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Brandon Clifford wins 2017 Rome Prize

Brandon Clifford, assistant professor in the Department of Architecture, has been awarded The Founders Rome Prize fellowship for 2017-2018 from the American Academy in Rome. Open to U.S. citizens, the Rome Prize is awarded each year to approximately 30 scholars, artists, writers, and composers.

Co-founder and principal of Matter Design, an architectural design practice in Boston, Clifford often mines historical techniques and technology to inform current design and architecture. His project proposal for the Rome Prize, entitled “Ghosts of Rome,” seeks to explore architectural and archaeological “ghosts”—monuments and other relics for which crucial details of purpose and origin have been lost.

The Ghost project echoes his research and teaching at MIT. For example, in 2016, Clifford curated an exhibition in the MIT Wolk Gallery entitled “Gothicness: On the Strangeness of Rib Details,” which explored the rib as a vital element of Gothic architecture and examined its possibilities and potentials for contemporary digital practice. With MIT students, Clifford has introduced innovative topics that bring history to life, such as Megalithic Robotics, a 2016 interdisciplinary studio in which undergraduate students followed in the footsteps of the ancients to construct and raise their own giant megalith.

As a Rome Prize recipient, Clifford is invited to join and interact with the community of fellows in Italy for an extended residency at the AAR’s eleven-acre campus in Rome. Fellowships include a stipend, room and board, andindividual work space at AAR’s eleven-acre campus in Rome.

Recent Rome Prize recipients from the Department of Architecture include Lauren Jacobi (2015), assistant professor in History, Theory, and Criticism; William O’Brien Jr. (2013), associate professor of architecture; John Ochsendorf (2008), a professor with a dual appointment in architecture and civil and environmental engineering; and Meejin Yoon (2005), department head and professor of architecture. Clifford will be joined in Rome by Ochsendorf, who will begin a three-year term this summer as the Academy’s 23rd director.

For more information, visit the website of the American Academy in Rome.