Today, Robert A.M. Stern Architects announced Wilson Harkhono — a Master of Architecture candidate at Harvard GSD — as the 2018 RAMSA Travel Fellowship recipient for his proposal, “Rooted Future: Resurfacing Lost Identity”. Awarded by RAMSA's partners since 2013, the $10,000 prize distinguishes architectural research that reflects the firm's own focus on “investigations of the perpetuation of tradition through invention”. The prize is open to graduate students in their penultimate year attending any of the 19 participating architecture schools in the U.S. and Canada.
The prize will fund Harkhono's travels to Indonesia, where he'll catalog and analyze the highly characteristic architectural style of traditional Rumah Adat homes. "[T]he idea of revolution to all aspects of Indonesian life, producing 'modern' buildings to align Indonesia closer to Western countries, exacerbated the decline of Rumah Adat,” Harkhono writes in his proposal. “This proposal seeks to resurface the roots of Rumah Adat by traveling to various regions to sketch, diagram, study, photograph, and experience first-hand the variegated traditions in each of the different regions.”
After evaluating 37 submissions from 12 schools, the jury — RAMSA Partners Melissa DelVecchio, Daniel Lobitz, and Grant F. Marani — selected Harkhono's proposal for its clarity and geographic focus. “Mr. Harkhono's tight and manageable area of exploration in Indonesia intrigued us,” the jury said in a statement. “His proposal to learn from traditions that have been suppressed and nearly lost speaks to the mission of the Fellowship.”
The jury also praised three additional finalists:
Osehikhueme Etomi (Cornell University) for “Rethinking Colonial Africa: Investigating Indigenous African Architectural Practices and Cultures”
Daniel Kiser (University of Notre Dame) for “California Style: The Romance of Spain in America”
Grace McEniry (Harvard University) for “Section Matters: Walking to Reveal a Region”
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