Washington University at St. Louis Sam Fox School’s College of Architecture has announced Pedro Pitarch as the winner of the annual James Harrison Steedman Memorial Fellowship in Architecture. Madrid-based Pitarch won for his proposal, “Disguised Metropolitanisms: Unveiling the Masquerade of Urban Domesticity.” The biennial fellowship includes a $50,000 award, making it one of the largest of its kind in the United States.
“Urban and domestic spheres have no longer clear boundaries, but faded ones,” Pitarch explained. “They are no longer distinguished according to a public/private [duplex], but to the possibility of use in a certain moment. They are more dependent on questions such as ‘when and how,’ rather than ‘what or where.”
The fellowship will allow Pitarch to research the intersection of public and private spaces across Europe, Asia, and the United States. Throughout his travels, he will explore unconventional domestic situations andsix typologies of urban domesticity. For example, in Tokyo and Taipei, he will look at public infrastructure as a resting place, or has he calls it This Train is my Bedroom. Pitarch will conduct interviews, take photos, and produce analytical drawings of each typology, with the end product of a book, a short film, and exhibition models.
With this year’s theme, “Adaptation,” 100 applicants from around the world proposed ways in which adaptive responses might be better used in the design process. The Fellowship jury was chaired by Toronto-based Lateral Office’s Mason White. The jury also included Yale School of Architecture Dean Deborah Berke, Elena Cánovas, principal and co-founder of aSZ arquitectes and a professor of practice in the Sam Fox School, Joyce Hwang, director of Ants of the Prairie and associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Jeff Ryan, principal and director of design at Christner Inc.
“The jury was impressed with Pitarch’s range of experimentation and invention,” White explained. “Several jurors noted that both his previous work and the proposed research show an approach that is at once methodical, experimental and fantastically intricate. Additionally, the subject of property was found to be timely and relevant worldwide.”
The jury also awarded and alternate award and two honorable mentions. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Yarina, a research associate at the MIT Urban Risk Lab, for her proposal, “New Climate Nomads: Indigenous Spaces of Migratory Adaptation.” Her work looks at the “socio-spatial identities of vulnerable indigenous populations in the age of climate risk.” Honorable mentions were awarded to Jin Young Song, founding principal of Dioinno Architecture in Seoul and Buffalo, N.Y., and assistant professor of architecture at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Kirsten Caudill, designer with ZGF Architects and a Sam Fox School alumna. One Sam Fox School architecture student will also be awarded the Steedman Summer Travel Fellowship to support the student in international travel.
The James Harrison Steedman Memorial Fellowship has been awarded biannually since 1926. The fellowship is jointly administered by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis and AIA St. Louis.