The Architectural League of New York has announced two winners for the 2016 Deborah J. Norden Fund travel grants. Claiming the award is Bryan Maddock for A Serpentine Science: Affonso Eduardo Reidy’s Housing Pair and Caitlin Blanchfield and Nina Kolowratnik for Deserted Border Lands: Mapping Surveillance along the Tohono O’odham Nation. As a result, the two teams will receive up to $5,000 annually in travel and study grants.
Currently employed as a project designer for Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Bryan Maddock is due to head to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on the hunt for a “socially responsive and environmentally sensitive housing typology” while looking at the legacy of Brazilian modernist architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy. Using “serpentine” social housing units, Reidy, like fellow compatriot Lina Bo Bardi, strove to unite his architecture with its natural context: dramatic, mountainous topography. Though he died at the age off 55, Reidy aimed to “elevate the working class both physically and symbolically.” Sadly, much of his work—including documents and drawings for unrealized projects—were destroyed by the state as his buildings were left to deteriorate.
Mobile surveillance tower in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument along Tohono O’odham Border. (Courtesy Nina V. Kolowratnik, 2015)
On his journey, Maddock will survey the landscape where Reidy’s structures still remain. In doing so, Maddock hopes to establish an online visual archive of drawings, videos, and text. Reidy’s work “serves as proof that architecture can operate as a fantastic offense for the renewed city,” he said.
The other winning pair, Caitlin Blanchfield and Nina Kolowratnik meanwhile will head off to the border of Sonora, Mexico and the Tohono O’odham reservation, directly south of Phoenix in Arizona. Here they will analyze various aspects of the border area as more stringent security and surveillance measures are implemented on the sacred lands of the Tohono O’odam Native Americans.
Using interviews, a community workshop, and drawings, the two will employ a interdisciplinary methodological approach to examine the “issues of spatial politics in border regions, indigenous rights, and critical landscape discourse.” Blanchfield is the managing editor at The Avery Review, meanwhile her partner for the project Kolowratnik works as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School for Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.