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    Aus architect and urban strategist among winners of Harvard’s 2018 Richard Rogers Fellowship

    Nicholas Rider

    Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced the six winners of the 2018 Richard Rogers Fellowship. Now in its second year, the program takes inspiration from Lord Rogers’ commitment to cross-disciplinary investigation and engagement, which was expressed throughout his prolific career as an architect, urbanist, author and activist during the 20th century.

    Among the winners are two Australians: urban strategist and writer Alexis Kalagas, and architect, interior and academic Cathy Smith.

    The residency program takes place at the Wimbledon House, the London residence designed by Lord Rogers for his parents in the late 1960s. The pre-fabricated single-story dwelling features a bright yellow painted steel frame, glazed façade, and moveable partitions. After being gifted to Harvard GSD in 2015, the house was restored by British architect Philip Gumuchdjian.

    Harvard GSD introduced the fellowship in October 2016. The inaugural class of fellows was named in February 2017.

    The graduate school at Harvard University says “by providing the distinctive facilities of the Wimbledon House and academic support, the Richard Rogers Fellowship’s goal is to encourage in-depth investigation into a wide array of issues that are pertinent to the sustainable and equitable development and transformation of the city”.

    Kalagas, one of the successful Australian applicants for this year, was born in Sydney, though is now based in Zürich, Switzerland. Most recently, he spent four years at the interdisciplinary design practice Urban-Think Tank, working on a range of research, design, exhibition and media projects focused on housing and inclusive urban development in Europe, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa.

    He has co-edited the book Reactivate Athens, and has guest edited three issues of SLUM Lab magazine. Kalagas’ writing has been published by the likes of Architectural Design and the Journal of Visual Culture.

    During the fellowship, Kalagas intends to explore how alternative models of affordable housing could be adapted and scaled in places like London.

    Smith, the other Australian winner, has taught in the subject areas of design, history, and theory and construction at several Australian universities, including the University of Newcastle (current), the University of Queensland, and the Queensland University of Technology. She is also the inaugural Turnbull Foundation Women in the Built Environment scholar at the University of New South Wales.

    Smith’s scholarly research appears in a number of international journals including Australian Feminist StudiesArchitectural HistoriesIntersticesArchitectural Theory Review, and IDEA.

    Throughout the fellowship, her research will develop an ethical and theoretical framework for engaging with the idea of ‘property guardianship’, a term used to describe the sanctioned, temporary occupation of vacant commercial and residential buildings in Europe, North America and Australia.

    The other fellowship winners are Irina Davidovici (Switzerland), Aleksander Bierig (USA), Kaz Yoneda (Japan), and Peter Buš (Switzerland). 

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