Resilient Cities Lab team wins 2017 Latrobe Prize


A team of three faculty members from Northeastern University’s Resilient Cities Laboratory—housed in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs—was selected to receive the 2017 Latrobe Prize for their study, “Future-Use Architecture.”

The following is the official press release from the American Institute of Architects:

The Latrobe Prize, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for a two-year program of research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession. The $100,000 award will enable the team to identify design attributes contributing to future adaptability, demonstrate future-use design strategies for buildings using words and graphics, and document and analyze architectural precedents that exemplify future-use design. Designing for “future use” focuses on the balance between flexible and fixed building systems to respond to unforeseeable contingencies while conserving the essential architectural design and performance. Future-use design engages architects with architectural attributes of organization as a vehicle for creative solutions and unique architectural expression in the face of persistent change.

The selected Latrobe Prize proposal by Peter Wiederspahn AIA, associate professor of architecture, and principal of Wiederspahn Architecture; Michelle Laboy PE, assistant professor of architecture and co-founder of FieLDworkshop, and David Fannon AIA, member ASHARE, LEED AP BD+C, assistant professor of architecture and civil and environmental engineering, and affiliate professor in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, seeks to answer questions related to how to best design buildings and cities for unknown future uses and how to help initiate more informed development practices and regulatory frameworks for adaptive reuse and regeneration.

The jury was impressed with the holistic quality of the proposal, its cogent framework, and its real potential for advancing knowledge of “future-use, future-proofing.”  The proposed outcomes will include interactive products of immediate use to practice, while also advancing architectural education and our collective understanding of the characteristics of buildings.

“The Latrobe Prize allows us to demonstrate the strategic benefits and deployable attributes of future-use design,” explained Wiederspahn. “These principles can significantly transform architectural services by incorporating the full temporal scope of buildings.”

Laboy contextualized the work, adding “This is an opportunity to expand on a pedagogical model, which we developed to help students systematically consider and design what is essential and long-lasting in architecture, and apply it to the challenges of practice.” Fannon linked the proposal to the 2017 Latrobe themes, noting that “Predicting the future is impossible, but designing for the future is not.”

Founded in 1952, the College of Fellows is comprised of AIA members who are elected to Fellowship by a jury of their peers. Elevation to Fellowship recognizes individual achievements of the architect but also elevates before the public and the profession those architects who have made significant contributions to architecture and to society.

Members of the 2017 Latrobe Prize jury include: Katherine Schwennsen, FAIA, Clemson University; Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, Architect of the Capitol; Frank M. Guillot, FAIA, Guilot-Vivian-Viehmann; Sylvia Kwan, FAIA, Kwan Hanmi Architecture/Planning; Lenore M. Lucey FAIA, Chancellor of College of Fellows; Jud Marquardt FAIA, LMN Architects; Raymond G. Post FAIA, Post Architects; Marilyn Jordan Taylor FAIA, University of Pennsylvania.

Published On: April 24, 2017 |
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