Lyceum Fellowship Presented for 'Call for Action'

“Here and Now: A Call To Action” was the challenge presented to students vying for the 2013 Lyceum Fellowship, which drew entries from students at 15 architecture schools in the U.S. and Canada. Eschewing the normal architectural competition format—presenting a site and asking for design interventions—Lyceum participants were urged by the competition’s authors to “initiate, not merely respond,” and to “forecast and seed change” by identifying an urban problem, studying it deeply and then formulating a compelling response. Nothing less than a “radical critique,” as the competition’s authors put it, was called for in each submission.

This year’s first place award, carrying a $12,000 travel grant, went to Alex Gormley, a student at the University of Cincinnati, for his proposal “Rise and Run,” a plan to rejuvenate almost 400 urban stairways that exist in the neighborhoods of the riverside city of Cincinnati. This network of stairways is both practical and architecturally iconic whose disrepair is “resignation of an urban lifestyle based solely on the car,” Gormley stated.  

The second place award, with a $7,500 travel grant, went to Owen Weinstein, also of the University of Cincinnati, for “90 Percent Invisible.” It is less a design than an urgent challenge to the profession: specifically, lamenting that only a miniscule 1.2% of his school’s architecture program is made up of African-Americans, despite the 44% African-American make up of the city as a whole.

The third prize winner, carrying a $1,500 prize, is David Kim of the University of Arizona, who presented “Contaminated Development,” about pervasive pollution in the city of Bisbee, Arizona. A citation went to Wan Lu of McGill University and merit mentions went to Gael Perichon, University of Cincinnati and Zhongyuan Dai, Guillaume Tiravy and Julia Chang of McGill University.

The Lyceum Fellowship, established in 1985 by Jon McKee, AIA, Founding Principal of Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, requires that winning students have at least one year left in their current program, or plan to matriculate immediately into a graduate architecture program, so their travels can directly affect their formal architectural education