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Columbia GSAPP Receives Historic Donation to Advance the Study of Housing Design

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News Release
10 September 2019

Acclaimed Architect Hilary Sample is Named IDC Foundation Professor of Housing Design

The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) is pleased to announce a donation exceeding $2 million from the IDC Foundation to support faculty leadership and interdisciplinary research. Specifically, the funds will strengthen GSAPP’s long-standing expertise in the study of housing, and will encourage the development of new housing models urgently needed to address shifts in demographics, household composition, challenges of climate resilience, affordability, and the widening inequality gap.

The gift will help to launch a new interdisciplinary research initiative, the Columbia GSAPP Housing Lab, and to fund the IDC Foundation Professorship of Housing Design, the first endowed professorship dedicated to the Architecture program at Columbia GSAPP. Additional support from the IDC Foundation will be directed to financial aid and student travel, furthering the School’s commitment to shaping a more equitable, sustainable, and creative world by engaging students from diverse and global perspectives.

Housing sits at the intersection of the critical questions facing architecture and the built environment today. The study of housing has been paramount to Columbia GSAPP’s academic programs for over forty years, building on our faculty’s commitment to bring design intelligence together with engaged planning and innovative development approaches to think through new possibilities for more equitable, sustainable and creative housing,” said Columbia GSAPP Dean Amale Andraos. “We are thrilled and incredibly grateful to have the IDC Foundation as partners in cementing our leadership in this area of study and to launch a new research lab dedicated to the study and building of housing for the future.

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Images: Hilary Sample Housing Studio, Fall 2018.
Above, student work by Alex Wong and Ningxin Rebecca Huang.
Top, student work by Alexandros Prince-Wright and Yoonwon Kang.
IDC Foundation Professorship of Housing Design

In 1974, in response to student requests and to the coordinated interests of its faculty, a series of experiments that took housing as a theme began at Columbia GSAPP. By 1976, the Housing Studio had emerged as a central feature of the Architecture program’s core academic sequence, and has since aimed to inspire a shift in thinking about architecture in relation to the world-at-large for generations.

To honor this important legacy, the IDC Foundation Professor of Housing Design will lead the seminal Housing Studio, in collaboration with the Dean. The Professorship will also add a crucial perspective to the GSAPP Housing Lab research and contribute to the exceptional intellectual community of scholars and practitioners leading the field in housing innovation.

The IDC Foundation is very pleased to provide the funding that makes possible the first endowed professorship in the architecture program in Columbia GSAPP’s history,” said Raymond R. Savino, President of the IDC Foundation. “The endowed professorship will focus on housing design and serve as a catalyst for developing creative practices that can have meaningful impact on the production of affordable housing – with particular attention to the intersection of architecture, engineering, and building construction. In doing so, it will draw on Columbia GSAPP’s renowned leadership in housing design and advance innovations that address the pressing challenge of affordability.

Columbia GSAPP is pleased to announce that Associate Professor Hilary Sample has been appointed as the inaugural IDC Foundation Professor of Housing Design. Sample has played an instrumental role in the oversight and development of the housing curriculum in the Master of Architecture program since her appointment as a full time faculty member in 2011. She has reinforced the Housing curriculum’s two-fold ambition to challenge students with the notoriously complex architectural design problem of multi-household and multi-family housing, while also asking them to address the nuanced social, economic, and political questions that housing has long entailed. In addition to her academic work, Sample is an architect and principal of MOS Architects, which she co-founded with Michael Meredith in 2003. An internationally recognized architectural practice, MOS was the recipient of the 2015 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum National Design Award in Architecture. The firm is currently working on housing projects in New York City, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C.

Columbia GSAPP Housing Lab

The Columbia GSAPP Housing Lab will bring together faculty and students from across the disciplines represented at the School and Columbia University at large to leverage expertise around some of the most critical challenges facing urban housing today. Working from a design-centric perspective, the Lab will create meaningful collaborations and practical opportunities for architects, developers, and planners to advance interdisciplinary work and promote creative methods and bold interventions for affordable, adaptive, and resilient housing. The Lab will be a locus for testing and demonstrating methods of practice-based scholarship and pedagogy.

Bernadette Baird-Zars, a doctoral candidate in urban planning at Columbia GSAPP, has been selected as the Lab’s inaugural IDC Foundation Fellowship recipient. An interdisciplinary faculty committee will be convened by Dean Andraos to support the work of the Lab.

About Columbia GSAPP
Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continuously seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in the complex issues of our time. Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) offers a range of programs in architecture, historic preservation, planning, real estate development, and urban design that brings together imagination, experimentation, and critical thinking towards new forms of practice and research. Columbia GSAPP is committed to shaping a more equitable, sustainable, and creative world by engaging architecture and the built environment from diverse and global perspectives. The School functions as an urban condenser of ideas and drives innovation and change through the leadership of its faculty, the excellence of its academic programs, the expansion of interdisciplinary opportunities as well as the richness of its research initiatives and the dialogues it hosts.
About the IDC Foundation

The IDC Foundation is a legacy of the Institute of Design and Construction, the former Brooklyn-based, nonprofit, technical college that educated more than 30,000 students between its founding in 1947 and its voluntary closing in 2015. The Foundation focuses particularly on funding transformational programmatic initiatives that promote innovative approaches to education and enhance the learning experiences of students in fields relating to architectural design, engineering, and building construction. It does so by providing grants to institutions of higher education in Greater New York City.

The Institute of Design and Construction was founded and led by architect and New York State Assembly Member Vito P. Battista (1909-1990). He arrived with his parents in New York from Italy at age three and, after becoming an architect, believed passionately in providing others with the opportunity that he had – to create a better life through a career in architecture and related construction. While still in his 30s, he founded the Institute of Design and Construction. When the Institute closed 68 years later, the sale of its property in downtown Brooklyn made possible a grant to endow the IDC Foundation, which continues the Institute’s mission to provide training and improve practices in those fields.

For additional information, please see:

Master of Architecture program page

Hilary Sample faculty page

IDC Foundation