2020 Grad Series: Michelle Badr

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates! Read the second installment of our series from our 2019 Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholar, Michelle Badr. 

Michelle BadrMy reasons for pursuing an M.Arch were not necessarily conventional—sure, I wanted to revisit conceptual design, immerse myself in research, and pursue licensure— but it was also a final test to determine whether or not I wanted to stay in the discipline at all. The disconnect between an inspiring architectural education and the banal tasks that the profession offered were weighing heavily on me, so much so that I decided to return to the academic environment that first fostered my architectural interests, and I am grateful that I did.

At Yale, I realized my definition of architecture was very different from that of others. Was architecture restricted to building buildings? Could it encompass systems-thinking or other forms of spatial problem-solving? Courses outside of studio opened pathways to explore the latter definition, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, and positioning spatial logic as an architectural skill in and of itself. As my definition started to evolve, so did my understanding of the agency and empowering role of the architect.

I dove into other groups on campus, pursued unique research projects, and sought guidance from mentors to extract answers on what architecture really is and what it could be utilized for. This led to some amazing  projects and experiences— rethinking urban identity in Sweden, designing an innovation center in Afghanistan, imagining post-privacy housing in Mexico, dismantling private property in Italy, researching design processes in  San Francisco, and curating an exhibition on the subversive use of space at the Yale School of Architecture.

These three years have left me both inspired and equipped to apply architectural thinking beyond the classroom and traditional methods of practice. I am incredibly grateful to Payette and the Architects Foundation for enabling me to cultivate a definition of architecture that breaks boundaries— one which I plan to emulate throughout my career.

Learn more about the Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship >

2020 Grad Series: Sophie Chien

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates! Read the first part of our series from our 2015-2020 Diversity Advancement Scholar, Sophie Chien.

Sophie Chien

In my five years at Rhode Island School of Design, the most important thing I’ve learned is to care. I look at care in a broad sense: to care is to be thoughtful, to build up healthy communities, to apply what we learned, to be an active citizen, to respect yourself, to advocate for others, to pay attention. This is such a gift, that designers are sensitive and responsive to the world around us. I have the power to literally draw, sculpt, paint, weave, print, sew, design, and build new futures, futures that are more equitable, beautiful, and just. Futures that don’t exist yet, but should, futures that embrace our shared humanity.

At school, I have participated in opportunities that seem impossible when stacked up together. I have modeled a friend’s collection in New York Fashion Week, traveled the world learning from schoolmates and teachers, and been inspired by so many generous people who have taken the time to talk with and mentor me. I had the honor of serving as student body president, and have been asked to speak on several panels and a podcast during my time in school.

I am very proud of the ways I have developed my own design ethos and practice, learning from internships in Nome, Providence, Rome, Paris, and Los Angeles, working for both design firms and government agencies. During my five years, I have negotiated my studio projects and my associated interests with several fellowships both on and off campus, learning from my local Providence community as much as my architectural community. In every studio project, and culminating with my almost-done thesis, I have centered justice and care as the most important design components.

This scholarship gave me the self- and financial confidence necessary to thrive in the breakneck pace of architecture school and reminded me that my experience honors the people who have come before me and the people that come after me. As I leave architecture school, I will continue to shape my future as an organizer and designer.

As a child of an immigrant, my dad always told me education is the one thing nobody can take away from you. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my architecture degree from RISD is the one thing that I will always have with me and am so honored to have been supported by the Architects Foundation during my entire experience.

Learn more about the Diversity Advancement Scholarship >

Panel Recap: Placemaking at HBCUs

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) make up 3 percent of the country’s colleges and universities, enroll 10 percent of all African American students, and produce almost 20 percent of all African American graduates, making these institutions increasingly impactful and vital. While meeting admissions goals and improving retention rates are critical goals for any college, for HBCUs history, students’ backgrounds, cultural nuances, and other factors require different approaches to student success. Thoughtful campus planning and design can play an important role in creating environments that allow students to embark upon higher education as the cornerstone of the Dream.

On January 30, we convened a panel at The Octagon to discuss placemaking at HBCUs with:

Andrew B. Feiler, Photographer
Bradford C. Grant, Professor of Architecture, Howard University
Warren L. Williams, AIA, Principal, Lord Aeck Sargent
Renée Yancey, Managing Director of EDI Development & Workforce Strategy, The American Institute of Architects

Watch the recap >
Read our statement on The Octagon >

In its 30th Year, the Richard Morris Hunt Prize Redoubles its Impact

PARIS- At a moment of global environmental concern, one organization is supporting greater scholarship in conserving the built environment — the Richard Morris Hunt Prize. Founded in 1990, the Richard Morris Hunt Prize awards two prizes each year to two laureates, a Fellow and a Scholar, practicing architects specializing in historic preservation. Grants are alternatively given to French and American recipients to support in-depth research travel in the two countries. During the Richard Morris Hunt Jury on December 6th, 2019, the remarkable quality of all four finalists motivated the decision to give not only the annual RMHP Fellow and Scholar awards, but also two special 30th Anniversary Grants. Their subjects were thoroughly relevant and contemporary.

The 2020 RMHP Fellow, Simon Petot-Bottin, presented a subject entitled “National Parks and Their Amenities: The Paradox of Architecture Within Parks.” Petot-Bottin will receive a grant of $20,000 to support six months of research in the United States. Barbara Lambec, 2020 RMHP Scholar, presented a subject entitled “Waste or Opportunity: Reuse as a Vector for Renewing the Economics of Materials.” Her five-week research trip to the United States will be supported by a $5,000 grant. Runners-up Bérénice Gaussuin and Pierre Gommier will each benefit from a $2,500 award for travel and research.

During their travel and study, Fellows, Scholars, and grant recipients will benefit from the support of the Richard Morris Hunt Prize, the American Institute of Architects, (AIA), and the Architects Foundation (AF) managing teams. Scholars typically engage with the foremost experts in their chosen fields, exploring unique and exemplary sites while confronting new approaches and techniques. Finally, they become part of a rich network comprised by the thirty-seven RMHP Laureates.

RMHP 2020 Laureates

The Architects Foundation’s 2019 Year in Review

This year, the Architects Foundation (AF) solidified its position as attracting, inspiring and investing in the next-generation design community. AF now runs eight different scholarship programs (attract/invest), is building out its museum programming at The Octagon through 2021 (attract/inspire), and has built a framework for a strategic planning process. Throughout 2019, the Foundation has interacted with every single AIA team in support of its initiatives.

AF welcomed 37 new scholars in 2019 with the combined help of 31 jurors, and continues to support an additional 26 scholars with multiyear awards. The Foundation congratulates Orli Hakanoglu, Vaughn Lewis and Jalen Price on graduating from their architecture degree programs.

2019 has also been a whirlwind of networking! The Architects Foundation opened The Octagon’s doors to 3,500+ people for exhibits, tours and lectures. See our latest video of The Octagon here.

AF additionally met with 30+ scholars around the country—in Chicago, Dallas, DC, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and New York.

Finally, the Architects Foundation thanks David Melanҫon for his board service through 2019. Going into 2020, AF welcomes Kendrick Higa, AIA and Daniel Kirby, FAIA to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Architects Foundation Now Accepting Applications for Scholarship Programs

WASHINGTON –The Architects Foundation, the philanthropic partner of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), is now accepting applications for five scholarships supporting students pursuing architecture degrees.

Diversity Advancement Scholarship
This multiyear scholarship supports high school and undergraduate minority students who are entering, enrolled in, or transferring into an undergraduate architecture program recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Scholarships may be renewed every year for up to five years or until the degree is completed ($20,000 total award toward tuition and fees).

Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship
The Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship is a $10,000 award toward tuition and fees supporting a woman studying architecture within a NAAB-accredited bachelor or master’s degree program. The awardee will also receive a senior mentor from Payette for the scholarship year.

Yann Weymouth Graduate Scholarship
The Yann Weymouth Graduate Scholarship supports a graduate student whose work demonstrates an exemplary focus at the design intersection of sustainability, resilience, wellness and beauty. The scholarship recipient receives $5,000 toward tuition and fees and mentorship from Yann Weymouth, AIA, for the scholarship year.

The a/e ProNet David W. Lakamp Scholarship
The a/e ProNet David W. Lakamp Scholarship is awarded annually to two students who demonstrate a strong interest in practice and risk management in the field of architecture. Each student receives a $5,000 award toward tuition and fees.

The Architects Foundation / McAslan Fellowship
Established in 2019, the Architects Foundation/McAslan Fellowship supports travel for two students to engage with UK-based firm John McAslan+ Partners. Each student will receive a $7,500 award to work with the firm on a homelessness initiative in Scotland.

The application period for these five scholarships is open through Jan. 17, 2020. More information on the Foundation’s scholarship programs can be found online.

Architects Foundation announces 2019 Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship recipients

Scholarship recipients receive funds, a subscription to ArchiPrep® and study materials for the Architectural Registration Examination. 

WASHINGTON –The Architects Foundation is awarding ten recipients with its 2019 Jason Pettigrew Memorial Architect Registration Examination (ARE) Scholarship.

The Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship recognizes the significant contributions of emerging professionals at early stages in their careers and helps defray the costs associated with the ARE. Each of the scholarship recipients will receive funds to cover all sections of the ARE, as well as a free subscription to ArchiPrep® and up to $500 worth of ARE 5.0 study materials. This year’s scholars include:

  • Evan Berger, Assoc. AIA
  • Hiba Bhatty, Assoc. AIA
  • Ethan Coverstone, Assoc. AIA
  • Michele Crawford, Assoc. AIA
  • Gustavo Diez Presilla, Assoc. AIA
  • Tasanee Durrett, Assoc. AIA
  • Johanna Forman, Assoc. AIA
  • Tiara Hughes, Assoc. AIA
  • Sandra Montalbo, Assoc. AIA
  • Ofunne Oganwu, Assoc. AIA

Three additional scholarships are also being donated this year by 2018 Pettigrew Scholarship recipient Tiffany Brown, Assoc. AIA. Brown’s scholarship will cover the cost of AREs for African American females who did not already receive an award this year through her organization 400 FORWARD, which aims to support the next generation of licensed women architects. Recipients of Brown’s award, include:

  • Tasheria Shorts, Assoc. AIA
  • Gloria Spellen, Assoc. AIA
  •  Zandria Mims Tolliver, Assoc. AIA

“We’re astounded every year by the caliber of the applicants for this scholarship, and this year was no exception,” said Architects Foundation Board member and jury chair Bill Roschen, FAIA. “We very much appreciate Ms. Brown stepping in to provide additional help, which is a great testament to the strong alumni network of our Architects Foundation scholars.”

The Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship was established in 2004 by the AIA National Associates Committee, to honor the memory of their late friend and colleague, Jason Pettigrew, Associate AIA. The scholarship has been with the Architects Foundation since 2015.

Complete details on the Jason Pettigrew scholarship program are available on the Architects Foundation website.

Graduation reflections from Architects Foundation Scholars

Orli HakanogluOrli Hakanoglu
2018 Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Scholar
May 2019 Graduate, Yale University

It has been [a few months] since I graduated with my M-Arch degree from Yale, and have had a bit of time to relax and reflect on the past three incredible years. When I started school, I had no idea what world I was about to enter; all I knew was my own curiosity and eagerness to join a community that spoke my language. What I didn’t anticipate was the richness of this language, and that it had such a wealth of “dialects,” so to speak. I was introduced to countless angles of investigation that greatly expanded my understanding of the process of design. Anchoring me and my peers’ exploration was an understanding of history, context, and an essential reflexivity about the role of the profession itself. This multifaceted quality of inquiry was encouraged from all directions: students, faculty, visiting critics and jurors, members of the University, and the broader New Haven community.

The semester-long teaching fellowships I held were probably the highlight of my time at Yale, particularly those in which I was given a hands-on role as an instructor. I would have never imagined that my own knowledge of the subject could be so deepened through work with brilliant peers only a year or two my junior. The school’s encouragement of a richness of perspective and ways of seeing is likely its most powerful pedagogical tool, and I hope to cultivate the same open-mindedness within the communities I belong to in my post-graduate life. I am endlessly thankful to Payette and the Architects Foundation for their support in making this education possible for me. Having graduated, I am now ready to experience the aspects of the profession less dwelled-upon in the classroom, and am planning my next steps as an architect with optimism and excitement.

Vaughn LewisVaughn Lewis
2014 Diversity Advancement Scholar, AF/McAslan Fellow
May 2019 Graduate, The Cooper Union

My acceptance into The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union in 2014 was an incredible opportunity which was both exciting and challenging. It came at a difficult time, a complex year in the 155-year history of the institution when there was a change in Cooper’s tuition policy. Because of this, my first studio Architectonics, led by David Gersten with Wes Rozen and Rikke Jørgensen, was the most formative during my education. In that semester my professors worked to create situations within which the students could inhabit questions and create new works that would embody the current moment in the life of the institution. Together with my classmates, we measured, drew and built a six-foot-high scaled model of the Foundation Building’s exterior, filled with each student’s interpretation of salient interior spaces. Speaking metaphorically, our professors placed the weight of the school in our hands, to care for the school in the most profound sense of “building it.” We built a model of The Cooper Union while acknowledging that The Cooper Union is itself a model of education. This approach was unlike anything I thought studying architecture would be and as a result of this experience, each studio thereafter became a social poetic act, a collection of gestures of ethics and imagination.

Throughout my studies, I committed myself to seek out programs which would provide me the foundation I needed to become a valuable member of any design team. Aside from my design studios and classes, it was extremely important to me that I supplemented my education with teaching. I learned about the school of architecture while I was in high school and attending a Cooper Union pre-college program called The Saturday Program. The program offered free studio art courses to New York City Public High School students and gave students individual advisement on applying to colleges along with preparing their art and architecture portfolios. It was because of this program that I gained the necessary skills I needed to create a competitive application for acceptance to The Cooper Union. So in my sophomore year, I became an instructor and taught a class each semester thereafter until I graduated. It was important for me to help give to others what was given to me because I fully understand that service is the price we
pay for the space we occupy.

I also received several prominent scholarships/grants and fellowships including: a grant from The National Science Foundation, 2018 William Cooper Mack Thesis Fellowship, 2017 Palmer Hayden Travel Fellowship and the 2015 AIA /AF Diversity Scholarship. These fellowships and organizations have provided me with a tremendous amount of financial and moral support. As a result of these opportunities, I was fortunate enough to travel to places like Mexico, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, China, and Africa.

An integral aspect of architecture is its engagement with different cultures and communities around the world. Furthermore, I pursued architecture fully aware of the disparity between the total number of African American in the U.S. population and the percentage of licensed African-American architects.

However, I believe that without greater diversity in the architecture field, the profession threatens to limit its views, perspectives, and ideas. As we live in a multicultural society, it is my belief that the architecture profession should support professionals who reflect and represent the diverse communities they serve.

Jalen PriceJalen Price
2014 Diversity Advancement Scholar
May 2019 Graduate, Drury University

My time in architecture school is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in my life. Going into this course of study, I had a base understanding of architecture. I was unaware of the depth at which architects and other design professions do impact society. Throughout my five years at Drury University, I grew as a person and largely as a designer. I was challenged to design in a variety of typologies and user groups. My designs ranged from a singular space to complexes, to a 25-year master plan. Outside of design, I solidified my commitment to using design to impact my community through the student organizations Art of Space and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). I was able to grow my leadership skills as a Residential Assistant for the university.

In addition to working part-time, keeping up with course requirements, and participating in various organizations, I am proud of receiving the following recognition during my time in architecture school: Three-time recipient of a scholarship from the AIA St. Louis Scholarship Fund; Community Award recipient from the Hammons School of Architecture; and Alpha Rho Chi Bronze Medal recipient from the Hammons School of Architecture. I completed two architecture internships. I was a Summer Intern with Grice Group Architects -St. Louis, MO in 2017. I completed a Spring internship with Agency Landscape and Planning – Cambridge, MA in 2019.

As I enter the professional world, I will begin with a position as an Architectural Designer with BRR Architecture in Kansas City, MO. I am excited to see where this opportunity takes me. I carry two pieces of advice as I begin this phase of my life. A professor once told me keep growing and refuse to become stagnant in my path as a designer and person. The second piece of advice came from a mentor who told to always seize opportunities from those who believe in me. The intersection of design and positive community impact I learned at Drury has sparked an interest in urban design; therefore, I plan to pursue an additional degree in the future.