Since 1955, The John Worthington Ames Scholarship has provided one student annually at The Boston Architectural College with $10,500 to pursue self-directed design study through travel. In January of 2011, the BAC proudly hosted a reunion to celebrate accomplishments of past Ames Scholars, reconnect them to the community, and discuss the future of the award.
Eighteen John Worthington Ames Scholars gathered with members of the board, staff, and college leadership to share the unique travel experiences they had as recipients. Board Chair Russ Feldman welcomed guests to their table at Upstairs on the Square in Cambridge, where the alumni scholars sat interspersed with their BAC hosts, including Bernard Goba, AIA, DFA honoris causa, secretary of the John Worthington Ames Scholarship, and Brian Anderson, chair of the Honors and Awards Committee.
President Ted Landsmark provided introductions and the program for the evening, then invited the alumni to briefly share their experiences traveling on the Ames Scholarship and to speak about their current roles in design and architecture. As Ames Scholars, many of them had the opportunity to explore entire regions or countries, and as a group had traveled much of the world.
Elisabeth Carr-Jones, '93, president of Carr-Jones, Inc., went on a two-month expedition throughout western North America to study exceptional works of architecture and the environments that influenced them. The journey, titled Spirituality and Architecture, was an effort to understand the elemental links between humans and the natural world. She was awarded the Ames Scholarship for her proposal that contained text and photographs depicting her own interpretation of relationships between natural and man-made environments.
"The scholarship was a turning point in my life, giving rise to a branching out of my interests and priorities," said Elisabeth. "It allowed me to look outside architecture in a directed way and to apply my design training to broader perspectives. In all truly important respects, the experience grounded my design education."
Gary Mendoza, '91, architect builder and principal of Alfaro Mendoza and Company, Inc., applied for the Ames Scholarship in 1991 while fully immersed in his thesis project at the BAC. He was exploring palimpsest, an architectural reference to the rich layers of design and history accumulated on a particular site over time. Gary was awarded for his proposal to take a bicycle tour through ancient cities in Western Europe where he could further research what he was trying to achieve through his thesis.
Gary commenced his three-month journey in Rome and spent a month biking through Italy. He studied architecture in more than 10 cities including Florence, Verona, Pisa, Venice, and the white-washed hill town of Vieste Gargano on the Adriatic Sea. He left Italy for Spain, venturing through Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, and San Sebastian before traveling to Munich, Bavaria, and Paris for the last leg of his tour.
"While cycling through Europe, I visited some galleries and important sites," said Gary, "but I mostly explored the towns, their streets, public spaces, civic lobbies, and the like to observe how people interacted within their environment in an effort to understand why some spaces worked so well and others did not. I witnessed a complex and ever-changing phenomenon of when and why people come together in a space."
Laurie Soave, '98, also visited Italy on the Ames Scholarship. She was inspired to study architectural reconstruction and art restoration after a series of earthquakes devastated St. Francis Basilica in 1997. Laurie spent five weeks in Assisi restoring the Basilica alongside talented professionals and learning fundamental principles, experimental strategies, and new technological applications of restoration.
"This experience shaped my appreciation not only for the architectural challenges of preservation and understanding of materials, but also the importance of art and architecture in the shaping of a community's social, cultural and political life," said Laurie. "The Ames travel Scholarship awards the designer endless opportunities in our constantly changing world to be immersed in a cultural learning environment."
Laurie developed close relationships with many of the people she met throughout her Ames Scholarship experience and remained in Italy for an additional five weeks after the duration of her planned trip. She was joined by another Ames Scholar, Catherine Bell, AIA, LEED, who had graduated from the BAC in 1995, to tour and sketch the northernmost regions of Italy.
Zach Craun, '10, the most recent Ames recipient, was awarded the scholarship for his proposal to study adaptive re-use architecture and urban design. He spent three months traveling through Spain and Portugal, where he visited project sites and interviewed field experts. When Zach returned from his trip, he presented his research at the Urban/Suburban Identity Conference led by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Zach, a designer at Schwartz/Silver and adjunct faculty member at the BAC, believes that the type of opportunity provided by the Ames Scholarship is a valuable tool for the future of design education.
"The scholarship offers BAC students financial support to research a specific area of inquiry," said Zach. "This self-imposed research has the ability to create self-directed learning, which is a critical quality not only in creating excellent designers, but in developing the necessary skills to help lead cross-disciplinary efforts to create new and innovative solutions to tomorrow's problems."
Ames Scholars in Attendance
Ramsey Bakhoum '03
Elizabeth Carr-Jones '93
Zachary Craun '10
Paul Farrell, RA '70
Aaron Follett '99
Otis Hathon '76 and Rose Hathon
John Ingwersen '66
David Jaquith, AIA, '69
Gary Mendoza '91
David Mullen, AIA, '85
Charles Nafie, AIA, '65
Angelo Petrozzelli, AIA, '65
Susann Schlaud '01
Laurie Soave '97
Jessica Vaverchak, AIA '06
Kenneth Zolon '71