The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation announces the 2021–2022 cycle of the GSAPP Incubator Prize. As a platform for entrepreneurship and expanded modes of practice, the Prize supports projects led by GSAPP alumni that bridge critical discourse with active practice and engagement. The Prize encourages a wide range of experiments while focusing on a specific topic of inquiry each year, and in 2021 is aligned with the School’s ongoing work of advancing racial equity in the built environment as outlined in the GSAPP Anti-Racism Action Plan. The 2021-2022 GSAPP Incubator Prize is dedicated to supporting new forms of anti-racist professional practice and seeks to fund alumni-led initiatives that critically redefine community engagement and participation. Special consideration will be given to proposals serving BIPOC communities, in particular projects that engage communities in Harlem.
Applicants must demonstrate a knowledge of the community they aim to engage with through the proposed project, and the application will ask about community partnerships as an integral aspect of the project. These connections and collaborations test the viability of execution and indicate an investment in meaningful and lasting outcomes.
In 2021, Columbia GSAPP will award ten Prizes of $10,000 per selected projects to individuals or teams of no more than two members. Projects must be led by GSAPP alumni from across the school’s programs who graduated between 2007 and 2021. Recipients will develop their work independently and can be based internationally. Operating within the broader ecosystem of the School’s commitment to new forms of design research and practice, GSAPP Incubator Prize recipients will present their work at the School at the end of the academic year.
The GSAPP Incubator is for alumni who are developing new ideas and projects about architecture, contemporary culture, and the future of the city. The Incubator was a co-working space at the New Museum’s NEW INC. in Lower Manhattan from 2015 through 2019, at which time it transitioned to the GSAPP Incubator Prize in order to help the development of innovative alumni-led projects by offering direct financial support to selected recipients. In this form, the Prize advances domestic and international alumni projects dedicated to critical modes of practice that engage the challenges and opportunities facing the built environment today.
The Prize encourages a wide range of experiments initiated by Columbia GSAPP graduates while focusing on a specific topic of inquiry each year. In 2019, the School awarded six alumni prizes of $10,000 each to advance projects dedicated to Climate Change at the Building Scale, spanning a range of creative approaches to tackling environmental urgencies through architecture and urban thinking, design, and practice—from material explorations to novel agricultural systems to resilient coastlines. In 2020, the Prize was dedicated to the topic of Climate, Health, and Cities, and the School awarded sixteen alumni prizes of $10,000 each to to support projects that engage these pressing issues through a range of approaches spanning critical discourse, research, and active practice in architecture and its related fields. As a platform for entrepreneurship and expanded modes of practice, the Prize supports projects that bridge critical discourse and active practice and engagement.
The GSAPP Incubator was founded by Dean Amale Andraos to provide recent graduates with a collaborative environment to explore new ideas and projects at the intersection of culture, technology and the city. Located in the heart of the downtown creative scene at 231 Bowery from 2014 until 2019, the GSAPP Incubator was an anchor tenant of NEW INC., the first museum-led cultural incubator for art, technology, and design founded by the New Museum.
It blends a professional setting and a culture of entrepreneurship with the communal creative energy and rigorous discourse experienced by students during their time at GSAPP. The program expands the territory between academia and the profession, and it allows members to share experiences and skills while building their professional networks and connecting to critical issues in New York and beyond. A unique university-led initiative, the GSAPP Incubator spans multiple disciplines and draws on the strengths of the school, its faculty, the resources of the New Museum and NEW INC, and the proximity to Lower Manhattan’s technology industry.
Directed by Assistant Professor David Benjamin, the co-working space encourages discovery and open exchange among a diverse group of participants who are engaging in topics and interdisciplinary methods that expand the possibilities of architecture. It supports experimental and alternative modes of practice that encompass both research and production. During the first four years, member groups have developed a variety of cutting-edge projects involving virtual reality and digital technology, critical discourse and publishing, civic issues and public spaces, urban regeneration, emergency response, and more.
Michelle Young (‘12 MSUP) of Untapped Cities speaks with four recent members of the GSAPP Incubator: Mustafa Faruki (‘10 M.Arch), Nile Greenberg ('16 M.Arch), Marcelo López-Dinardi ('13 MSCCCP), and Jieun Yang ('08 M.Arch). They discuss their experiences working at the Incubator over the past year, and the challenges and opportunities facing architecture students and practitioners within the current cultural and economic landscape.