Lyceum Fellowship Names Winners, Publishes Travelogue

Lyceum Fellowship

In 1985, inspired by a lifelong love of travel and a commitment to philanthropy, SMMA founder Jon McKee established the Lyceum Fellowship, a non-profit organization that, in its own words, “seeks to establish a dialogue through design among schools of architecture.” Each year, the Fellowship holds a student-only design competition, convening a jury of highly regarded industry professionals and bestowing a travel grant upon the winning entrant. That student is encouraged to visit architecturally significant places of his or her choosing all over the world, documenting and subsequently reporting back on the experience.

Last month, the Fellowship announced the results of its 2016 competition, which challenged entrants to imagine what venues for Boston’s now-abandoned 2024 Olympics bid could look like, with a focus on fiscal responsibility, sustainability, walkability, and scale. Both the first- and second-place winners—Joern Ryan Vallesteros and Michael Honyak, respectively—are from the University of Hawaii, and both proposed designs for demountable stadia that are at once aesthetically captivating and contextually considered. 

While Vallesteros has yet to embark on his trip, the winner of last year’s competition, Jiawei Mei of the University of Oregon, recently compiled a travelogue—Investigating Interfaces—of a journey that took him from California to Slovenia, and myriad destinations in between. Visiting places like Seattle’s Pike Place Market, New York City’s High Line, London’s Tate Modern, and Brussels’ Atomium, Mei aimed to show the ways in which architects and urban planners shape human experiences by designing interfaces, which, as he describes them, are “the physical manifestation of the facilitation of relationships.”

"I would like to thank the entire Lyceum Board, the jury of the 2015 competition, and my studio professor, Nancy Yen Wen Chang, for this life-changing opportunity." — Jiawei Mei, 2015 Competition Winner


Recognized in 2015 with an AIA Institute Honor for Collaborative and Professional Achievement, the Lyceum is now in its 31st year of “foster[ing] a collective mentorship of the next generation of leaders,” and stands as a shining example of Jon McKee's dedication to advancing the profession of architecture. The Fellowship embodies the ideals to which SMMA aspires, and the firm is proud to support its continued contributions to the greater design community. Mark Spaulding, SMMA’s Director of Design, serves on the Fellowship’s board of directors.