Knowlton School Director Michael Cadwell Elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

Knowlton School Director Michael Cadwell has been elected to The College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects for his notable contributions “to the advancement of the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training, and practice.” As an educator, writer, and practitioner, Michael Cadwell has championed construction as a transformative cultural act: how we see, build, and inhabit the world. The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. Cadwell will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2015 National AIA Convention in Atlanta.

In his 25 years at the Knowlton School, Cadwell has contributed to the technical depth and conceptual breadth of more than two thousand students of architecture. While these students are typically Midwestern, the school’s contributions are international: an esteemed public lecture series and legacy of visiting practitioners, publications such as the Source Books in Architecture, exhibitions in the two recent Venice International Architecture Biennales and alumni in leading architectural firms across the US and abroad.

Cadwell’s writing analyzes the unusual construction of canonic and contemporary architecture. His Strange Details reveals how shifting understandings of nature informed the work of Kahn, van de Rohe, Scarpa and Wright, and offer a new understanding of the environment and our place within it. Now in its second printing (MIT Press), it was conceived while Cadwell was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, was supported by the Graham Foundation and was shortlisted for two Royal Institute of British Architects Book Awards. Cadwell’s subsequent essays in books and international journals analyze the construction of contemporary architects such as Renzo Piano, Steven Holl and Rem Koolhaas, particularly as their work addresses sustainability and reimagines the world.

Cadwell’s practice, in partnership with Jane Murphy, has exploited conventional construction. Two Cadwell-Murphy projects – the Hayton-McCulloch addition and the Mimring development – have been awarded AIA Columbus Design Awards. Cadwell’s explorations of construction began with a series of small buildings that he designed and built by hand. The first set, located on remote New England sites, led to commissions at ArtPark, Socrates Sculpture Park and the DeCordova Museum. Cadwell’s small buildings won a Design Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and have been widely published, including special issues of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, Progressive Architecture and Ottagono, and by Princeton Architectural Press as Pamphlet Architecture 17: Small Buildings.

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