Graduate Architecture

Posted February 4, 2021
  • GROUP M: Taylor Beck, Sok In Ho, Andy Hu, and Xiang Li

  • GROUP N: Lachelle Weathers, Joseph Depre, Mo Zihua, and Jingxiao Zhou

  • GROUP C: Joao de Paula Freitas, Yuexin Ma, Monte Reed, and Xinru Tan

  • GROUP D: Jesse Allen, Chunyu Ma, Kyle Troyer, and Jingwen Wu

  • GROUP E: Francesca Dong, Oluwatosin Omojola, Hanfei Xiao, and Wenjing You

  • GROUP F: Megan Chandramouli, Xinlei Liu, Monique Robinson, and Jenna Selati

  • GROUP K: Lixue Cheng, Irene (Susie) Dole, John Round, and Harsana Siva

Schenck-Woodman Prize Winners Announced

Winners of the annual Albert F. Schenck-Henry Gillette Woodman Scholarship Prize for first-year MArch students have been announced. This year's prompt asked students to consider the broader West Philadelphia community by imagining parade floats that would celebrate, honor, and recognize the neighborhood's rich history. 

The competition's theme directly correlates with the spring semester's studio-wide project of a "counter-hegemonic carnival for the 52nd Street corridor in Philadelphia," explains Annette Fierro, associate chair and associate professor of architecture. 

"Considering the history of structural racism, police brutality, neo-liberal withdrawal of basic public services, Penntrification, and relentless criminalization of West Philadelphia’s black community, teams of students are charged to design a float that can 'infect the body politic with insurrectionary dreams,' an architecture of temporary liberation."

Students were also asked to propose a collaboration with a local progressive activist organization to help realize their deisgns.

The floats were imagined as "demonstrations of world-making processes that defy the oppressive order of things; trojan horses of radical solidarity, direct action and revolutionary broadcasting; vehicles for building collective consciousness, raising social awareness and for spatial insurrection; carnivalesque spaces of assembly, performance and public discussion; safe spaces for rebel ecologists, urban farmers, educators, doctors, disobedient designers, anti-fascist acrobats and clowns, radical musicians and artists, and more."

First Place (tied)

GROUP M: Taylor Beck, Sok In Ho, Andy Hu, and Xiang Li

GROUP N: Lachelle Weathers, Joseph Depre, Mo Zihua, and Jingxiao Zhou 

Honorable Mentions

GROUP C: Joao de Paula Freitas, Yuexin Ma, Monte Reed, and Xinru Tan

GROUP D: Jesse Allen, Chunyu Ma, Kyle Troyer, and Jingwen Wu

GROUP E: Francesca Dong, Oluwatosin Omojola, Hanfei Xiao, and Wenjing You

GROUP F: Megan Chandramouli, Xinlei Liu, Monique Robinson, and Jenna Selati

GROUP K: Lixue Cheng, Irene (Susie) Dole, John Round, and Harsana Siva

First Place Project Statements

GROUP M: Taylor Beck, Sok In Ho, Andy Hu, and Xiang Li

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) has been organizing poor and homeless people to survive for over 30 years.” Activism, leadership and community are amongst their most important values. For the Juneteenth Parade, we designed a float that creates spaces enabling activities for each of these three values. 

At each of the five stops along the parade, the float transforms to frame a space that suits the event for that stop—a raised platform for sharing stories and encouraging activism, a podium for speeches and leadership, a stage to dance and sit around as a community. 

When the float is moving, its sides are raised vertically. The exterior skin is covered with mirrors, reflecting paraders and audience alike, giving many a first chance to see themselves within their architectural setting. The interior becomes a climbable tower that offers a high point for kids to see and join the parade. Mirrors may be borrowed from the community, offering a chance to see ourselves through another’s life. 

When the parade is over, we hope to park the float on 42nd Street/Locust Walk, where it will become a permanent space for the community to use and transform for all sorts of gatherings. 

We hope this float helps unite the community. We are all equal, and should celebrate the communities we come from.

GROUP N: Lachelle Weathers, Joseph Depre, Mo Zihua, and Jingxiao Zhou 

This is a proposal for a Juneteenth float in collaboration with the social justice group, The Philadelphia Coalition for Real Justice.

In alignment with the beautiful African-American spirit, this project is a celebration of color. The Beautiful Color of Blackness is inspired by the vivid and radiant presence found in West Philadelphia. Using the painted murals of West Philadelphia as source material, the proposed project literally reflects the skin of the neighborhood.

The ultra-black figure in the center of the float represents the void that would be left in society if we do not confront the systematic oppression of the hierarchical social structure. The costumes are a formal representation of ecstatic jubilation. The sculptural hands decorating the surface of the float are in the “hands up” position. People in this position are unable to contribute to the makings of music, art or culture. It is in this paradox that the “hands up” becomes surrender as a form of resistance.  

After the temporary experience of the parade, the proposed float would become a permanent installation as a center of gravity for social gathering in Malcolm X Park. It would stand as a sculpture, a performance space, a stage, a projection screen, a gathering place to cook and a WIFI access point. All of these designed functions can strengthen the threads of the community through habitual gathering. The float creates a space for The Philadelphia Coalition for Real Justice to meet the people where they are, thus facilitating outreach, organizing and education.