2010 Norden Fund Winners

The League is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of Deborah J. Norden Fund travel grants:
Jeff Geisinger for “Connective Spaces and Social Capital in Medellin” and Shima Baradaran Mohajeri for “Alternative Modernity: Spatial Discourse in Architectural Paper Projects in Iran, 1960-1978.”

Jeff Geisinger, a graduate of Rice University and currently a designer at Ennead Architects in New York, will travel to Medellin, Colombia, to research his project, “Connective Spaces and Social Capital in Medellin.” The project, examining the well-publicized design transformation of the once troubled city of Medellin and Mayor Sergio Fajardo’s “social urbanism” of investment in poor neighborhoods and public works, will look specifically at the ways in which impoverished, informal settlements were empowered and reconnected to the city’s urban fabric and public spaces. “The study explores those spaces that, through physical connectivity and careful adjacencies, foster social contact and interaction, in turn promoting socially cohesive communities.”

Shima Baradaran Mohajeri received her MArch and MPhil of Architecture from Islamic Azad University, Tehran and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University in College Station. Her project “Alternative Modernity: Spatial Discourse in Architectural Paper Projects in Iran, 1960-1978” will allow her to travel to archives in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Her research will focus on the two decades leading up to the Revolution of 1979, when, commissioned by the Shah of Iran, foreign modernist architects, such as Louis Kahn, Alvar Aalto, Josep Lluis Sert, Moshe Safdie, James Stirling, and Alison and Peter Smithson, came into close contact with traditional Persian culture, designing a number of architectural and urban paper projects. These architectural drawings along with competitions and conferences during the period reveal a “modernizing event that initiated, but remained incomplete and partially dismissed, due to the Iranian Revolution of 1979.” Her work will examine these paper projects and consider them through the development of the theory of “a-place,” drawing upon Persian and Western philosophical and artistic concepts, and the design methodologies resultant from such theoretical explorations.