Announcing 2017 winners of the Richard Rogers Fellowship

The Harvard University Graduate School of Design is pleased to announce the 2017 winners of the Richard Rogers Fellowship: Namik Mackic (MDes ’16), Maik Novotny, Jose Castillo (MArch ’95, DDes ’00), Saidee Springall (MArch ’96), Shantel Blakely, and Dirk van den Heuvel. (Recipient biographies appear below.)

The Richard Rogers Fellowship is a new residency program hosted at the Wimbledon House, the landmarked residence designed by acclaimed architect Lord Richard Rogers for his parents in the late 1960s. Lord Richard and Lady Ruth Rogers generously gifted the house to Harvard GSD to create the program, an international platform that will bring together experts and practitioners from a broad range of disciplines and whose work is focused on the built environment and its capacity to advance the quality of human life. In Fall 2016, Harvard GSD issued a call for applications for the program’s first year of three-month residencies.

2017 winners of the Richard Rogers Fellowship
2017 winners of the Richard Rogers Fellowship. Top row, left to right: Shantel Blakely, Jose Castillo, Namik Mackic. Bottom row, left to right: Maik Novotny, Saidee Springall, Dirk van den Heuvel.

The inaugural class of fellows—who hail from Austria, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States—were selected from more than 200 applicants from around the world. “The spirit of the Fellowship is intended to carry forward and expand on Richard’s deep commitment to cities not as ends in themselves, but as a fundamental means of bettering human life,” said Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at Harvard GSD. “At the GSD, our work is organized around the urgent issues cities are facing globally, a pedagogical approach requiring exploration and collaboration across disciplinary lines. We are very fortunate and excited about this opportunity to support, learn from, and promote such cross-disciplinary research internationally, in the context of London’s thriving architecture, design, and art communities and vast institutional resources.”

The Richard Rogers Fellowship activates Rogers’s historic Wimbledon House as a site of collaborative investigation for researchers and practitioners into topics that have been central to Rogers’s life and career, including questions of urbanism, sustainability, and how people use cities. Projects that the six inaugural fellows will bring to the house this year include examinations of public and affordable housing; how food and cooking transform cities; and citizen-driven urban regeneration initiatives, particularly in London and Berlin.

The 2017 Fellowship Selection Committee comprises: Richard Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at London School of Economics and director of LSE’s Cities and the Urban Age program; Ivan Harbour, architect and senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Interim Chair of the Department of Architecture; Hanif Kara, Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology; Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design; Farshid Moussavi (MArch ’91), Professor in Practice of Architecture; Patricia Roberts, Executive Dean; and Lord Richard Rogers. (Full juror biographies appear on the fellowship website.)

In addition to a three-month residency, Richard Rogers Fellows receive travel expenses to London and a $10,000 stipend.

The 2018 Richard Rogers Fellowship cycle will begin accepting applications in October 2017, with a deadline of early December.

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Spring 2017 Fellows

Namik Mackic (MDes ’16; Oslo + Cambridge, UK); The Return of the Group Form: A Comparative Speculation on Radical Urban Regeneration in London and Berlin

Namik Mackic holds a degree in music from the Norwegian Academy of Music, philosophy from the University of Oslo, and Master in Design Studies from Harvard GSD. He is currently a research associate with Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative, and guest critic at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has served as critic and lecturer at MIT School of Architecture and Planning, AHO School of Architecture and Design, Pratt Institute, and Parsons the New School for Design, among other institutions. Mackic has worked as a researcher, curator, critic, artist, and documentary filmmaker, collaborating with a variety of international organizations, including the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, Norwegian Ministry of Research and Education, Nordic Cultural Fund, and the World Wildlife Fund Mediterranean Programme Office.

Mackic’s fellowship research compares trajectories of citizen-driven initiatives in two key capitals of post-Brexit, “migrant crisis”-stricken Europe, London and Berlin. His proposal highlights the role of refugees, immigrants, and other structurally disadvantaged populations, and projectively casts them as drivers of new forms of spatial development.

Maik Novotny (Vienna + Stuttgart); The State of the Estate: A Tale of Two Cities

Maik Novotny studied architecture and urban planning at the University of Stuttgart and TU Delft. Since 2000, he has been living in Vienna, working as an architect, planner, and teacher in the Department of Spatial and Sustainable Design at TU Vienna University. He is the architecture critic for the daily newspaper Der Standard and the weekly magazine Falter, and contributes to a variety of other media outlets. He coedited the books Eastmodern: Architecture and Design of the 1960s and 1970s in Slovakia (Springer Vienna, 2007) and PPAG: Speaking Architecture (Ambra Verlag, 2014).

Novotny’s London research addresses the current challenges for social housing in London and Vienna. His topic contrasts Vienna, which boasts a history of producing high-quality, widely accessible housing, and postwar social housing in London, which has become stigmatized and frequently condemned as “sink-estates,” ever-threatened with demolition. Novotny’s research will compare both cities’ approaches to public housing, seeking solutions for re-densifying and revitalizing existing aging housing stock.


Summer 2017 Fellows

Jose Castillo (MArch ’95, DDes ’00; Mexico City); On Food, Cooking, and the City: Learning from London

Jose Castillo is the principal of the award-winning Mexico City–based firm a|911. Cofounded by Saidee Saidell in 2002, a|911 was recently named the most visionary architecture office in Mexico by Obras magazine. Its projects include the Spanish Cultural Center (2011), Ara Iztacalco housing project (2011), García Terres Library (2012), and Elena Garro Cultural Center (2013), all in Mexico City. Castillo holds architecture degrees from the Universidad Iberoamericana and Harvard GSD, and has taught and guest-lectured at numerous universities. He has served as a juror on several competitions, including recently Bloomberg’s Philanthropies Mayor Challenge Latin America. He has curated exhibitions in New York, Sao Paulo, Rotterdam, Venice, and Brussels, and is a member of the editorial board of Arquine, the Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, and LSE Cities and Urban Age.

Castillo’s proposal for the Richard Rogers Fellowship extends the research he initiated as a fellow of the Mexican National Endowment for the Arts. Recognizing cooking and eating as cultural, ecological and political actions with territorial and architectural implications, Castillo will investigate the way in which food and cooking transforms cities, drawing connections between urban food economies and pressing global problems such as climate change, inequality, and migration.

Saidee Springall (MArch ’96; Mexico City); London and the Challenges of Affordable Housing

Saidee Springall is the principal of Mexico City–based firm a|911. Since cofounding the firm with Jose Castillo in 2002, a|911 has designed and built over 2,000 units of affordable housing in Mexico City, and completed infrastructure and cultural projects as well as large-scale master plans for mixed-use developments. The firm earned the Bronze Medal of the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction Latin America (2011), Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York (2012), and the Audi Urban Futures Award (2014). Trained at the Universidad Iberoamericana and Harvard GSD, Springall previously led her own studio, Springall+Lira in Mexico City. She is currently a fellow of the Mexican National Endowment for the Arts. She has lectured in universities throughout Mexico and the U.S., and her work has appeared in Praxis Journal, 2G, Monocle, AD, Wallpaper, New York Times, and Reforma.

Saidell will use her London residency to research affordable housing in London, focusing in particular on the “social contract” established between the state, developers, civic agencies, and citizens. Building on her previous independent research, she aims to analyze policies and financial structures, as well as new models of community participation.


Fall 2017 Fellows

Shantel Blakely (Cambridge, MA); Pattern Informed by Sensibility: Herbert Read on Art and Design

Shantel Blakely holds an MArch from Princeton University, a PhD in the history and theory of architecture from Columbia University, and is currently completing an MA in philosophy at Tufts University. She has taught courses in architectural theory and urban design at Columbia, Barnard College, and Parsons the New School of Design; most recently, she managed the public lectures and conferences program at Harvard GSD. As an independent critic and scholar, she has probed the relationship of architecture and design to ideologies of experiential practice. Her writings have appeared in PLOTLogAA Files, Avery Review, and Open Letters, and she has participated in a variety of exhibitions and symposia as an essayist, speaker, and advisor.

With this fellowship, Blakely returns to an intellectual project that begins with meditations on art and philosophy. The premise that “Art is both an individual good and an instrument of education,” articulated by early-20th-century English poet-educator-anarchist Herbert Read, informed a number of claims which intensified in postwar Europe, that aesthetic experiences could confront social problems. Blakely will use her London residency to study Read’s life, ideas, and intellectual milieu, with the aim of tying his ideas to those of others (including John Dewey and Charles Eames) who regarded art, as well as architecture and design, as a means to achieve social harmony.

Dirk van den Heuvel (Amsterdam); Socio-Plastics: Resituating New Brutalism and the British Welfare State

Dirk van den Heuvel received his PhD in architecture from TU Delft, where he teaches as an associate professor. He is the cofounder and head of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. Van den Heuvel was the curator of the exhibition Open: A Bakema Celebration, the official presentation of the Dutch Pavilion for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at Venice Biennale (2014). He is an editor of the publication series DASH (Delft Architectural Studies on Housing) (nai010publishers) and the architectural theory journal Footprint. He previously served as editor of the Dutch journal OASE (1993–99). His publication credits include Architecture and the Welfare State (Routledge, 2015), Team 10: In Search of a Utopia of the Present 1953-1981 (NAi Publishers, 2005), Alison and Peter Smithson: From the House of the Future to a House of Today (010 Publishers, 2004).

Van den Heuvel will use his residency to continue his research Alison and Peter Smithson within in the context of the postwar British welfare state. He will focus on the Smithsons’ Robin Hood Gardens estate, examining the interrelations between architecture, planning, and housing policies. He is in the final stages of preparing a book that aims to reconnect the notion of architectural invention with the urgent need for equitable and livable cities.