2013 Buell Center Fellowship

2013 Buell Center Fellowship




The Buell Center Fellowship, an annual award for historical research on the built environment within or between the fields of architecture, urban history, and landscape, was developed by The Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture in coordination with Columbia University’s Center for Oral History and the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.  
Up to three awards, between $3,000 and $5,000, are given annually for the purposes of carrying out primary research in conjunction with a scholarly research project at the advanced graduate level. Interdisciplinary or comparative work on the Americas is especially encouraged, and special consideration is given for projects that include an oral history component. Applicants must be full-time Columbia University students at the time of the award's distribution.


Recipients: Chris Barker, Caitlin Blanchfield


Chris Barker, PhD Architecture, History and Theory


I propose to conduct interviews with Robert Goodman (Urban Planning Aid, Boston; The Architects’ Resistance), C. Richard Hatch (Architect’s Renewal Committee in Harlem), and Troy West (Architecture 2001; Community Design Associates, Pittsburgh), part of the wave of advocacy planners and community designers who began their careers during in the 1960s. In different ways these architects were deeply influenced by Movement politics, and redirected dissent against “the system” in its generality toward the architectural and planning professions. Architect-advocates countered urban and social disintegration with visions of renewed community. But as the ‘60s wore on, it seemed to some that professional activism had its limits, and that design alone could not effectively reverse social ills. Others believed that advocacy had not gone far enough, and argued for a radical practice that departed architecture and planning for politics. Some set up shops to work outside of professional constraints, while others still found a home in education and the “academic left.” The career turns of Goodman, Hatch, West and others like them were shaped by attempts to reconcile ethical and political beliefs with the realities of professional practice. The purpose of this research is to gain a greater understanding of the decisions progressive and socially committed architects faced during this period.


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1. 162 North Harvard Street, North Harvard Street Urban Renewal Project, c. 1961. Collection # 4010.001, City of Boston Archives, Boston

2. Robert Goodman and MIT architecture students, “Tent City,” South End, Boston, 1968. Robert Goodman, After the Planners. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971


Caitlin Blanchfield, MSCCCP 2014:


The border between the United States and Mexico is a space whose script is as entrenched as the walls that limn it, the tunnels that circumvent it, and the codes that interdict or enable passage across it. So, what can a space that doesn’t fit this bill tell us about the nature of borders and their relevance today? How does the making of a transbounded territory reinforce, circumvent, and throw into relief politics of space and nation-state, ideologies of land management, and the scales—from supranational to local—at which territory is produced? What spatial possibilities are opened up if we recast the protagonists and antagonists of conflict and contestation?


My research for the Buell Fellowship, the CCCP thesis project the research supports, will destablize notions of borders, access and transnationality through a close-grained examination of three contiguous national parks: Big Bend National Park in Texas, Cañón Santa Elena in Chihuahua and Maderas del Carmen in Coahuila. By assembling a constellation of historical moments (1935-1945, 1971-1981, 1992-2002) archival documents, and contemporary voices the thesis will trace the emergence and implementation of a scientific method in the management land, from the nation-building projects of post-progressive pre-war years, to NAFTA-underwritten research ventures. Resource extraction, infrastructure development, and population distribution on national and supranational levels are written into the landscape here, and always subject to the micro-movements of local communities—from coveys of yellow-billed cuckoos to trespass cattle, from fluoride miners to geology students.


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1. A.W. Dorgan Map, International Peace Park, 1935

2. Mining Postcard