MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


During the 1997-98 academic year, the School of Architecture and Planning vigorously continued to improve its core physical facilities, to develop new computer and digital telecommunication capabilities, to sponsor new ventures in research and teaching, and to build and renew its faculty. These efforts are expected to position the School as a strong leader into the 21st century.


Faculty development and renewal remains a top priority. During 1997-98 there were important faculty appointments in all units of the school.

In the Department of Architecture Ellen Dunham-Jones was promoted to Associate Professor of Architecture and Qingyan Chen was promoted to Associate Professor of Building Technology. Bill Hubbard was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor while Wellington Reiter was appointed Associate Professor of the Practice of Architecture.

In Media Arts and Sciences Judith Donath, whose research explores the relationship between virtual identity and online communities, was named Assistant Professor. Brian Smith, whose primary research interest is the development and evaluation of an interactive video system for high school classrooms, joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor. Aaron Bobick, LG Career Development Professor of Computational Vision, was promoted to Associate Professor. Alex Pentland was promoted to Full Professor and named Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences. Marvin Minsky was named Toshiba Professor Emeritus.

In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning Professor Lawrence Bacow was appointed Chancellor of MIT. Bacow was also named Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Initiatives and the Lee & Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies. Assistant Professor Vicki Norberg-Bohm was named Co-director of the Program for Environmental Education and Research. Timothy Riddiough was promoted to Associate Professor, Dennis Frenchman was appointed Professor of the Practice of Urban Design, and Paul Smoke was appointed Associate Professor of the Practice of Development and Planning. The Department hired Eran Ben-Joseph as Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture. Dr. Ceasar McDowell, a national leader in research and writing on the intersection of race, technology, and education, was named Associate Professor of the Practice of Community Development and appointed new Director of the Community Fellows program.

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.

Two special fellowship programs in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Community Fellows Program and the SPURS Program, bring to the School mid career practitioners from minority communities who work in urban and regional development in the United States and in developing countries. As Fellows, they study and pursue independent research.


Renovations of main group spaces continued with further improvements to classrooms, research and support spaces. Last summer saw the move and renovation of the SPURS Fellows offices and the renovation of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies's new home on the third floor of building N52. The final phase of construction began this summer with renovations to the City Design and Development suite of studios, classrooms, and offices in 10-485.

The expected completion date of the final phase of renovation is fall 1999.


Curricula throughout the School continued to evolve rapidly during the academic year in response to emerging conditions and opportunities.

The Department of Architecture's undergraduate program has benefited from clarification of its curriculum and now has a core group of committed faculty advisors and mentors in place. Dennis Adams assumed directorship of the Visual Arts Program (VAP), which has five graduate students and continues to support the undergraduate visual arts curriculum at the Institute. The Department received a meritorious review and report from the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee and the National Architectural Accreditation Board Visiting Team.

In collaboration with Institute Committees and the departments of Physics and Materials Science and Engineering, the Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) has begun developing an experimental MAS undergraduate program to be implemented in the near future. During the past year, MAS faculty and staff offered eight undergraduate subjects, conducted freshman seminars, and served as freshman advisors. MAS continued to provide an extraordinary number of positions to undergraduates in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning's (DUSP) Undergraduate Committee made significant progress towards forming a new interdisciplinary Minor in Public Policy. A committee of DUSP and Political Science faculty finalized a proposal that will be presented to the Committee on Curricula early next year. The non-degree Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) hosted fourteen international Fellows during the academic year, while the Community Fellow Program brought seven community activists to MIT, sponsored a seminar series, and initiated a Web Design program for minority youths.


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 and social issues.

This year in the Department of Architecture The Arthur H. Schein Memorial Lecture was given by Thomas Herzog. Renzo Piano delivered the Pietro Belluschi Lecture. The first Felix Candela lecture was given by David Billington. Distinguished guest lecturer Santiago Calatrava delivered three well received lectures and accompanying seminars. For their Beijing Urban Studio Design, Professors Jan Wampler and Dennis Frenchman were awarded the Irwin Sizer Award for Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education. In the fall, Visiting Associate Professor Hasan-Uddin Khan organized a symposium, "The Architecture/Landscape Pact: Pedagogical Initiatives." In the spring the Department hosted a symposium, "Architecture, Art, and Cultural History: Refractions and Reflections," to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the History, Theory, and Criticism program.

In the Program in Media Arts and Sciences Professor Tod Machover was awarded the first annual DigiGlobe Prize in Germany for his invention of hyperinstruments. The Computer Clubhouse, a collaborative program between the Media Laboratory and Boston's Computer Museum, won the seventh annual Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. Professor Pattie Maes received the International Engineering Consortium award and was named one of the 50 "cyber elite" in the publication, Digital Time.

In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning students and faculty in the City Design and Development Group organized and participated in the Boston Harbor Conference. The Conference drew together community and national experts who discussed how to best utilize this regional resource. In the spring, the Department sponsored a one-and-a-half day symposium on "Advanced Technology and Low-Income Communities." Over the summer, twenty-two students and faculty participated in the fifth Beijing Urban Design Studio, held in China. During his residence at MIT, Martin Luther King visiting professor Ernesto J. Cortés, Jr. received the prestigious Heinz Family Foundation Award for public policy.

The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) held an extensive lecture series and two roundtable discussions during the academic year. In the fall, AKPIA sponsored the roundtable discussion "Dead Cities of the Limestone Massif in Syria" and in the spring they hosted a roundtable entitled "The Sacred in Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism."

The Center for Real Estate (CRE) hosted a successful day-long focus group, attended by 20 senior real estate investment executives and CRE faculty, on the strategic information needed for real estate decision making.

Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) Professor Emeritus Otto Piene (Director Emeritus) coordinated a world-wide logo design competition for the city of Stuttgart, Germany. First prize was won by Media Lab Professor and former CAVS student, John Maeda. Professor Krzysztof Wodiczko was awarded the prestigious Hiroshima Art Prize, presented every three years to an artist whose work demonstrates high achievement in international contemporary art and contributes to world peace. Senior Fellow Elizabeth Goldring received an award from the Charlotte Moorman Fellowship Fund for making art accessible to the visually impaired.

The Ralph Adams Cram Award for outstanding interdisciplinary work at the Master's level was jointly presented to three 1997 graduates of the Center for Real Estate's MSRED program. Aubrey E. Cannuscio, James C. Cole, and Michael T. Jammen won the prize for their report, "Field$ of Dream$," describing the relationship between the financing and design of sports stadiums.

During the academic year, curator of Architecture at the MIT Museum, Kimberly Shilland, organized three shows in the School's Wolk Gallery: The Middle Passage Project, The Work of Allies and Morrison, Reflections: Drawing and Projects by Wellington Reiter.

More information about the School of Architecture and Planning can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

William J. Mitchell

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98