The Pratt Institute School of Architecture has announced the winner of its inaugural William “Bill” Menking Travel Award. Bhavini Kapur, a graduate student in the school’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment studying City and Regional Planning, has been named the recipient of the award designed to accommodate academic or internship-related travel outside of the United States.
The new award is named for the late cofounder of The Architect’s Newspaper and Pratt School of Architecture faculty member, William “Bill” Menking. Menking, a renowned architectural author, educator, and world traveler; led a history survey course at Pratt and taught in the Pratt Berlin Studio. He was also a co-curator of exhibits like the 2003 exhibition Superstudio: Life Without Objects, and curating the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008. Menking had attended the biennale every year since its founding in 1980, and co-edited the 2010 book Architecture on Display: On the History of the Venice Biennale of Architecture. He was a passionate advocate for travel and the lessons learned through that experience.
The award is designed to accommodate academic or internship-related travel outside of the United States for a Pratt School of Architecture graduate student in their penultimate year. The chosen student will be required to present about their experience to the school community and write an article for the School newsletter to honor Menking’s contributions to architectural journalism.
A selection committee of three faculty members, who were close colleagues and good friends with Bill, comprised of Thomas Hanrahan, former dean and current undergraduate architecture professor; Philip Parker, graduate architecture and urban design professor; and Ayse Yonder, professor emerita at the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment. Upon review the selection committee submitted a list of finalists to Pratt Dean Quilian Riano, who decided on the winning recipient.
Kapur was chosen from a pool of 15 applications, following a rigorous application process. Kapur will study in France to pursue research and work on her thesis on emerging biomaterials and their potential in regenerative economies and community wealth building. France is the world’s third largest producer of hemp building materials. Kapur hopes to return to New York with knowledge on the potential integration of hemp-based materials in the supply chain network and local construction industry.
Kapur will begin her travel in the upcoming semester. In the Spring 2024 semester, news of the Summer 2024 award announcement will be circulated.