Jennifer Ly, a designer at Foster + Partners, was recently announced as the lucky winner of the 2016-17 Rotch Travelling Scholarship. Founded in 1883 in honor of Benjamin Smith Rotch, it allows the recipient to travel for at least 6 months studying architecture.
Starting with 110 entrants in stage one, only five finalists advanced to present their projects to the jury in Boston. Jennifer Ly ultimately won the jury's favor with her project “New Common”. Based in Silicon Valley, Ly — who received her master's in architecture at Harvard GSD in 2014 — will receive $38,500 to fund at least six months of travel in the coming year.
Project text: “Situated in Boston’s City Hall Plaza, the Forum is a contemporary civic place that promotes information, dialogue and collaboration. It fosters education and social interaction through the spatial intersections, ranging from intimate encounters to larger, urban spectacle.”
“The public auditorium serves as the center of the Forum, and operates as a transparent venue for lectures, screenings, and performances. As the antithesis of the black box, the auditorium engages with a greater audience by extending its visual connection inside and outside. It sets the stage for the lower level plaza, which is supported and activated by a restaurant, bookstore, and an Internet center.”
“From the upper level plaza, the coworking space shares visual connections with the auditorium and the Newseum Gallery. The Forum is organized through an inverted ziggurat, enclosed and unified by a thin, transparent veil. The inverted ziggurat is formed by irregularly shaped, intersecting volumes that maximize flexible configuration in their open plans. The void between the ziggurat and veil frame views of the City. As Boston’s new Common, the Forum brings a heightened awareness of others through its collision of public programs.”
All images courtesy of the 2016-17 Rotch Travelling Scholarship.
The 2017 runner-up project was “Reflecting the past” by architect Austin Ward, who gets an automatic pass into next year’s final competition. Previous Rotch scholars include Robert Alexander and Christopher Karlson, who published a book on his research about European performing arts-based architecture.
Jury: Josh Simoneau AIA, urban designer, Utile, Inc.; David Fixler FAIA, principal, EYP Inc.; Andrea Leers FAIA, principal, Leers Weinzapfel Associates; Rami el Smahy, principal, over,under; and Peter Wiederspahn, graduate programs coordinator of the Northeastern University School of Architecture and secretary of the Rotch Travelling Scholarship Committee.