MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


1995-96 was a contributive year in the rebuilding of the department and its several programs(both in the events of the year and in planning for the future. Notable accomplishments and problems will be reviewed here according to the organization of our department in four discipline groups, and subsequently under headings for the other major issues.


Architectural Design is the core group of the department, having primary responsibility for the professional Master of Architecture degree program as well as both undergraduate and graduate studies in architecture.


The first students who entered under our new curriculum will graduate in the fall term of 1996. We continue to fine tune this curriculum. The fundamental course in drawing introduced last year was extremely successful in itself and in its contribution to the conviction with which students engage their primary studio work. The culminating, integrative subject in building technology was taught for the first time and with excellent results. Plans were laid for an innovative subject in professional practice which is the last new element of the curriculum and will be offered in parallel with the thesis during the fall term.

Architectural Design Studios

Recent improvements in the level of development, completion, and presentation in architectural design were maintained. Our goal of having more upper level studios taught by internationally recognized teachers was furthered in plans that will now begin to appear. Michael McKinnell, a local architect of international stature and noted as an exceptional teacher, joins us as an Adjunct Professor teaching one studio each year. We have established ties with several major architects who will offer visiting studios on a periodic basis: these include Dimitris Antonakakis of Athens, Charles Correa of Bombay, and Ada Karmi-Melamede of Tel Aviv. Fumihiko Maki of Tokyo may make briefer appearances.

Architectural Design Theses

Recent efforts at improvement in both the process and product of theses were revealed in an exceptional group of March theses that permitted excellent criticism, and even celebration, for the first time by a group of noted external reviewers.

Design Inquiry/Design and Computation

All students have taken the fundamental subject in solid modeling. More advanced subjects in computer visualization are offered by Professors Julie Dorsey and Takehiko Nagakura as well as Research Scientist Kent Larson. The use of the computer for technical analysis of models is increasingly common, largely through the Building Technology faculty. The integration of computation in studio work is most evident in special studios taught by Professor Andrew Scott and Dean William Mitchell, but increasingly appears in other studios largely through the initiative of students.

George Stiny joined the faculty as a leader in advanced studies in the rationalization of design. Professor William Porter led the Design Inquiry section which incorporates not only a range of computationally-based research (representation, visualization of light and acoustic phenomena, etc.) but also innovative studies in programming, the changing workplace, and so on. Andrew Scott continued with the staged integration of issues of sustainability and architecture; he has organized an international conference for next academic year.


This two-year post-professional degree continues to perform well as one of the nation's few serious advanced masters programs. The number, diversity and strength of theses in the Design Inquiry area improved markedly. Applications (and acceptances) for next year were strong in all the divisions -- notably increased in History, Theory and Criticism.


Searches for two faculty members in areas of Building Technology that most strongly interact with architectural studios (a weakness in recent years) resulted in one appointment (Chris Luebkeman from the University of Oregon) and another that may mature soon. Other recently appointed faculty enjoyed remarkable success. Both Julie Dorsey and Yan Chen won multi-year NSF grants as well as other significant funded research. A new indoor air research facility for Professor Chen is nearing completion in Building N51. Professor Leon Glicksman brings the Architecture Department into the Alliance for Global Sustainability. (Andrew Scott of the design faculty also has support from AGS.)


The rebuilding of this section is moving faster than anticipated. Though we had to rely significantly on visitors this year, both performance and esprit were high. The pool of applicants was large and very good; we enlisted all of our top choices. With the fall term, our two new mid-career appointees -- the art historian Michael Leja and the architectural historian Mark Jarzombek -- will be in place. Both are noted for their research, distinguished teaching, and collegiality. Leja's recent book, Reframing Abstract Expressionism, won the Eldredge Prize of the Smithsonian Institution.


To the recently consolidated appointment of Krzysztof Wodiczko, we added the appointment of another world-recognized artist, Dennis Adams. Both these artists are also remarkably theoretically aware and articulate -- exceptional people for an academic environment. It is now vital to provide them with the resources that will lead them to work through MIT, rather than away from it.


We are grateful for considerable student aid assistance from the Provost's office in the last two years, making us more competitive with other schools than two years ago. Nevertheless, competition is still severe and the needs of our students, who are in fields with long degree programs and low professional salaries, are profound.


Renovation of the remaining available studio space in buildings 3 and 7 should be completed for the fall term. With this we will be able to unify almost all of our studio teaching in the Main complex, and thus bring the majority of our teaching programs into proximity with one another and with Rotch Library and the department administration.


We have never had such an excellent and ambitious AKPIA faculty as now: Attilio Petruccioli and Nasser Rabbat supplemented by Sibel Bozdogan. Their teaching is excellent and Petruccioli conducts international symposia every term.


A total of 69 undergraduates and 171 graduate students (including 95 MArch, 42 SMArchS/SM without specification, 8 SMBT, 3 SMVisS, 23 PhD resident and 15 PhD non-resident, and 2 non-degree special students) were counted in Course IV this year.

Student Awards designated by the Department or Institute: The William Everett Chamberlain Prize for graduating BSADs for achievement in design (Kara Bartelt). The Sydney B. Karofsky `37 Prize for the outstanding Master of Architecture student with one further year of study (Frederick Gutierrez). The Francis Ward Chandler Prize for achievement in architectural design (Carlos Ridruejo). The Alpha Rho Chi Medal for leadership, service for the school and department, and promise of real professional merit (Richard Stump). The AIA Certificate of Merit for second-ranked master of architecture student (Winston Lim). The AIA Medal for the top-ranked master of architecture student (Robert Benson). The SMArchS Prize (Michael Fox, Rupinder Singh, Joseph Raia). The Imre Halasz Thesis Award (Carlos Ridruejo). The AIA Foundation Scholarship nominees (Melanie Coo, Scott Tulay). The Caminos Memorial Fund Award for students concerned with third world and first world issues (Owiso Makuku). Tucker-Voss Award nominees for students showing particular promise in building construction (Henry Harvey). The Kristen Ellen Finnegan Memorial Award in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture (Annie Pedret, Sarah Whiting). Faculty Design Award (Nina Bischofberger, Soyoung Kang, Tinchuck Agnes Ng). Schlossman Research Fellow (Osama Tolba). Ann Macy Beha Travel Award (Frank Hekel, William Lackey, Sandra Ventura). Louis C. Rosenberg Travel Award (Christine McGrath, William Scholtens). Robert Newman Student Fund Award (for acoustics) (Deirdre Terzian). Phi Beta Kappa (Matthew Gorbet).

External Awards: Citation of Merit, Carter Manny Award (Francesca Rogier). Mary Davis Fellowship, National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (Edward Eigen). Historians of Islamic Art Fellow (Shirine Hamadeh). Institute of Turkish Studies Grant (Shirine Hamadeh). Aga Khan Travel Award (Shirine Hamadeh). Kress Travel Fellowship (Brian McLaren). Short Term Opportunity Grant for German and European Studies, Modern Culture and The Ethnic Artifact Conference (Brian McLaren). Kress Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in Art History (Francesca Rogier). Chester Dale Fellowship, National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts (Samuel Isenstadt). Kress Fellowship (Rejean Legault). Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Annie Pedret). American Association of University Women International Fellowship (Shirine Hamadeh).



Ann Pendleton-Jullian and Sibel Bozdogan were promoted to Associate Professor effective 1 July 1996. Leslie Norford was granted tenure effective 1 July 1996.

Visiting faculty included Dimitris Antonakakis, William Bruder and Donlyn Lyndon, T. Kelly Wilson, and Bill Hubbard who each taught one semester of design studio; Paul Donnelly who taught in the building technology group; and James Ackerman who taught in the History, Theory, and Criticism section. Dennis Adams returned as Visiting Artist in the spring; his appointment as Associate Professor of Visual Arts with tenure was approved and becomes effective July 1, 1996. Mark Jarzombek was Visiting Associate Professor in the History of Architecture; his appointment as Associate Professor with tenure also was approved and becomes effective July 1, 1996.

Leon Groisser, Professor of Structures, Ákos Moravánszky, Visiting Associate Professor in History, Theory, and Criticism, and Leonard Morse-Fortier, Assistant Professor of Building Technology, completed the last year of their appointments.

The Building Technology section was involved in two searches, resulting in the appointment of Chris Luebkeman as Assistant Professor beginning next January and in the identification of a strong candidate for the second position which is still in the negotiation stage. The Architectural Design search identified a candidate as well, although the academic approval process is not yet complete.


Students extended their learning as well as their abilities to contribute solutions to design opportunities through workshops in India, Northern Pakistan, and Spain. An urban design studio was conducted partially in Taiwan and another in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. A preliminary studio experience in Peru led to further interaction with two Peruvian instructors participating in the studio upon the students' return. A drawing course traveled to Rome in June. A design workshop is acting as consultants with the public school system in Washington, D.C. As the department has accumulated experience in such international and real-world efforts, the results have been increasingly beneficial to both the students and their hosts.

The Architecture Lecture Series brought Dimitris Fatouros, John Habraken, Michael Leja, and Peter Testa in the fall. William Bruder gave the tenth Arthur Schein Memorial Lecture and Fumihiko Maki gave the third Pietro Belluschi Lecture. The Architecture/Machine Debates, organized by Julian Beinart, focussed panel discussions with MIT faculty and distinguished visitors, and invited audience participation, on four questions: What Could Architecture Be? Urbanism: Does Distance Matter? How Will Architects Practice? How Will We Learn with Machines? In the spring, speakers included Kurt Forster, Santiago Calatrava, Donlyn Lyndon, Renée Kemp-Rotan, and James Ackerman.

The department publication, Thresholds, examined the nature of the design thesis. The weekly newsletter, PIN UP, continued to build a loyal readership and featured opinions and articles, reviews of lectures and exhibits, calendar items, photos and drawings, and doses of humor to enliven its pages. In particular this year, the editors notably strengthened its role as a means of dialogue among faculty and students.

Aga Khan Professor Attilio Petruccioli organized two two-day conferences with international participation, funded by The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT, and concerned with: "Expressions of Identity: The architecture of Islamic centers in North America" and "Rethinking the XIXth Century Town."

Faculty members continue to be well represented in the respected journals of their fields with articles reflecting their interests in research, theory and practice. Faculty members receiving awards include Andrew Scott (with Takehiko Nagakura and Dean William Mitchell)(1996 American Institute of Architects Education Honors Award); Paul Donnelly and Andrew Scott (Building Integrated Photovoltaics Competition, First Prize); John Habraken (BKVB Award, The Netherlands); Michael Leja (Eldredge Award, Smithsonian Institution); Stanford Anderson (American Institute of Architects 1995 International Book Award). The MIT Museum hosted an exhibition of work by Jan Wampler; the new Wolk Gallery hosted an exhibition of work by Professor Emeritus Eduardo Catalano.

I would assess the past year as marked by steady progress on most fronts, especially in the quality of March theses and of faculty appointments in this and recent years.

Stanford Anderson

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96