IRHA Award: Michael Jemtrud


Professor Michael Jemtrud is the winner of this year's Institut de recherche en histoire de l'architecture (IRHA) $25,000 award ("Opening up the disciplines: Innovative approaches to the built environment") for his project The Working Models Forum: A Fabricating Aesthetics Initiative. Collaborators include Professor Alanna Thain (McGill), Maria Mingallon (Arup), Maxime Moreau (Open Form Architecture), Jason Crow and Philam Nguyen (McGill). Additional participants, dates and event venues will be determined.

The Working Models Forum: A Fabricating Aesthetics Initiative explores the impact of how emerging digital fabrication and prototyping technologies for producing efficient structural systems can perform as modes of inquiry with regard to our theoretical and embodied perception of the built environment. The idea that technique, in itself, is a mode of interrogation and knowledge production in relation to dominant theoretical models such as the environmental, biomorphic, biomimetic, and parametric is at the core of the research project. In other words, the research proposes to design and fabricate utilizing three contemporary digital design and fabrication methodologies. By studying and comparing the same form as it is developed utilizing divergent techniques, the project will highlight and test beyond material efficiency the impact of emerging architectural practices for creating our built environment. The key question asked is how does the development of a theoretical rationalization for a certain technique (one specific mode of inquiry) relate to the application of that technique in practice (a second and alternate mode of inquiry). The project leverages current and ongoing research within Facility for Architectural Research in Media and Mediation (FARMM) and a SSHRC Research-Creation Grant in Fine Arts entitled Modelling the Methodologies of Our Time (2011-14). Professor Jemtrud is currently on sabbatical (2012-13) and is a Resident Fellow at the McGill Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI) (2012-14).