February 21, 2020

2020 ARTA Grants Awarded

Six Knowlton School students are this year’s recipients of Architecture Research and Travel Awards (ARTA).

2020 ARTA Grants Awarded

2020 student recipients of ARTA awards.

Six Knowlton School students are this year’s recipients of Architecture Research and Travel Awards (ARTA), which will support independent research during summer 2020. This year’s awardees are:

  • Jack Gruber (MLA) | Welding the Fire, Australia
  • Monique Lorenzo (MSCRP) | Resettlement Planning and Development of Informal Communities in Puerto Rico: The Case of Vietnam
  • Molly McCahan (MLA) | Free to Roam: An Inquiry into Walking and Walkers of Scotland
  • Marianne Redillas & Michelle Culley (BSARCH) | Socio-Cultural Inclinations of Architecture in the Philippines
  • Ethan Young (BSARCH) | Architectural Participation: From Fascism to Now


Jack Gruber | In 2016, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture advocated for increased usage of landscape architects’ skills and knowledge to aid in shaping the patterns of wildfire by design, and rebuilding and retrofitting communities for better fire resistance. Visiting Sydney, Gruber will research and document how the Australian city has responded to the devastating bushfire season of 2019-2020. His research will involve interviewing aboriginal communities, scientists, firefighters, planners, and landscape architects. Through drawings and photographs, Gruber will document how environments have regrown, rebuilt, or receded as a result of these fires, and conduct analysis at sites where mitigation efforts have been attempted. His research will highlight various methods of wildfire management to encourage more diverse and multidisciplinary approaches.

Monique Lorenzo | Before and after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in 2017, the Vietnam community was relocated by the local government to a housing project called Sunset Harbor in Guaynabo, forcing many residents to accept new housing in a hazardous area prone to liquefaction and other risks. While in Guaynabo, Lorenzo will visit both housing sites as well as City Hall and the mayor’s office to conduct in-person interviews with policymakers, members of the planning board, the mayor, and other prominent figures related to the community’s resettlement process. She will also conduct an analysis of municipal plans, hazard maps, and relevant planning documentation. By providing scientific knowledge about the planning process within informal communities, Lorenzo’s findings can inform the decision-making processes of policymakers, planners, social researchers, and emergency management officials.

Molly McCahan | The Land Reform Act 2003 (LRA) made it legal to cross, access, and recreate on private land in Scotland. McCahan will examine the ethos that generated the LRA and the ways in which it manifests in the landscape and resonates with the people who occupy that landscape. McCahan’s research will use the ethnographic techniques of participant observation and open-ended interviews with people encountered in and alongside a variety of landscapes. Her travelogue will be supplemented by a multi-medium record-keeping practice, entwining writing and analysis with a set of notational diagrams, composite drawings, montages, field recordings, and maps. McCahan will explore how designers can learn about how they view, modify, and interact with the land in a descriptive ethnography that highlights egalitarian values and addresses larger questions about design values and their manifestations.

Marianne Redillas & Michelle Culley | With research focused in the Philippine regions of Manila, Bicol, and Ifugao, the team of Redillas and Culley will conduct a detailed study of the living conditions, common values, and cultural attitudes of local families in order to identify how architecture can positively affect the moods of inhabitants in various types of Filipino households. Researching the Bahay Kubo, a typical Filipino housing typology, the team will analyze the socio-cultural inclinations of the surrounding environment and the use of indoor and outdoor space in both form and integration. The team will focus on different types of households in each region, interacting with the residents to gain insight into the specific effect housing has on attitude and quality of life.

Ethan Young | How are buildings previously used by fascist regimes being used today? Young’s research will attempt to answer this question by studying the buildings and architecture in the former fascist capitals of Berlin and Rome. He will visit the Nuremberg Parade Grounds, Westerbork Concentration Camp, Terragni’s Casa del Fascio, and Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana as his travels extend through Munich, Brussels, Paris and Como. Young’s primary focus will be on how the present participates with the past: specifically, asking how does a building’s fascist history affect people’s participation with the space and is this participation consistent or run counter to the building’s architectural qualities and intended uses.


The ARTA program was established to encourage independent travel and research initiatives of up to 30 days by Knowlton students from all degree programs. The ARTA program is made possible by generous support from the Columbus Foundation. In the fall semester following completion of their projects, ARTA winners present their work to the school.

Not pictured: Ethan Young