The Deborah J. Norden Fund, a program of The Architectural League of New York, was established in 1995 in memory of architect and arts administrator Deborah Norden. The competition awards up to $5,000 annually in travel grants to students and recent graduates in the fields of architecture, architectural history, and urban studies.
The Fund has supported a fascinating array of projects, from a study of the Cambodian modernist Vann Molyvann to the social impact of new architecture and planning interventions in Medellín, Colombia, to the insertion of built form into fragile ecosystems in Australia, to the stereotomy of complex surfaces in French Baroque architecture.
See the full list of past Norden Fund grantees.
2020 applicants must submit a maximum three-page proposal, which succinctly describes the objectives of the grant request and how it will contribute to the applicant’s intellectual and creative development. The grant amount requested (up to $5,000), a maximum two-page résumé, and a projected schedule and budget for travel and other costs must also be included. An addendum of no more than four pages may be submitted in order to include images, maps, or other supporting material. Applicants must request two letters of recommendation from individuals who are knowledgeable about the applicant’s ability and project. Should you apply as a team, two recommendations per group is sufficient.
The application process is extremely competitive. The intention of the fund is to support genuinely independent projects that require travel. Grant funds cannot be used for tuition, and grants will not be awarded to support participation in an organized program, such as a university’s summer abroad program. While requests for support of dissertation research will be considered, they are not a priority of the fund. Preference will be given to strong proposals from applicants who have not had this sort of opportunity before.
The competition is open only to current full-time residents (who need not be citizens) of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
No Architectural League board members or staff members; no firms or immediate family of board or staff members (spouse/partner; children; siblings); no firms or immediate family of jury members (spouse/partner; children; siblings) are eligible to participate in the competition. Individuals who work for the firms of League board members may enter the competition if they are submitting independent work carried out without connection to the firm. Past Deborah J. Norden Fund grantees are ineligible to apply.
Applicants must submit their proposals, résumés, schedules and budgets, and optional addenda digitally as one letter-size PDF. The applicant’s name and project title must appear on the top of the first page of the PDF. The PDF file name should be formatted as “Primary Contact Last Name_Proposal.pdf”. The applicant should complete and upload their PDF proposal via Formstack; it must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Faxed, mailed, and late applications will not be accepted.
The two letters of recommendation must be sent directly by the recommenders to The Architectural League, uploaded as a PDF using a separate Formstack form. Letters of recommendation must be received by Friday, May 1, 2020. Mailed copies of letters will not be accepted.
Awards will be announced in July 2020.