Brandon Clifford Wins the 2011 SOM Prize and a $50,000 Fellowship

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CHICAGO, IL – The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) Foundation has announced this week that Brandon Clifford, who received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006, and completed his Master of Architecture degree at Princeton University in May 2011, has been selected as the Recipient of the prestigious 2011 SOM Prize, a $50,000 Research and Travel Fellowship. 

In the interval between graduation from Georgia Tech and the commencement of his graduate studies at  Princeton,  Brandon’s professional experiences  have included guest lectureships and participation on Juries at US schools of architecture; designer of Installations and participant in design Exhibits in the U.S., Europe, and Asia; as well as a writer of frequently published articles in design journals and professional publications. In continuing an interest in translating past methods of making into a contemporary digital process. 

Brandon plans to utilize his Research Fellowship to travel to countries on four (4) continents to carry out his research on the topic, “Volume:  Researching Past Methods of Stereotomy.”  As Brandon explained, “We have lost the ability to work with Volume.  So much of the discussion surrounding digital design has focused on the surface… This research is intended to mine the lost knowledge of stereotomy  (the art of cutting solids, most typically stone) as a way to inform our contemporary methods of making with the dimension of volume.”

Commencing in September 2011, Brandon will hold the position of LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow at The Ohio State University, where he will teach and carry out research on the broader topic of stereotomy in the digital era, with the intent to leverage the knowledge gained through his SOM Foundation Fellowship travel and research to augment the research he will undertake at OSU.

The SOM Prize is awarded annually through a national competition.  In July 2011, the SOM Foundation received 105 portfolio submissions from students at 45 US schools having accredited programs in architecture, design and urban design.  The submissions were judged on the quality of the design portfolios, research proposals and travel itineraries.

The mission of the SOM Foundation Travelling Fellowship Program is to assist young architects, designers and engineers in expanding their professional education through the observations of culture, history, building and design that can only be achieved through travel.  Prior Fellows have travelled to Asia, North Africa, and South America, as well as Europe and the United States.

The programs of the SOM Foundation are funded through an endowment established by the partners of the architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM).  The Foundation’s activities are wholly separate from those of the firm.

In this 30th year of Foundation Awards, the Fellowships continue to offer recent graduates the rare opportunity to travel in connection with carrying out in-depth research, collaborate with other professionals and pursue independent study outside the realm of established patterns.  

To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $1,000,000 to architecture, design and engineering students who have gone on to distinguish themselves in professional and academic careers.




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