Announcing the 2023 Steedman Fellow and Honorable Mentions:



2023 Steedman Fellow:

Adare Brown | Counter Planning from St. Louis

Project Abstract:  While not everyone agrees with Charles Jencks that the demolition of Pruitt-Igoe was the death of modernism, most agree that it marked the end of the American experiment in public housing. But rarely do we hear about the tenant organizations formed by Pruitt-Igoe residents and their efforts to recover the complex prior to the demolition. This erasure exemplifies how, to many, social housing as an architecture of care is a contradiction in terms.

My research will begin with the tenant organizers at Pruitt-Igoe and extend across three international housing—in Colombia, Thailand, and Italy—to highlight architectural projects which each redefined the act of building and living together. These projects have divergent forms, but each illustrates how an architecture of care may arise from a program of social housing.

To situate these projects, my research will be guided by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò’s constructive view of reparations, focusing on how each case study breaks existing patterns of accumulation by redistributing flows of resources and capabilities. At the architectural scale, this research follows the methodology (and takes its name) of Maria Giudici’s “Counter Planning from the Kitchen” wherein close typological analysis shows how human relationships are encoded in domestic spaces.

Honorable Mention #1:

Gabriela Suarez | Kitchens as Centers for Communal Care. A Guideline Towards New Domestic Spaces

Project Abstract: Because of gender roles, historically women have been assigned to the task of being caregivers. Every culture expresses care differently but in Latin America we can find similar examples of how women unite in order to care for others through providing food in the midst of a crisis. In this region women tend to respond quicker to emergencies than the government or even NGOs, we could even say they work as first caregiver responders.

Take as an example the Ollas comunes in Chile, an itinerant run by women organization that originated during an economical crisis and began providing food to people in need. During the peak of the COVID pandemic they transformed all sorts of domestic spaces to create temporary communal kitchens.

The aim of this research is to get to know and analyze communal kitchens that have appeared as a response to economical, humanitarian and climate crises in countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Chile and Argentina. The results of this investigation may shed some light onto how to reimagine kitchens in a time when care represents hope and resistance in the face of crises that seem to happen yet more often than they used to.

Honorable Mention #2:

Julian Geltman | Caring for the Vestiges: Reconstituting the story of Operation Breakthrough

Project Abstract: Operation Breakthrough was a short-lived venture initiated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1969. Breakthrough was an ambitious program that sought to catalyze the mass-production of prefabricated housing in the US. It is often construed as a failure though for its lack of economic innovation and not for the ambitious social programs at its core. This project recasts Breakthrough and the 9 prototype communities it produced by mirroring Breakthrough’s three phases of production. First, a catalog that collects materials on the designs of these prototype communities across the US and places them alongside prefab housing initiatives in the market-driven West of the 60s, such as those in Canada, the UK and Sweden. The second phase documents these projects and includes oral histories. The final phase envisions possible futures out of the first two phases, in which housing production might yet be driven by a mission of a state caring for its citizens. It is important to return to Operation Breakthrough and excavate beyond its economic faults to be able to see it in a greater lineage of the struggle for racial equity, justice and homeownership in the US.