2012 Creative Activity + Research

Overview shot of de-urbanized area of North St. Louis.

Five grants awarded to architecture + art faculty

Posted by September 13, 2012

The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts has announced the recipients of its 2012 Faculty Creative Activity Research Grants.

Five grants, ranging from $1,000 to $8,000, have been awarded to support a variety of projects by architecture and art faculty. These range from research on the de-urbanizing landscape of North St. Louis and on the drawing collection of Alvin Boyarsky to the creation of a sculpture in China; from the development of a new textbook on urbanism to the execution of a solo exhibition in Santiago, Chile.

The Faculty Creative Activity Research Grants were established in 2007, with the goal of encouraging faculty to pursue innovative new projects or to advance ongoing creative activity and research.

The following recipients of the 2012 grants were chosen by a jury of tenured and tenure-track faculty, including several past grant recipients:

Ron Fondaw, professor. The grant supports research and travel in China that builds on Fondaw's explorations of the construction and weathering process of large adobe sculptures. Following investigations of historically significant ceramic and architectural sites in China, Fondaw will test material and building techniques while creating a site-specific outdoor work for the Fuping Pottery Art Village in Shaanxi. The sculpture, which will remain at the Village until it disintegrates, will explore concepts of permanence in impermanent forms in the context of Chinese culture.

Patty Heyda, Natalie Yates, and Christine Yogiaman, assistant professors. The grant supports an interdisciplinary research project focused on the issues and design potentials of a typical, de-urbanized American post-industrial downtown, with North St. Louis serving as the site for investigation. Drawing from their respective expertise in the fields of urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture, Heyda, Yates, and Yogiaman will seek to address deficiencies in community capacity building in North St. Louis through the redesign of energy capacities and landscape infrastructure potentials. In the process, they hope to explore a new model of urbanization that better addresses the complexity of problems faced by these kinds of de-urbanized areas, from a lack of population to underutilized land.

Igor Marjanovic, associate professor. The grant supports the research and development of a detailed exhibition and publication plan that centers on the role of drawing in architectural discourse, using the collection of drawings of noted architectural educator Alvin Boyarsky (1928-1990) as its critical framework. Artists and architects represented in his collection include Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid, Peter Wilson, Peter Eisenman, Peter Cook, Bernard Tschumi, Kisa Kawakami, John Hejduk, Edward Paolozzi, Alexander Brodsky, Frank Gehry, Archigram, Mary Miss, OMA, and Superstudio. Through this project, Marjanovic seeks to examine pedagogy as critical territory for a global repositioning of architectural education and practice in the face of rapid social, economic, and cultural change.

Eric Mumford, professor. The grant supports the creation of a new survey text on the history of urbanism since 1850. Based on Mumford's ongoing work as a scholar of the history of modern architecture and urbanism, the book will provide an illustrated history of key projects and urban interventions since new technologies began to transform human existence around 1850, exploring the ways architects and other designers have attempted to shape the urban during this period. The textbook will provide an important resource to better link the history and theory of modern architecture and urbanism to urban, technological, and cultural history.

Monika Weiss, assistant professor of art. The grant supports the execution of Weiss' solo exhibition Sustenazo-Lament II, which will be on view December 13, 2012, through April 7, 2013, at the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights) in Santiago, Chile. Over the past several years, her artistic practice and research have grown to include greater focus on the ethics and politics of war. Through the exploration of concerns related to war and its aftermath, Sustenazo-Lament II transcends historical time and geographical locality of specific events, focusing on issues of identity and otherness, and using the poetic form of ancient rituals of lamentation that reach beyond all cultural divides.