PLAN 90: Article
Nine Win Grants from William J. Mitchell ++ Fund

For Work that Embodies Mitchell’s Spirit of Creativity, Playfulness and Rigor

The winners of the inaugural cycle of the William J. Mitchell ++ Fund have been announced, chosen from more than 20 applications. 

The fund, established by friends and colleagues of SA+P’s former dean (1992 – 2003), was created to support student travel and research projects that embody Mitchell’s spirit of creativity, playfulness and rigor, particularly those that connect different disciplines in novel ways.  Awards of $500 - $2000 are limited to students in SA+P but teams may include students from other MIT schools or from outside the Institute.

The first year’s awards went to:

Difei Xu (SMArchS) to support an examination of how to revitalize ghost cities in China, cities such as Ordos – a desert village which underwent an urbanization effort costing more than $1B and which now has a vacancy rate of 90%.

Catherine Mingoya (MCP) to support a comparative analysis of how three villages providing transitional housing for formerly homeless people have navigated such challenges as zoning, NIMBY-ism and finance.

Aurimas Bukauskas (BSA) to support an investigation of the use of small-diameter timber thinnings from North American and European forests as a primary structural material.

Marwan J. Abou Dib (MArch/MSRED), Tengjia Liu (MArch) and Kun Qian (MArch/MSRED) to support an effort to document and launch students’ design careers before graduation through online technology and data analytics; therefore merging the physical dimension of art with the virtual.

Diego Pinochet (SMArchS) to support an inquiry into new ways of ‘designing’ and ‘making’ by using hand gestures as a form of user input to interact with fabrication machines and create physical prototypes.

Onur Yuce Gun (PhD, Architecture) to support the development of his ‘Broadened Drawing-Scape’ prototype with which he introduces a mode of drawing to bridge the gap between the generative power of computing and the intentionality of actually seeing and doing. 

Carrie McKnelly (SMArchS) to support the modification of an electronic knitting machine to enable the creation of textiles which range in flexibility and structural rigidity to generate a new, form-found architecture – a tool that can extend making beyond the prototype.

Mitchell was an inspiration to hundreds of students over the years, many of whom are now in important leadership positions in academia, professional practice and industry. To help sustain his legacy, make a contribution to the William J. Mitchell ++ Fund here. For more information or for help with making a gift, please contact Barbara Feldman, SA+P Assistant Dean for Development, at 617.253.8896 or