Established in memory of architect and arts administrator Deborah Norden, the Architectural League of New York's Deborah J. Norden Fund gives students and recent graduates the chance to receive up to $5,000 in travel/study grants. The annual program underwrites worthy research projects proposed by students of architecture, architectural history, and urban studies, and has supported an array of fascinating projects over the years, ranging from a study of the Cambodian modernist Vann Molyvann, to the insertion of built form into fragile ecosystems in Australia.
For 2018, the Architectural League awarded one grant to "On Relocation: Participatory Design Strategies for Climate Change-Induced Migration" by Emma Benintende, who will travel to Brisbane, Fiji and the Solomon Islands to research and document relocation efforts of coastal communities due to climate change. The other grant went to Nicholas Moore for "Relatively Generic: Wachsmann's House for Einstein." Moore will travel to Germany to visit prefabricated houses designed by Konrad Wachsmann, with a particular focus on the wooden cottage he built for Albert and Elsa Einstein in 1929.
Read on for more about the winning proposals.
"On Relocation: Participatory Design Strategies for Climate Change-Induced Migration"
Emma Benintende received an MArch from Princeton University and a BA in the history of science from Harvard University
Project summary: According to the United Nations, 21.5 million people have been displaced due to the effects of climate change each year since 2008. Emma Benintende will research relocation plans in the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), where several towns and villages have been relocated or are in the process of collective migration due to sea level rise. Through firsthand observation, analysis of government policy, and project documentation, as well as meetings with planners and community members, Benintende aims to produce a guide to relocation planning strategies focusing specifically on the role of the architect in these efforts.
"Relatively Generic: Wachsmann’s House for Einstein"
Nicholas Moore completed postgraduate research in urban studies at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture, and Design in Moscow, Russia. He holds an MArch from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in history of architecture and comparative literature from Brown University.
Project summary: In order to study Konrad Wachsmann’s prefabricated wooden buildings and understand his important, yet underestimated role in the history of architecture, Nicholas Moore will visit Wachsmann’s archives and his few surviving buildings in Germany. According to Moore, the wooden cottage Wachsmann built for Einstein in a matter of weeks in 1929 represents a transitional period in the architect’s career, combining the unique and the generic, the crafted and the industrial.
Moore aims to investigate the cottage for its “relatively” generic form in order to apply similar wooden construction techniques in his own architectural practice. His research will also result in a catalog of Wachsmann’s built works consisting of drawings and photographs emphasizing process, materials, and details. Moore believes the wooden systems developed by Wachsmann could inspire current efforts to solve the housing shortage in American cities.
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