Reflecting the promi­nent role that envi­ron­mental sus­tain­ability has assumed in archi­tec­ture, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Assis­tant Pro­fessor of Archi­tec­ture Kiel Moe has been named this year’s recip­ient of the Amer­ican Academy in Rome’s Prize for Archi­tec­ture based on his pro­posal enti­tled, “The Ther­mo­dy­namic Fig­u­ra­tion of Rome.”

Moe’s win­ning pro­posal builds on his books, Inte­grated Design in Con­tem­po­rary Archi­tec­ture, and the forth­coming Ther­mally Active Sur­faces, in which he out­lines a future for archi­tec­ture that engages both col­lab­o­ra­tion and energy innovation.

For example, a major ele­ment of his pro­posal is to use cir­cu­lating water within the mass of a building for heating and cooling, a low-​​technology approach that uses less energy than cur­rent sys­tems and is easily adapt­able in devel­oping countries.

I am flat­tered that this sig­nif­i­cant prize was awarded based on my work on the fun­da­mental ther­mo­dy­namics that stand to amend building sys­tems and the role of archi­tec­ture in the 21st cen­tury,” said Moe.

This award points both to the fact that these ther­mo­dy­namic and phys­i­o­log­ical aspects of archi­tec­ture have pro­found formal and com­po­si­tional pos­si­bil­i­ties and to the role of artistic and human­istic research in the 21st cen­tury trans­for­ma­tions that will make archi­tec­ture, our cities, and mul­tiple aspects of life more eco­log­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally sane and sustainable.”

The Rome Prize rec­og­nizes Moe’s work, part of a tra­jec­tory of research within the School of Archi­tec­ture at North­eastern, for its inno­va­tion in resolving con­tem­po­rary issues within the con­ven­tions and dis­ci­pli­nary pro­ce­dures of architecture.

The fel­low­ship that goes with the prize will enable Moe to spend 11 months in Rome, begin­ning in Sep­tember 2009, where he will con­tinue his research.

Estab­lished in 1894 and char­tered by an Act of Con­gress in 1905, the Amer­ican Academy in Rome sus­tains inde­pen­dent artistic pur­suits and human­istic studies. Each year, through a national com­pe­ti­tion, the Rome Prize is awarded to emerging artists and scholars, and only one prize is awarded to a prac­ticing archi­tect in the United States.

Pre­vious win­ners of the Rome Prize include Louis Kahn, Robert Ven­turi, Michael Graves, Colin Rowe, and other impor­tant fig­ures in the his­tory of 20th cen­tury Amer­ican architecture.