundation and local community organizers. The Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) organized a seminar, "Global Forces and Local Spaces." The Center for Reflective Community Practice (CRCP) initiated the Reflective Practioner Fellowship, sponsored several symposia, and offered its first community digital storytelling workshop.

The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) hosted a well attended two-day conference "Exploring the Frontiers of Islamic Art and Architecture." Visiting Assistant Professor Nuha Khoury led a seminar on "Religious Architecture in Islamic Cultures." Visiting Associate Professor Jerrilyn Dodds taught a seminar on "Nonwestern Architecture—Exchange Theory and the Architecture of Pluralistic Societies." Visiting Professor Hasan-Uddin Khan conducted a seminar on "Conservation—Extreme Architectural Conservation in the Face of Globalization, War and Tourism."

The Center for Real Estate (CRE) hosted a lively, well-attended members meeting in November featuring a discussion about the impact of the Internet and other new technologies on the demand for real estate. A conference in May, "Development Finance: Irrational Conservatism," examined the constraints on capital available for development. Robert Danzinger, retired Chairman of Northland Investment, led the popular Real Deals speaker series for the fifth year in a row.

At the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), Director Emeritus Otto Piene was honored with a retrospective at the new 24-Hour-Kuntsmuseum in Celle, Germany. Fellow Hishram Bizri's film "City of Brass" was chosen for screening at the Museum of Modern Art and the Milan International Film Festival. Visiting Fellow Kelly Heaton won the 2001 L'Oreal Prize in the Art and Science of Color for her MIT thesis "Physical Pixels" and was also one of ten New England artists selected to exhibit her installation "Reflection Loop" at the DeCordova Museum.

The Marvin E. Goody prize for a master's thesis that advances the building arts was awarded jointly to students Lora Kim, Amina Razvi, and Asheshh Saheba. The Ralph Adams Cram Award for outstanding interdisciplinary work at the Master's level was presented to Garyfallia Katsavounidou for her thesis "Invisible Parentheses: Mapping (out) the City and its Histories."

William J. Mitchell

More information about the School of Architecture and Planning can be found online at

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