Department of Architecture

The Department of Architecture has as its core activity the professional Master of Architecture degree program. The faculty includes architects, urbanists, building technologists, historians of art and architecture, artists, and various specialists in areas of architectural research. The presence of this entire range of faculty is premised on assuring a professional program of both depth and breadth. The strength and well-being of the Master of Architecture program is fundamental in maintaining and enhancing our position as one of the world's most respected professional schools of architecture.

The department is quite unusual in, first, including the many disciplines of our faculty within the department, and then, still more significantly, creating the opportunity for each discipline to have specialized advanced degree programs. We incorporate outstanding research and teaching programs in each of these groups: Building Technology; History, Theory and Criticism (HTC); Visual Arts; and the internally differentiated Architectural Design group. Under the last rubric, beyond the obvious attention to architectural design, are our programs in urban design, computation and design, shape grammars, and design technology. We have been gratified to see excellent design work by our undergraduates in recent years. Notable strengths of the department that cut across the discipline groups are our devoted teaching, the grounding of architecture in both social and material issues, interdisciplinarity, and the remarkable internationalism of faculty, students, teaching and research.

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

The Architectural Design

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.

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.

In September 2000 we started the new undergraduate studio sequence that was planned in the preceding year. During 2000-2001 a committee broadly representing the department discipline groups re-organized the MArch curriculum. Notable emphases of this new curriculum are increased emphasis on design, greater integration of subjects from different disciplines taken in the same term, and a stronger model for the selection and development of "concentrations."

Beginning students (undergraduate and graduate) build up modeling and drawing skills (conventional and digital) in subjects conceived for those purposes and by focusing those skills on an expanding range of ideas that the students must synthesize in their studio 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. 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.

Special opportunities for project-generated student travel are a continuing strength of the department. Shun Kanda again led an extended summer study trip in Japan. The fall urban design studio in Washington, DC was a notable success. Jan Wampler, Reinhard Goethert and Dennis Frenchman conducted a workshop in Bhutan. Thanks to the generosity of alumni (Ann Macy Beha, Louis Rosenberg, John Schlossman), students also pursue individual research studies in the United States and abroad.

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 employ 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:

The noted Indian architect (MIT alumnus) Charles Correa made the transition from visitor to what will be an annual one-term position on our faculty. An emerging American architect on the faculty of the University of Arkansas, Marlon Blackwell, taught a very successful spring studio. The distinguished Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, the celebrated architect/engineer Santiago Calatrava, and the English architect Ted Cullinan all taught with us briefly. There were also studios by excellent local architects: Maryann Thompson, Carol Burns, and Kyu Sung Woo. Engagement with strong local practitioners continues next year with the return of Burns and the appearance of Hubert Murray and the now widely recognized Brian Healy.

Admissions results for the professional MArch were again strong after some disappointments in the previous year. Students applying and admitted at level I (the beginning of our graduate program) come almost wholly from the most prestigious private colleges and universities. As usual our principal competitor was Harvard with Yale strengthening in recent years. This spring we won five of our top nine applicants, ten of 16. The remainder of our admittees were not ranked, but we overshot our target of 14 students without going to our waiting list. The advanced standing admissions at level II have been consistently strong. This year we returned to the outstanding results of two years ago. This year we won four of the top five; eight of the top ten, and an additional 14 from 24 unranked applicants. We were more substantially oversubscribed here without going to the waiting list. Most of these students come from major public universities, here and abroad. Harvard is the main competitor here as well.

This year Takehiko Nagakura, a specialist in digital representation of architecture, was granted tenure. Roy Strickland is moving on to a position that is very appropriate to his strengths at the University of Michigan. A search for new assistant professors of design netted an impressive young woman architect, J. Meejin Yoon (trained at Cornell and Harvard).

Topics of research by faculty in Architectural Design include: sustainability (Andrew Scott); visualization and representation (Julie Dorsey); shape grammars (George Stiny, Terry Knight); "Workplace of the Future" and design thinking (William Porter with Fernando Domeyko and others); computation and unbuilt architecture (William Mitchell, Takehiko Nagakura); StudioMIT project (William Mitchell); design in developing countries (Jan Wampler, Reinhard Goethert); urban design (Charles Correa, Michael Dennis, Julian Beinart); urban morphology (Paul Lukez); the American landscape (William Hubbard); cities and landscape, photographic representation of landscape (Ann Spirn). Research has been well represented in publications from book chapters and journal articles to news articles.

Established practices are conducted by Charles Correa, Michael McKinnell and Michael Dennis. Smaller practices include those of Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Andrew Scott, Jan Wampler, Fernando Domeyko, Shun Kanda, and Paul Lukez.

Our special association with the offices of Renzo Piano in Genoa and Paris is off to a strong start with the first three annual student internships. The students of the two completed internships, Andrew Jonic and Junko Nakagawa, both won high praise from their Piano colleagues first in Genoa and then in Paris. Similar relationships have started with the Takenaka office in Tokyo and the engineering office of Ove Arup & Partners in London. Other such relationships are being explored with the architectural offices of Norman Foster in London and Behnisch and Behnisch in Stuttgart. These are all among the most distinguished practices in the world.

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 are now engaged in a major joint academic effort. This year we began an exchange of students with the Technical University Delft, including our undergraduates. Paul Lukez initiated and conducts the Delft exchange.

return to top

Building Technology

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.

The new major effort of the BT group is a five-year project with Cambridge University on sustainable buildings in the UK with emphasis on natural ventilation and advanced technologies such as PV panels. John Fernandez initiated research on materials and building assemblies with particular attention to fiber reinforcement and textile composites. Leon Glicksman, Qingyan Chen, and Les Norford, joined by the architect Andrew Scott, continue on 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. Collaboration with Tsinghua University and the Chinese Ministry of Construction. Glicksman and Chen conduct research through our laboratory for the study of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, building energy analysis, and 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.

We anticipate with great pleasure the arrival of a new young structural engineer on July 1, 2002. John Ochsendorf was selected one year ago. We agree to wait while he finishes research he is conducting at Cambridge University and in Spain. While Chen's early tenure case was not successful, the BT section with the agreement of the Dean and the Provost will renew his case in 2001-2002. Barry Webb, noted Australian lighting designer, and Carl Rosenberg of Acentech teamed again to teach lighting and acoustics. John Fernandez, completing his first year as Assistant Professor of Building Technology, was awarded a Graduate Teaching Award by the Graduate School Council.

Our sustained good relations with the architect/engineer Santiago Calatrava this year incorporated a special structural morphology workshop with continuing direction by John Fernandez. 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.

As noted above, BT is involved in a long-term program under the Cambridge/MIT association. Research work continues with Tsinghua University and members of the Alliance for Global Sustainability.

return to top

History, Theory, and Criticism

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.

All members of the group regularly contribute to major journals in their fields and/or to catalogs or edited works. Research interests of the faculty include: architecture and urbanism of modern Europe and America (Stanford Anderson and Mark Jarzombek); of Europe and its colonial enterprises (Arindam Dutta); modern European art (Erika Naginski); art/architectural theory and epistemology (Anderson, Jarzombek, Naginski); urbanism in pre-modern Europe, late medieval and Renaissance architecture (David Friedman); medieval and modern Islamic architecture and urbanism (Nasser Rabbat); and historiography of art and architecture (all). Anderson organized and conducted an intercontinental symposium on the work of Eladio Dieste and innovation with traditional materials (Montevideo and MIT, September 2000). Rabbat organized an Aga Khan Program symposium in the spring of 2001. Mark Jarzombek was awarded a Fellowship from the Canadian Center for Architecture. He is organizing a conference on East European Art and Architecture to take place in October 2001.

Two assistant professors made extremely impressive entries into the teaching and research programs of HTC: Erika Naginski (Ph.D., Berkeley), a specialist in French nineteenth century art and a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard, with recent appointments at the University of Michigan; and Arindam Dutta, who this year completed a dissertation on architecture and colonial institutions in his native India for the Department of Architecture at Princeton. The search for a junior professor in the Aga Khan-funded line resulted in the appointment of Heghnar Watenpaugh (Ph.D., UCLA), who comes to us from Rice University. When the architect Ellen Dunham-Jones left to become the chair of Architecture at Georgia Tech, HTC lost an effective collaborator in the design studios. However, Dutta stepped into this role effectively. The loss of art historian Michael Leja one year ago occasioned a search at the tenure level. An excellent woman has been chosen and her case will be presented during the fall term of 2001.

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 Ph.D. program. What appeared forcefully last year, was that the traditional competitors of the HTC program (Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell especially) have greatly escalated their offers to incoming students. This year, by making financial aid offers comparable to our Ivy League competition, HTC Ph.D. admissions were once again very successful. It is imperative that this level of support be regularized if this distinguished part of our department is to thrive. 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.

While HTC has no formalized exchange or other inter-university associations, excellent informal relations are maintained with significant universities with similar interests, including: Cambridge University, ETH Zurich, Technical University of Delft, Technical University of Turin, and the University of Venice.

return to top

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Program (VAP) continues to develop its unique program addressing the relation of artistic practice to new media, performance, architecture, urbanism, and related questions of socio-political content. 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.

Dennis Adams continues as the valued director of the Visual Arts Program (VAP), but will be on leave in 2001-2002. Wendy Jacob will serve in that role. Adams is in a very productive stage of his own work having just completed a children's garden designed for the Witte de With in Rotterdam as part of an international exhibition of architects, designers, and artists. While on leave, he will be working on public projects in New York, Baltimore, Sao Paulo, and Utrecht. Krzysztof Wodiczko completed a major public projection in Tijuana that incorporated live oral testimonies addressing border issues. Wendy Jacob was named to the Class of 1947 Career Development Professorship for a three-year term, commencing July 1, 2001. Lecturer Reiner Leist taught photography subjects, including a subject reserved for MArch students. The major event of the year, however, was the retrospective exhibition and performance series of Joan Jonas at the Stædtisches Museum, Stuttgart (opened November 2000), accompanied by an extensive publication documenting her work.

For 2001-2002, Adams will be replaced by Antonio Muntadas, a fellow of MIT's CAVS and an internationally renowned artist working on the boundaries between new media, art, architecture and advertising. Lecturer Julia Scher will be on leave next year working on a public surveillance projects in Istanbul and Karlsruhe, Germany, and an installation at the Jewish Museum in San Francisco. She will be replaced by Joe Gibbons, a nationally renowned video maker and a recent winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship. Edward Levine won a competition for a public art project for Fairmont Park in Philadelphia and will be working on it while on leave next year. He will be replaced by Christine Tarkowski from the Art Institute of Chicago. Tarkowski works on the relationship of graphic design and architecture. She is currently collaborating with architect, Stanley Tigerman on a Children's Advocacy Center in Chicago.

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.

return to top

Undergraduate Program

Strong leadership from Associate Professor Leslie Norford, Undergraduate Officer, and Renée Caso, Administrator for Academic Programs, supportive teaching and advising, and a number of administrative initiatives to improve communication and inclusiveness resulted in a more visible presence by undergraduates in the department. A newly-implemented studio sequence strengthened the undergraduate major experience. Undergraduates are represented in the renewed student architectural association. Two undergraduate students were selected to participate in the TU Delft/MIT exchange next year.

Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture

The activities of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKP) are reported separately in this volume. Briefly noted here, however, is the AKP's current transition, under the direction of Associate Professor Nasser Rabbat, from an outreach-based program to an academic-based program, which will be completed in the coming year.

Program Enrollments

Course IV counted a total of 277 students: 58 undergraduates, 89 M.Arch., 51 S.M.Arch.S/S.M. without specification, eight S.M.B.T., 4 S.M.Vis.S., 41 resident Ph.D., 20 Non-Resident Ph.D., and 5 Special (non-degree) Students. Course IV-B counted one undergraduate student.

Highlights of the Past Year

In the fall term, Stanford Anderson organized an intercontinental conference, "Scientific Innovation in Structure and Construction with Traditional Materials: The Eladio Dieste Symposia," with venues in Montevideo and Cambridge. In the spring term, Nasser Rabbat organized a conference on "Exploring the Frontiers of Islamic Art and Architecture" for the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.

The Architecture Lecture Series included our own Anne Spirn, Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Charles Correa, and Dean William Mitchell; another special series for MIT by Santiago Calatrava; and lectures by Peter Eisenman, Anthony Vidler, Marlon Blackwell, Shigeru Ban, Sheila Kennedy, Fumihio Maki, Elaine Sturtevant, and Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio. Herman Hertzberger presented the Fourteenth Arthur H. Schein Memorial Lecture. Mamoru Kawaguchi gave the Fourth Felix Candela Lecture. Edward Cullinan gave the Belluschi Lecture as keynote speaker in the Eladio Dieste Symposia. The Building Technology, Visual Arts, and History,Theory, and Criticism programs sponsored discipline-based lecture series which were also open to the public.

Thresholds, published twice a year as a journal edited and produced by students, is increasingly noted for developing diverse architectural themes in each issue. PinUp, also wholly edited by students, served the department well as an internal newsletter. FOUNDATIONS, a monthly electronic newsletter for alumni, was launched in June and will feature department and alumni news.

The department benefitted from its first visit by a Visiting Committee dedicated solely to the department (that is, now unlinked from the Media Arts and Sciences Program). The visiting committee noted the challenges inherent in a multidisciplinary approach to a complex field; recognized the urgent need for increased student financial aid; recommended re-evaluation of space to meet specific needs of the S.M.Arch.S. students; encouraged the hiring of architects rather than specific specialists; in its searches to continue improvements toward greater gender, racial and ethnic diversity (while noting recent positive progress); emphasized continuing need for communication beween the administration and students and junior faculty.

The department invited visitors and lecturers to contribute their special expertise to the curriculum. Visitors included: Edith Ackermann, Kyu Sung Woo, Marlon Blackwell, Carol Burns, Hasan-Uddin Khan, Maryann Thompson, and Nichole Wiedemann in Architectural Design; Edward Allen and Santiago Calatrava in Building Technology; and Jerrilyn Dodds, John Hanhardt, Henry Millon, John Rajchman, Beatriz Colomina, Nuha Khoury and Helene Lipstadt in History, Theory, and Criticism. Appointed as Lecturers were: Daniel Greenwood in Architectural Design; Natalia Cardelino, Carl Rosenberg, and Barry Webb in Building Technology; Maura Coughlin, Edward Eigen, Leila Kinney and Stuart Steck in History,Theory, and Criticism; and Reiner Leist and Julia Scher in Visual Arts.

Spurred by the occasion of the Visiting Committee, students re-constituted a student organization, Architecture Student Council (ASC), with representatives from each level and discipline area. Students have long been represented on a number of department committees such as admissions and searches; to these were added appointees to Department Council, MArch Curriculum committee, and Studio Faculty committee. The ASC contributed agenda items to general departmental meetings.

Student Awards, Fellowships, Internships and Exchanges

Department or Institute Awards

The William Everett Chamberlain Prize for graduating BSAD for achievement in design (Octavio Gutierrez). The Sydney B. Karofsky '37 Prize for the outstanding Master of Architecture student with one further year of study (Laura Bouwman). The Francis Ward Chandler Prize for achievement in architectural design (Robert Brown). The Alpha Rho Chi Medal for leadership, service for the school and department, and promise of real professional merit (Rolando Mendoza). The AIA Certificate of Merit for second-ranked master of architecture student (Andrew Jonic). The AIA Medal for the top-ranked master of architecture student (Laurie Griffith). The S.M.Arch.S. Prize (Omar Khan, Marianne de Klerk, Asheshh Saheba). The Imre Halasz Thesis Award (Andrew Jonic). The AIA Foundation Scholarships (Pamela Campbell, Amanda Dickson). Faculty Design Award (Chris Berry, Annie Lo). Outstanding Undergraduate Prize (Molly Forr). Schlossman Research Fellow (Glaire Anderson, Amina Razvi). Ann Macy Beha Travel Award (Adam Griff, Rohit Mehndirhatta, Ruth Palmon, Matt Simitis). Louis C. Rosenberg Travel Award (Steven Jackson). Marvin E. Goody Prize (Lora Kim, Amina Razvi, Asheshh Saheba). Aga Khan Program Summer Travel Grant (Amina Razvi, Michele Lamprakos, Glaire Anderson, Cagla Hadimioglu). Robert Bradford Newman Medal for Merit in Architectural Acoustics (Jorge Carbonell, Mona Tamari). Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Foundation Traveling Fellowship Nominees (Talia Braude, Mark Jewell). Kristen Ellen Finnegan Memorial Award (Emily Gephart). Ralph Adams Cram Award (Garyfallia Katsavounidou '00). Marjorie Pierce/Dean William Emerson Fellowship (Pui Wan PeralTang). Hyzen Travel Fellowship (Katherine Wheeler-Borum, Erdem Erten, Janna Israel, Muhammed Muzaffar).

External Awards

Kress Travel Award (Juliana Maxim). Graham Foundation Grant (Juliana Maxim, with Associate Professor Mark Jarzombek). Wolfsonian Fellowship (Adnan Morshed). Wyeth Fellowship (Adnan Morshed). American Institute of Iranian Studies Fellowship (Talin der Grigorian). 2001 ASHRAE Homer Addams Award (Jelena Srebric '00). ASHRAE Grant-in-Aid Awards (John Zhai, Kazu Kobayashi). 4th International Laboratory in the History of Science Fellowhip (Janna Israel). Martin Family Society for Sustainability Membership (Brooke Wortham). Carter Manny Award/Graham Foundation honorary citation (Maha Yahya).


The department is pleased to host two competitive internships with firms of international renown and is presently negotiating for additional opportunities for outstanding students. This year Junko Nakagawa completed an internship at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Paris. Laura Bouwman was selected for a similar internship at RPBW again in Paris. Jason Hart was selected for the Takenaka Internship in Japan.

Exchange Programs

The department participates in several exchange or visiting student programs which select students by competition. TU Delft sent two students to MIT this year and in the coming year will receive two MIT undergraduate students (Tina Lin, John Rothenberg); University of Hong Kong sent one student; and Cambridge University, for the fourth year, sent two students.

Stanford Anderson

More information about the Department of Architecture can be found online at

return to top
Table of Contents