Every year since 1995, The Deborah J. Norden Fund, established in memory of architect and arts administrator Deborah Norden, underwrites worthy research projects proposed by passionate and curious students of architecture, architectural history, and urban studies. Now in its 20th year, the fund has enabled more than twenty-five fascinating independent projects that have explored topics and locales around the world—slum redevelopment programs in Mumbai, India; the social impact of new architecture and planning interventions in Medellín, Colombia; the insertion of built form into fragile ecosystems in Australia; and the stereotomy of complex surfaces in French Baroque architecture, among many others.
While the topics of the projects vary a great deal from year to year, the intentions of the fund remain constant. Most practically, the Norden Fund enables students and recent graduates to experience firsthand those structures, communities, or monuments that inspire them, and offers a means of bypassing the standard circuit of grant applications that impede untested talent from entering the realm of juried competition. But at its core, in the words of Deborah Norden’s sister, Linda Norden, the objective of the fund is “to emphasize the relationship between architecture and life” by supporting architects who are “dedicated to [investigating the] aesthetic and structural decisions that inform the day-to-day life of whoever happens to reside or work or play or simply pass through the structure under consideration.” In this feature, we highlight the work of past Norden Fund grantees through essays, photographs, and sketches from the winners themselves.
The 2015 recipient of the Norden Fund grant is Ylan Vo for Ecologies of War and Recovery: A Case Study in Vietnam’s A Luoi Valley, who will document the A Luoi Valley as an example of the post-conflict landscape of Vietnam with particular emphasis on the ecological and social conditions surrounding the toxic Agent Orange hotspots that mark the valley.
The first iteration of this ongoing feature was published on March 4, 2013, and was most recently updated January 21, 2015. More travel reports will continue to be added.
Angela Starita traces the remnants of Lina Bo Bardi’s mostly unrealized plan to restore the historic city center of Salvador, Brazil | Norden Fund recipient 2008
Julian Palacio visits Uruguay to examine the material and structural innovation of the work of engineer Eladio Dieste. | Norden Fund recipient 2012
Shima Mohajeri examines Louis Kahn’s 1973 proposal for a civic center in Tehran that confronted an ongoing tension between modernization and traditionalism. | Norden Fund recipient 2010
Alice Colverd and Alexander McLean have mapped and studied Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, which the city plans to relocate in time for the 2020 Olympic games. | Norden Fund recipients 2013
Yutaka Sho shares how Rwandan communities are turning petrochemical waste into affordable and high-performance houses. | Norden Fund recipient 2007
Timothy Kohut reflects on alternative visions for community development in Tegucigalpa. | Norden Fund recipient 1995
Josef Asteinza considers the architecture of the Cuban Revolution in two projects and their impact on the city of Havana. | Norden Fund recipient 1998
Hubert Pelletier describes the complex and beautiful structural surfaces of French Baroque architecture in three case studies. | Norden Fund recipient 2009
Jeff Geisinger investigates the built environment’s impact on social capital in Colombia’s second-largest city. | Norden Fund recipient 2010
Fiyel Levent describes an art and architecture of tolerance from medieval Andalusia. | Norden Fund recipient 2007
Sticks by Hou de Sousa was the winner of Folly 2016. Read an essay on this functional structure by Pasqualina Azzarello, Socrates Director of Public Programs; a roundtable discussion featuring the designers among other participants; and a look at this year’s other notable competition entries.
Announcing the winners of the Architectural League Prize 2016: (im)permanence
A collection of the winning essays from the fourth annual Urban Omnibus writing competition, As Seen On [ ].
Torqueing Spheres by IK Studio was the winner of Folly 2015. Explore an interview with Mariana Ibañez and Simon Kim, a photo essay on the fabrication, and other notable entries from this year’s competition.