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2012 Wallenberg Competition and Awards Symposium

April 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Public presentation of awards will be held in the A+A Auditorium from 3-4 pm followed by time to visit exhibit work and public reception from 4-5 pm in CMYK Galleries.

The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning awards the Wallenberg Scholarships each year in honor of Raoul Wallenberg, B.S.Arch.’35. Wallenberg is credited with single-handedly rescuing over 100,000 Jews from Nazi persecution in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II. The traveling scholarship, established by the Bernard L. Maas Foundation in 1986, acts as a reminder of Wallenberg’s courage and humanitarianism and is aimed at reflecting his ideals. The award gives undergraduate students the opportunity to broaden their study of architecture to include work in distant locations.

2012 Competition Jurors:

  • Hansy Better, Associate Professor, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Edward Eigen, Associate Professor, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York
  • Troy Schaum; Assistant Professor, Rice School of Architecture

More about the Wallenberg Studios:

Raoul Wallenberg is one of the great humanitarians in history. During the culminating term at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College all undergraduates in the architecture program participate in the Raoul Wallenberg Studios. Inspired by a selfless hero, the collective studio efforts aim to bring humanitarian values together through active engagement with diverse values that are social, cultural, political and material in nature, toward a synthetic whole- the design of architecture. The individual and collective studios are meant to serve as platforms for critical debate, rigorous exchange and unparalleled growth, through broadening the varied ‘constituencies’ that occupy architecture ‘seen’ through the values initiated by Raoul Wallenberg.

The 2012 Wallenberg studios explored the theme of “Occupation(s)” and were coordinated by Associate Professor Perry Kulper.

Occupations often challenging ownership of the space involved are sometimes an effort to gain public attention, and may be the practical use of the facilities occupied. Occasionally they establish a redefinition of the occupied space. They may be brief or may extend for weeks, months or years. They can move between the habits of behavior in spatial settings that differentiate architecture from other creative disciplines, to military conquest, or political protest to taking up a position in the discipline. Occupation may have to do with a form of employment, or career, to the profession to which we belong to a political demonstration. And something that is occupiable, makes something possible- habits, events and enactments.

As such the term “occupations” offers a wide historical range of inherently spatial strategies and tactics. Strategic examples include colonizing military maneuvers, such as the Nazi-German occupation of Hungary—the context of Raoul Wallenberg’s memorable actions, or the Israeli occupation of territories such as the Gaza strip or the West Bank, or, for that matter, any appropriation of space by unlawful settlement. On the other hand, tactical examples generally refer to occupations as a mode of resistance to hegemonic powers, a protest that takes the form of the physical occupancy of symbolic spaces, such as the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936—the forty-four day occupation of the General Motors factory by the workers which led to the birth of the middle-class, or the more current Occupy Wall Street movement that has emerged amidst a year of global political turbulence. That a single term could embody such contradictory significations is indicative of the complex nature of spatial occupancy: whether a manifestation of power or an act of resistance, inhabiting space is never a neutral act. And as the physical setting for social relations, architecture chooses its alliances, be they complicit or resistant. For example, the Fleming administration building on our campus was designed in the 1960’s specifically to resist student protests. Alternatively, the thirty-two buildings mobilized by Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest in 1944 were critical actors in ensuring the safety of the 20,000 Jews they housed, by their capacity to pass for Swedish institutional buildings. To relieve architecture from the demand to position itself is to surrender its potential for agency. As such, it inevitably and unconsciously becomes a collaborating mechanism for those in power.

2012 Wallenberg Studio Teaching Faculty:

  • Ellie Abrons, STUFF [Occupying, Engaging, Expanding the Interior]
  • Irene Hwang, No Occupancy
  • Nahyun Hwang, LINES X CITIES2
  • Perry Kulper (Coordinator), Occupying Form
  • James Macgillivray, LOT FULL
  • Kyle Reynolds, WALKING WHALES (Architecture’s Forms of Transition)
  • Neal Robinson, MOUNTAINS & MOLE-HILLS (the Inns and Outposts of Occupational Therapy)
  • Mireille Roddier, Institutional Occupations

2012 Expert in Studio:
Liza Fior and Caitlin Elster of London based muf architecture + art led a week-long studio-wide workshop (March 12 to March 15, 2012) and Liza gave a college-wide lecture (March 14, 2012).

Final Review Critics (Friday, April 20, 2012, 10AM–1PM and 2PM–6PM):

  • Beth Blostein, Director, Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University
  • Brennan Buck, Principal, FreelandBuck; Critic, Yale School of Architecture
  • Michael Cadwell, Architecture Section Head, Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University
  • Andrew Holder, Principal, The LADG; Lecturer, Architecture and Urban Design, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Luis Ortega, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Jason Payne, Hirsuta; Assistant Professor, Architecture and Urban Design, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Yehre Suh, Lecturer, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University
  • Amanda Williams, AW Gallery; Adjunct Associate Professor, College of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology

The year marks the 100th anniversary of Swedish-diplomat Wallenberg’s life, as commemorated by U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, and foreign minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt: Click here for more info


April 27, 2012
3:00 pm