Four teams from five continents to explore the needs of communities under stress
A global call for entries saw over 180 proposals from 39 countries submitted for the Rafael Viñoly Architects' Research Fellowships, each with a wide approach to the suggested general theme: how architecture can better meet the needs of communities undergoing social and environmental stress. The successful teams include researchers from Mexico, Australia, Colombia, France, China and the USA. They explore architecture from both standpoints of designer and user, in locations as diverse as Bogotá and Shanghai, the slums of Mexico City and the tsunami-torn villages of Aceh, Indonesia.
Teams for 2009 are made up of both academics and practitioners and will harness research techniques drawn from environmental psychology, anthropology and documentary photography, in addition to architecture and urban planning, in order to analyze the performance of buildings and urban projects under real-world conditions and propose plausible, improved, real-world solutions.
RVA will provide over $160,000 in cash stipends plus in-kind support including design, engineering, graphic, and modelling services. Research Fellows will make regular visits to the New York office to share ideas. In 2010, RVA will publish their work as a book and will sponsor a New York conference highlighting the results.
Rafael Viñoly says of the grants, “Research is the lifeblood of the profession. And in these difficult times it is especially important to reaffirm our commitment to architectural investiga¬tion that goes not only to design and technique but also to basic questions of human welfare.“
Researchers from Mexico will explore the transformation of squatter settlements into urban neighborhoods and propose design guidelines for progressive urban development in Mexico; Researchers from Melbourne, Australia will investigate relief efforts after the 2004 tsunami in the worst hit region of Aceh, Indonesia, and propose guidelines for future efforts;
Researchers from Grenoble, France will critique the performance of large-scale urban projects in Bogotá, Colombia; and a team of researchers from New York, Shanghai and Shenzhen – will look at housing in China, exploring steps toward a solution.