Sam Fox School announces faculty research grants

Five awards to support faculty research, publication and exhibition

Arny Nadler, Grosse Point Confluence (2010). Commissioned by the Evanston (IL) Art Center’s Sculpture on the Grounds Program. Steel rebar, approximately 11.5’ x 50’ x 25’. Courtesy of the artist.

The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts has announced the recipients of its 2010 Faculty Creative Activity Research Grants.

Five art and architecture faculty members from the Sam Fox School each will receive between $1,000 and $8,000 to support projects ranging from reportage and publication to architectural case studies and GPS mapping of the Mekong River.

“Original research, scholarship and creative activity are all central to our mission — and among our key strengths — as a school,” says Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts.

“At the same time, several of this year’s projects are the direct outgrowth of innovative classes and studios,” Colangelo says. “In either case, these grants help to build and sustain a culture of support for the professional activities of our faculty, providing vital seed money for ideas and investigations that are distinctive to the fields of architecture, design and the visual arts.”

Recipients were chosen by a jury of tenure and tenure-track faculty — including several past grant recipients — from a field of 17 submissions.

Recipients for 2010 are:

Ken Botnick, professor of art in communication design and director of the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Studio for the Illustrated Book. The grant will support writing and design of The Visual Stream and Design Strategies, a book based on Botnick’s course “Vision and the Brain.” Co-written with Richard Abrams, PhD, professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences, and Carolyn Dufault, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology, The Visual Stream will explore foundational concepts in visual processing as they relate to the work of design students, and will provide a template for design instructors wishing to incorporate such material.

DB Dowd, professor of art in communication design. The grant will fund travel to Shanghai and Beijing, where Dowd will pursue a two-part project. As an illustrator, he will observe and document the rapid physical and societal changes that have been occurring in China over the past several decades. In addition, Dowd will begin researching the tradition of reportage drawing in China, as part of preparations for an exhibition, tentatively titled Drawing Conclusions: The Illustrator as Journalist, planned for 2013-14.

Derek Hoeferlin, senior lecturer in architecture. The grant will fund a study of the Mekong Watershed in Southeast Asia, employing GPS mapping to track both natural developments within and human manipulation of the river system, from its source in the Tibetan Plateau, through the Mekong Delta in southwestern Vietnam and to the river’s terminus in the South China Sea. The project builds upon Hoeferlin’s previous work with “Gutter to Gulf,” a collaborative study of water management strategies for New Orleans, which was led by the Sam Fox School, the University of Toronto and the group Dutch Dialogues.

Jenny Lovell, assistant professor of architecture. The grant will fund “Building Envelope | Building Occupant,” a research project designed to explore strategies and develop “best practices” for allowing occupants to reduce energy consumption by more actively managing building systems. The project will focus on three yet-to-be-determined structures on the Danforth campus. Last spring, Lovell received a grant from the university’s International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES) to fund parallel research in Helsinki, Berlin, Hong Kong and Seoul.

Arny Nadler, associate professor of art. The grant will fund publication of a promotional book about Grosse Point Confluence, a site-specific sculpture that Nadler created last summer for the Evanston Art Center in Illinois, where it remains on view through May 2011. The book will outline Nadler’s design process for the commission — a sprawling “three-dimensional drawing” built of steel rebar — from initial sketches and site investigations to progression images of the construction process.

For more information about the Sam Fox School Faculty Creative Activity Research Grants, visit