MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The Department of Architecture continues to maintain and enhance its role as one of the eminent professional schools of architecture, with a mission to provide students instruction in history, technology, and the arts, as well as the many domains of the discipline of architecture. By "discipline" we understand the full constituency of architecture to be much broader in scope than the profession; 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 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.


Level I studios benefited from increased coordination among the studios. Beginning Level II studios concentrate now on tectonics and strengthened links with the building technology section. Upper level option studios and workshops continue to offer a choice of in-depth or large-scale projects, often involving study of international sites. This past year students traveled to Spain, Thailand, India, Washington, DC. A student travel policy is expected to encourage participation in such opportunities while also supporting the curriculum of non-traveling studios and classes.

Computational facilities now are installed throughout studios and research areas rather than collected in a central location, enabling their use as tools for design and analysis. Design Technology continues to refine its mission and means. William Porter and colleagues are developing innovative approaches to programming and the interaction of architect and client. The addition of George Stiny and Terry Knight to the faculty strengthens the effort in computation and design through the study of shape grammars. Takehiko Nagakura (with Kent Larson) is engaged in an intriguing research project in the visualization of unbuilt architecture. It is for work in this area of visualization that Julie Dorsey won the Edgerton Award.

Under the leadership of Hasan-Uddin Khan and Andrew Scott and with the support of a grant from the Graham Foundation, the department is exploring ways to incorporate landscape more fully in the work of the studios and the curriculum generally.


The new research and teaching facility to study indoor air quality and air circulation in rooms is in operation under the direction of Qingyan Chen. The state-of-the-art lab can be used to study indoor air quality, thermal comfort, building energy analysis, and heating ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system control and design. Full scale room interiors can be simulated with a variety of heat sources and ventilation technologies. We are able to measure details of air movement, and pollution dispersion along with interactions of room occupants and equipment. Several research projects directed by Chen and Leon Glicksman are already underway in the facility to study air contamination from materials and new ventilation and cooling technologies which will produce much lower pollution concentrations with the same energy requirements. The facility is also being used to verify new computational schemes for the prediction of air movement in rooms. New wall insulation panels have been developed by Glicksman and Leslie Norford for use in developing countries. These panels use local waste materials to substantially reduce the energy requirements for existing buildings and can be made in the local area at less cost than currently available products.

Chris Luebkeman has joined the group to teach structures and building systems. His research seeks to expand the utility of the world wide web as a teaching and design resource for structures students and students in the design studios. Norford and Julie Dorsey have completed the initial phase of a computational tool to aid architects in designing windows to achieve desired lighting levels with maximum use of natural light. The method uses an optimization algorithm to size and locate windows to minimize the difference between desired and estimated lighting levels. The work will be extended to consider more complex lighting designs and more robust optimization approaches, including genetic algorithms. Our major need is additional supported Teaching Assistants to help support advanced graduate study in Building Technology.


Faculty and students continue to be well represented by publications and conference contributions in their fields. "Testing Ground, Contesting Space," an interdisciplinary graduate student symposium was organized jointly by MIT and Harvard Graduate School of Design and supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation. Preparations are underway for a major symposium to mark this section's 25th anniversary next year.


Five students were enrolled in the Master of Science in Visual Studies Program. The program graduated its first three students and accepted three new students. Sponsored by the Dean's Office, the Office for the Arts, the Department of Architecture and the Visual Arts Program, world-renowned conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner was invited for a three-week residency to experiment with the equipment in the visual arts "maclab." Mr. Weiner conducted classes and workshops, met informally with students and faculty throughout MIT, and gave a public lecture. The Visual Arts Program has plans to develop a comprehensive visiting artist program to explore digital and other technologies and to work with other universities.


The department spent considerable energy this year to clarify the undergraduate curriculum and increase the visibility of the program, within and outside of the department. Advising of undergraduates has been reorganized and a group of enthusiastic faculty advisors has been recruited and trained. (Previously the major responsibility for advising lay with a now-retired faculty member.)


Competition for exceptionally talented and motivated students remains high. Developing the means to offer competitive packages to students choosing architecture, a field with long degree programs and low professional salaries, is a high priority. We are grateful for the recognition of this difficulty by the Institute. The building technology section in particular has articulated a need for increased TA opportunities to sustain its surging research programs.


The Department was able to consolidate most of the studios in the newly renovated space in buildings 3 and 7, bringing these teaching programs back into proximity with the department administration, Rotch Library, and other discipline groups. Several studios, however, including undergraduate studios, remain in the satellite space in N51/52, along with some faculty offices and the visual arts program. The next phase will be underway during the summer of 1997. The department continues to cope with the necessary disruption to its faculty, staff and students, in support of the goal of unifying our department in the main complex.


The Aga Khan Program (AKPIA) continues to thrive under the energetic leadership of Attilio Petruccioli, supported by the teaching of Nasser Rabbat and Sibel Bozdogan. While maintaining its traditional areas of research in Islamic environments, a new emphasis now concerns theoretical approaches and applications of technology for urban preservation. AKPIA Summer Travel Grants were awarded to Minakshi Mani and Lara Tohme.


A total of 67 undergraduates and 203 graduate students (including 94 MArch, 49 SMArchS, 2 SM without specification, 5 SMBT, 5 SMVisS, 26 PhD resident and 22 PhD non-resident) 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 (Dana Cho). The Sydney B. Karofsky `37 Prize for the outstanding Master of Architecture student with one further year of study (Scott Tulay, Sandra Ventura). The Francis Ward Chandler Prize for achievement in architectural design (Matt Noblett, Frederick Gutierrez). The Alpha Rho Chi Medal for leadership, service for the school and department, and promise of real professional merit (Steven Bull). The AIA Certificate of Merit for second-ranked master of architecture student (Lia Kiladis). The AIA Medal for the top-ranked master of architecture student (Alberto Cabre). The SMArchS Prize (Projjal Dutta, Joseph Press, Mark Sich, Akiko Takenaka). The Imre Halasz Thesis Award (Gerdur Sigfusson). The AIA Foundation Scholarship nominees (James Bruneau, Teresa Tourvas). The Kristen Ellen Finnegan Memorial Award in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture (Juli Carson). Faculty Design Award (Sean Kwok, Andrew Plumb, Joy Wang). Schlossman Research Fellow (Juliet Koss). Ann Macy Beha Travel Award (Talin Der-Grigorian, Joel Turkel, Lana Yoon). Louis C. Rosenberg Travel Award (Eileen McHugh). Ralph Adams Cram Award (Rupinder Singh). Marvin E. Goody Prize (Joseph Charlson and Henry Harvey, co-winners; Robert Clocker; Alvise Simondetti). Royal Fund Award in Architectural History (Annie Pedret).

External Awards: American Association of University Women International Fellowship (Juliet Koss). Fisher Graduate Student paper Award in Turkish and Ottoman Studies (Shirine Hamadeh). Kress/ARIT Grant (Shirine Hamadeh). Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Foundation Traveling Fellowship (Matt Noblett was one of two semi-finalists nationally). Lady Davis Doctoral Fellowship (Alona Nitzan-Shiftan). International competition sponsored by Alvar Aalto Museum (Joy Wang and Taffy Mwandiambara, third prize).


Krzysztof Wodiczko was promoted to Full Professor of Visual Arts. Julie Dorsey was promoted to Associate Professor of Architecture.

N. Michael McKinnell joined the faculty as Adjunct Professor of Architecture. Assistant Professor Chris Luebkeman joined the faculty in building technology, where he will focus on the teaching of structures and building systems. Dennis Adams was appointed Associate Professor of Visual Arts (with tenure). Visiting Professors included Dimitris Antonakakis in architectural design, and Alex Tzonis and Robert van Pelt in history, theory, and criticism. Visiting Associate Professors were Bill Hubbard, Jr., Hasan-Uddin Khan, Terry Knight, Charles Rose, Paul Donnelly, and Peter Testa. Testa's appointment as Associate Professor of Architecture becomes effective July 1, 1997. Lecturers were appointed to cover subjects normally taught by faculty on leave or to meet a perceived need for specific skills or topics: Carl Fasano, Paul Paturzo, Yule Heibel, Vincent Cammalleri, Juan Pedro Paniagua, Barry Webb. Howard Burns and Daniel Tsai collaborated with William Mitchell in a computational studio teaching project.

Edward Levine and Julian Beinart took leaves in the fall term; Nasser Rabbat, Leslie Norford, Ellen Dunham-Jones, and Leila Kinney in the spring.

Maurice Smith and John Myer, two professors who long gave distinctive shape to the studio program, completed their terms of appointment.

The Department of Architecture lost a valued colleague with the death of Wade Hokoda, director of Computer Resources. The History, Theory, and Criticism section mourns the death of Ernest Pascucci, PhD candidate. Professor Emeritus Herbert Beckwith died in June.

Searches are ongoing for a senior design position and a tenure-track position in building technology. A video lecturer search resulted in the appointment of Julia Scher, effective 1 July 1997.


The Department of Architecture Lecture Series brings outstanding scholars, practitioners, and artists to the School. In the fall, speakers were Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Alex Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre, Tod Williams, Lionel March, Gunter Henn. In the spring, speakers included August Sarnitz, Laurie Olin, Lawrence Weiner, Anne-Catrin Schultz, Joseph Brown, Micha Bandini, Michael Pyatok. The Arthur H. Schein Memorial Lecture was given by Ada Karmi-Melamede. The Pietro Belluschi Lecture was given by N. Michael McKinnell. The Department was further enriched by the Building Technology Lecture Series, the HTC Forum, and the Friday Noon Lectures. A faculty-to-faculty forum was initiated this year, to introduce faculty to each other's work in research and in practice, and to offer opportunity for exchange of talents and interests among them.

A student-initiated exhibit of studio work appeared in the Wolk Gallery and featured computer-manipulated and traditional means of representation. Graduate students created the computer-based imagery for another Wolk exhibit on "The Middle Passage," a joint project by a local artist and architect. Work by Dimitris Antonakakis appeared in the soon-to-be redesigned Fourth Floor exhibition space. Two students won a design competition sponsored by the Dean's Office to create flexible exhibition space outside the renovated studios. They will build their winning project this summer. Students in Maurice Smith's workshop installed a "built collage" outside the cafe to celebrate his teachings.

The department publication, Thresholds, is now well established as a means to communicate to alumni and friends of the School something of the intellectual life here. The weekly newsletter, PinUp, served to communicate within the department the many activities available to students, faculty and staff. In particular this year, photo spreads featured studio work.

Attilio Petruccioli organized not one but two international conferences in the fall: "Urban Triumph or Urban Disaster? Post-War Construction" and "Bukhara: The Myth, the Source, the Architecture, and the Urban Fabric." In the spring he organized a conference on "Courtyard House and Urban Fabric." Andrew Scott organized a major fall symposium on "Dimensions of Sustainability," focusing on the relationship of environmentally responsive architecture to questions of form, technology, environment, and culture.

Research in all discipline groups continues to yield opportunities for students in studio and thesis work and to earn recognition for the department. In addition to the prestigious Edgerton Award, Julie Dorsey received major grants, including a multi-year NSF grant, to continue her research in visualization. She also won a prestigious Architectural Research Award from Architecture and the AIA. Qingyan Chen and Leon Glicksman received recognition from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers with a major grant. Chen also received a multi-year NSF grant. Chris Luebkeman received a grant from the Class of `51 Fund for Excellence in Education and the Class of `55 Fund for Excellence in Teaching. Ann Pendleton-Jullian's book, The road that is not a road, was published by The MIT Press. She was named the inaugural holder of the Alfred Henry and Jean Morrison Hayes Career Development Chair. A celebration and symposium in honor of Stanford Anderson marked the publication by The MIT Press of The Education of an Architect (M. Pollak, ed.), a collection of essays by his colleagues and former students in the history, theory, and criticism of architecture. Dennis Adams, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Ritsuko Taho, and Barbara Broughel received public art commissions. Fernando Domeyko won a design competition for a church in Chile, now under construction.

I would assess the events of the past year as a rather steady state, but there was significant planning for future development in undergraduate teaching, sustainability, landscape, preservation, computation, and indoor air quality.

Stanford Anderson

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97