In 2015, WRNS Studio started an annual scholarship program to encourage and promote inspiration and critical thinking in design and architecture. Scholarships vary widely and support things like individual projects, trips, research and education. Intended to spur critical discourse, the scholarships are shared with the rest of the studio and posted here on our stewardship page.
Following are a few scholarships currently underway. These include:
Phenomenology of Japan — Daniel Johnson
Architecture is inherently an experiential art, one with which you must move through with your body to truly comprehend and appreciate it. Admiring architecture through imagery is incredibly one-dimensional and static, two characteristics which are the antithesis of a true architectural experience. Travel has been the most powerful way for me to understand the power and potential of architecture. I chose Japan as my destination of study for two reasons: 1) I have been fascinated with Japanese architecture and culture all of my life and have always wanted to travel there and 2) Delta was running an incredible deal on flights to Toyko, so the universe in a way, signaled to me it was time for me to fulfill a life-long dream. My intent will be to examine the exquisite historic, locally and internationally-sourced architecture and urbanism of Japan’s major epicenters: Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
The City Walked — Jon Kershner
In 1964, Futurist architect and member of the radical architecture group Archigram, Ron Herron imagined a new type of city. One that was temporal, ever changing, constantly moving and rebuilding. This city could relocate at a moment’s notice at the will of its inhabitants. But what Herron may have imagined as a perfect utopia, I see as a dystopia; a reality in which resources are squandered, where sense of place is wholly non-existent, where nature is ignored and where man’s dependency on technology and the machine is total. There is a current paradigm shift occurring in cities such as New York and San Francisco to start to (literally) remove the car from the conversation, and insert evolving topics of walkability, ride-ability, climate change, disaster preparedness and social connectivity, to name a few. I am choosing to walk New York; to not step foot inside a car for the entirety of my stay, and to chronicle what that means for how I understand the time-scale of the city. How will it change my expectations of what the city owes me? Will it limit what I learn and what I experience? What will I notice what I would not have noticed in a car? I have chosen to try to represent New York in a series of still lives, trompe-l’oeil and videos. I am planning a photographic and video installation entitled “Still,” in which I will attempt to capture moments of stillness in such a fast-paced environment.
Reinterpreted Landscape – Tim Morshead
The broad Midwestern landscape has inspired numerous American architects, from Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, to Harry Weese and Edward Durell Stone. The American brand of modernism is intrinsically tied to the expansive horizontal landscape of the prairie and the speedy traverse of this plain enabled by the highway. Over the last decade, a wave of foreign architects have found the Midwestern United States to be a fertile ground for exploring new modes of space making. Their collected works reinterpret the iconic American landscape through the prism of the visitor. I propose a road trip to several of these works in the area around Chicago.
Novartis Basel Campus Study – Scott Gillespie
The Novartis Campus sits on a post-industrial, urban edge site in Basel, Switzerland with a master plan by Italian architect and urban planner, Vittorio Magnano Lampugnani with the aim of converting it into a world-class biopharmaceutical campus on the edge of the Rhine. WRNS Studio can attribute a majority of its work to a campus context, be it at the master planning level or individual buildings. Personally, every project within the studio that I have participated in has been on some type of campus. My intention is to dive deeper into the development of the campus, with the unique opportunity to get a personal tour from the Campus Architect, Marco Serra, and discuss in detail its successes and challenges. Marco is responsible for managing its growth, reacting to corporate change, and in particular, guiding Pritzker prize-winning architects in promoting that original vision.
Luis Barragán: Seminal Works in Mexico City – Laura Stedman
The architecture of Luis Barragán (b.,1902; d.,1988) can be neatly categorized as belonging to the Modern architecture movement; it is well documented that Barragán was influenced by Le Corbusier and Ferdinand Bac (among other European Architects, designers and writers) in his early working years. Over time Barragán developed his own unique architectural language by ultimately moving away from the International Style and drawing on uniquely regional elements that have roots in the traditional Mexican Estancias and Pueblo. The result is an architecture that is both enclosure and topography, light-filled and private, calming and vibrantly colorful, volumetric and planar. As architects today we build in a world that is increasingly becoming more globalized and homogenized by the day; one can visit Berlin and see buildings that have the same architectural language as buildings in San Francisco, Beijing, and many other cities around the world. What does it mean when we start building in a “World Style”? Are there lessons to be learned from the work of Barragán who strived to instill a sense of regionalism in his work?
Destination Fabrication – Molly Thomas
What is it that we seek when we visit places that have been deemed architecturally or artistically significant? What experience, sense of self, hope or inspiration? What are the qualities of these places that make for such a draw and why do they endure? Do they connect us to a larger existential, social or personal narrative? What’s in the pilgrimage? What’s the story? My project will be a visit to three American cities – Beacon, NY, Columbus, IN, and Marfa, TX – that have been defined by art / architecture projects, and to which people now flock in search of something. Beacon, Columbus, and Marfa as cities can be understood through the lens of “fabrication.” Whereas other cities might be understood through the lenses of platted-out real estate development master plans (Savanna, Philadelphia) or through military history (Charleston, St. Peters), or Cow Paths (Boston, Providence), Beacon, Columbus, and Marfa might be seen / understood / experienced / morphed through the lens of artistic fabrication. What this means and why it’s interesting is something I plan to explore on my journey. I think it has something to do with the stories that these places create, hold and tell about our history and culture, stories that would not otherwise be a part of our collective conscious were in not for architecture / art. And this is a good thing.
Cultivating Loose Space – Mikki Asada
The concept of Loose Space, as advanced by academics such as Karen A. Franck and Quentin Stevens, is described as flexible public space that is appropriated by the public through its fluctuating and fluid different uses to satisfy its needs and desires. Building upon the conceptual framework established by Michel de Certeau and Michel Foucault, I propose that this unplanned and improvised public performance in Loose Space facilitates a heterotopic reading of urban environments through which the image of the city and civic life can be reconstituted in its reflection. As a whole, the more interaction we have in Loose Space, the more vibrant and diverse our collective experience of life. This serves to encourage a robust and unique social ecology. I propose to investigate the performance of Loose Space in Cuba, a country slowly opening its doors to its American neighbor after decades of political strife. Cuba is rapidly changing as a result of the improved relations. I seek to identify regional spatial operations that provoke programmatic hybridity, bleed thresholds and charge spatial potential.