Josiah Brown receives APLA’s first Aydelott Travel Award

Josiah Brown receives APLA’s first Aydelott Travel Award

Josiah Brown, a fifth-year architecture student from Ashland City, Tennessee, is the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture’s first recipient of the Aydelott Travel Award. The Aydelott Travel Award was established by Alfred Lewis Aydelott, FAIA (1916–2008) and his wife, Hope Galloway Aydelott (1920-2010), to encourage architecture students to “become proficient in the art of architectural analysis.” The $2.4 million endowment established by this well-known Memphis architect and his wife creates a $20,000 travel award for architecture students at four universities: Auburn University, Mississippi State University, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and the University of Tennessee.

“The architecture program at Auburn University is very pleased to be among the programs selected by Mr. Aydelott,” notes David Hinson, Head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. He adds, “The Aydelott Travel Award is among the largest awards of this nature, and it will have a significant impact on our students, our school, and at the three other partner programs. This is one of the most innovative endowments I’ve ever seen.”

A faculty committee chaired by Carla Keyvanian, associate professor of architecture, reviewed proposals from freshman to fourth-year students that outlined their research agenda and identified individual buildings that they would analyze along with a rationale for selecting those building. Keyvanian explains what set Josiah’s proposal apart from the others, “His crucial topic of low-income housing is of current interest and social relevance. The range of examples that he proposed to investigate are in different parts of the globe yet are carefully researched so as to make the comparisons valid and meaningful. Everything about Josiah’s proposal was carefully researched and thought out—his essay and graphic presentation, his itinerary and research plan, as well as his budget.”

As Josiah explains his proposal, “Through my research, I hope to be able to better answer the question of how we can combat the global housing crisis and provide quality, affordable housing for the 1.6 billion people on this planet without it.”

The first project on his travel agenda is Villa Verde in Constitución, Chile by the Pritzker Prize winning architect Alejandro Aravena and his firm ELEMENTAL. The focus of this project is to make housing more affordable by providing residents with half of a finished house, allowing residents to expand later if they choose. The second project is post-tsunami housing in Kirinda, Sri Lanka by another Pritzker Prize winning architect, Shigeru Ban. Shigeru Ban architects constructed these homes following the tsunami of 2004 and relied heavily on citizen-participation in the design process. Next, Josiah will visit Buchheimer Weg Housing Complex in Cologne, Germany by ASTOC architects. This low-income urban housing complex could provide a model for similar future developments. Finally, he will visit Social Housing in Sa Pobla by RIPOLLTIZON architects on the island of Mallorca, Spain. Centered around a courtyard, this project provides an interesting study in public space as well as an appropriate response to cultural and climactic concerns.

“I still can’t believe this is real. For someone whose pipe dream is to be a National Geographic photographer, the chance to travel the world to study architecture is a dream come true,” says Josiah. “I’m very excited for the chance to contribute to the architecture community through my research on affordable housing, and I am eager to see where this research may take me—whether it translates into a senior thesis project or even leads to a job after graduation. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and I hope that through my research, architects will be better equipped to provide quality, affordable housing for those who need it.”