Gilpin’s Studio wins one of six 2016 ARCHITECT Studio Prizes

Gilpin’s Studio wins one of six 2016 ARCHITECT Studio Prizes

Lecturer Dawn Gilpin’s Winter 2016 Undergraduate Studio won one of six ARCHITECT Studio Prizes. Gilpin’s studio, “The Radical and The Preposterous: Mind the Gap,” was selected out of 152 submissions from more than 80 schools. The jurors, renowned architects Jeanne Gang, Jimenez Lai, and Bernard Tschumi, chose six courses for recognition and a share of the $25,000 award. In regards to the student work from Gilpin’s studio, Juror Jimenez Lai noted that the students’ representational techniques were “highly sophisticated.”

ARCHITECT magazine, which typically focuses on professional work, sponsored this award in its inaugural year to recognize the bedrock of architecture education: the studio. Studios allow future generations of architects to learn through action, explore the central issues of architectural practice, and take risks with relative impunity. Studios also serve as a research lab for instructors, who craft design problems for their students that will push conceptual boundaries and test pragmatic hypotheses.

Dawn Gilpin’s studio was part of this year’s Taubman College Wallenberg Studio, honoring humanitarian and Taubman College alumnus, Raoul Wallenberg. Years before he saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, Raoul Wallenberg was a University of Michigan architecture student. Since 1987 Taubman College’s undergraduate program has run an annual studio in his honor, examining the intersection of design and humanitarian issues. Gilpin, who ran this year’s course, says that her goal was to get the seniors to focus on a pressing global concern and to expose them to architecture’s political and social context, which, she adds, is too often left out of curricula. “It’s important to give that context to architectural history so that students understand why they’re doing what they do,” she says. Before starting their projects, the students read works by thinkers like Hannah Arendt and Beatriz Colomina. “It’s almost as if a seminar was taught within a studio format,” she says.

But it wasn’t all theory; via Skype, the students interviewed educators in refugee camps. Each student then developed a thesis proposal for an architectural response to an aspect of refugee life, from emergency housing to facilities like schools and community centers. The students from her winning studio were Kati Albee, Dyan Castro, Diego Garcia, Trevor Herman Hilker, Yurda Surya (submitted projects); Jenna Atkinson, Gage Belko, Marshall Hebert, Joshua Knost, Chloe Lee, Vassillissa Semouchkina, and Ian Ting.

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Faculty: Dawn Gilpin ,