Sheila Kennedy
Liz Gorman Sheila Kennedy

The University of California, Berkeley, announced yesterday that Sheila Kennedy, AIA, is the 2014 recipient of the Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize. The honor is awarded by UC Berkley’s College of Environmental Design (CED) to a “distinguished design practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to advance gender equity in the field of architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and community,” according to a press release.

Kennedy is a professor of the practice of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a founding principal of Boston-based Kennedy & Violich Architecture (KVA), the firm that developed the R+D Award-winning  Soft House.

The biannual $100,000 prize includes a semester-long professorship (which she will begin in Jan. 2015), a public lecture, and a gallery exhibition at UC Berkeley’s CED. In the spring, Kennedy will lecture on soft infrastructure and host an open studio exhibition of her work-in-progress at UC Berkeley’s Wurster Hall.

ARCHITECT Visits: Kennedy & Violich Architecture

Kennedy’s research will involve working with non-governmental organizations to engage communities of fabricators in three developing regions worldwide. She will also lead UC Berkeley students in computation, architectural design, engineering and city planning in a series of hands-on design workshops to create open-source digital fabrication techniques and create adaptable prototypes, including pop-up solar streetlights, soft refrigeration kits for bicycle vendors, and public benches that collect and clean water.

“Her work is expanding the boundaries of architecture through designs that transform the way we think about materials and urban infrastructure,” CED Dean Jennifer Wolch said in the release. “Her leadership in developing ecologically responsible soft design solutions to enhance the lives of women in developing countries — and her commitment to apply these innovative design principles here at home — exemplifies the highest goals for the Berkeley-Rupp Prize.”

Read more about KVA’s Soft House, featured in our July issue.