MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

School of Architecture and Planning

During the 1994-95 academic year, the School of Architecture and Planning continued to build and renew its faculty, to improve its core facilities, to develop new computer and digital telecommunication capabilities, and to sponsor new ventures in research and teaching.


Faculty development and renewal remains a top priority. During 1994-95 there were important faculty appointments in all units of the School.

Qingyan Chen, a specialist in indoor air quality, joined the Department of Architecture as Assistant Professor of Building Technology. As the academic year drew to a close, the Department was moving ahead rapidly with appointments that would rebuild faculty levels in History, Theory, and Criticism and the Visual Arts Program and continue the building of a top-flight group in Design and Computation.

In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Phillip Clay was appointed Associate Provost of the Institute and was succeeded as Head of the Department by Associate Professor Bish Sanyal. Professor Lawrence Bacow became Chair-Elect of the MIT faculty, and Adjunct Professor Philip Herr retired after more than thirty years of distinguished teaching in the Design and Development group. New Assistant Professor Aixa Cintron brought a critical perspective in labor market studies to the Housing, Community and Economic Development group.

In Media Arts and Sciences, an endowment was established to create a professorship in memory of Muriel R. Cooper, and thanks to a generous gift by Alex Dreyfoos, Jr. '54, the Program now has two endowed career development chairs. The first holders are Associate Professor V. Michael Bove, Jr. and Assistant Professor Michael Hawley, who transferred from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Justine Cassell joined the faculty as Assistant Professor. Two outstanding figures in the development of computational media, W. Daniel Hillis and Mitchell Kapor, joined the Program as Adjunct Professors.

At the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Elizabeth Goldring and Paul Earls acted as Co-Directors until the new Director, Krzysztof Wodiczko, assumed his post in February. Director Emeritus Otto Piene continued to serve as the Chairman of the MIT Advisory Council on Art, Science and Technology. In the Aga Khan Program, Professor Attilio Petruccioli was named Acting Director.

The School of Architecture and Planning gathered in May to honor the memory of the late John T. Howard, who was a pioneer city planner in the US and head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 1957 to 1973. This year also saw the passing of former MIT President Jerome B. Wiesner, whose support over many years meant much to the Program in Media Arts and Sciences.


This academic year saw continued major progress in consolidating the School's space in contiguous locations and in creating the facilities necessary to support research and teaching in the next century.

The second phase of the School's $7 million reconstruction was finished, including the completion of its first Studio of the Future, a 4400-square-foot studio space in Building 5. Major donations by Sun Microsystems have included a high-end rendering machine and server, as well as desktop computers, some of which will be fitted with a Vicor/Avistar videoconferencing system to be installed on computers at several design labs around MIT, linking students and faculty for collaborative design projects. Another industry partner, PictureTel, Inc., contributed four digital videoconferencing systems for the use of the design studios, and will be using the studios as a beta test site for new videoconferencing products expected in 1995-96. Telecommunications links with external corporate sponsors and academic institutions are being planned to strengthen the learning experience and research agenda in the networked collaborative design studios.

Construction began in the spring on renovated departmental headquarters for both Architecture and Urban Studies and Planning on the third floor of Building 7, expected to open in September, 1995. At the heart of these office suites will be common areas including a vibrant installation piece by the distinguished American artist Frank Stella, the generous gift of Elliot Wolk. As the year came to an end, design work began on the next phase of construction for the school, including additional state-of-the-art studios and a new visualization theater, in Buildings 7 and 3.


Curricula throughout the School continue to evolve vigorously in response to emerging conditions and opportunities.

The Department of Architecture's Master of Architecture degree completed its second year under the new curriculum. Introduction of the required fundamental subject in solid modeling has led to an increasing use of computer graphics in studios and advanced studies in computational media and programs. A review of the Master of Science in Architecture Studies program led to greater emphasis on two of our particular strengths--Architecture and Urbanism, with a certificate program in Urban Design, and Design Inquiry--and doctoral study was also introduced in the latter area.

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning has intensified its efforts to generate funding that will support both faculty research and graduate students. At the undergraduate level, more faculty served as freshman advisors and more undergraduate subjects were offered. The Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies hosted 15 fellows from around the world, while the Community Fellows program brought to MIT 13 mid-career activists from disadvantaged communities in the US.

Media Arts and Sciences continued to expand undergraduate subject offerings, and although no undergraduate major is currently offered the program once again provided an extraordinary number of openings in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

The professional education program of the Center for Real Estate included the 1995 Summer Institute of the Pension Real Estate Association, the fourth year that MIT has hosted the Institute. The tenth summer of the Center's professional development courses brought almost 300 attendees to campus in June and July, a fifty percent increase over the previous summer. At the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, former CAVS Fellow Nam Jun Paik endowed the Center with the funding for a fellowship in the name of former CAVS Fellow Charlotte Moorman.


During 1994-95 the School presented a wide range of public programs designed to expose a broad public to current trends in research. During the summer, the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, in conjunction with the MIT Museum, presented a 25-year retrospective exhibit of work from the Center: Light, Space, Time. In October, a day-long symposium on digital expression sponsored by the Media Laboratory brought to campus leading cultural figures for wide-ranging examination of the future of the arts and media. In November the Center for Real Estate marked its tenth anniversary with a symposium on recent changes in real estate finance which attracted more than 800 attendees to Kresge auditorium. Special events in the Department of Architecture included international conferences on gardens of the Muslim empires and on typological process and design theory, both presented by The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, and a day-long seminar sponsored by alumnus Datuk Lim Chong Keat celebrating the centenary of R. Buckminster Fuller.

The Ralph Adams Cram Award for outstanding interdisciplinary work at the Master's level was presented to June Pauline Williamson, June 1995 graduate of the M.Arch. program.

William J. Mitchell

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95