Hans Ulrich Obrist (senior fellow), Serpentine Gallery
Hans Ulrich Obrist (senior fellow), Serpentine Gallery

The Van Alen Institute named Hans Ulrich Obrist the recipient of its 2007–2008 Senior Prize Fellowship on May 23. In its inaugural year, the program aims to support advanced independent research and to generate programs that engage architecture in the public realm.

Obrist is currently the co-director of exhibitions and programs and director of international projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Previously the curator of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, he has overseen more than 150 exhibitions internationally. Famous for his ongoing “Interviews Project,” last summer he convened, in partnership with Rem Koolhaas, two 24-hour interview marathons in the Serpentine pavilion that Koolhaas designed. Van Alen is hoping to conduct a New York version of the “Interviews Project,” which executive director Adi Shamir calls “a remarkable model for the presentation and representation of diverse public practices.”

Van Alen also awarded five resident fellowships. The recipients are Chelina Odbert and Jennifer Toy of Boston-based Kounkuey Design Initiative; Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin, co-founders of architecture firm The Living, in New York; Joerg Stollman and Dirk Hebel, co-founders of architecture and design firm Instant, in Zurich, Switzerland; Ellen Grimes, architect and assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture; and John Stuart, architect and professor at Florida International University's School of Architecture, in Miami. Work done during the three-month fellowships will investigate the notion of public space and will be presented as exhibitions, symposia, or installations. The program provides a $5,000 stipend and between $2,500 and $10,000 in project support to work on an independent project at the institute's New York office.

The fellows were selected by a seven-member jury of practitioners, scholars, and artists: Kadambari Baxi, principal, imageMachine and Martin/Baxi Architects; artist Ann Hamilton; Enrique Norten, principal, TEN Arquitectos; designer and architect Gaetano Pesce; Chris Reed, principal, StoSS Landscape Urbanism; Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic; and Sarah Whiting, principal, WW Architecture.

Learn more about the fellowship program and the research projects of this year's awardees at www.vanalen.org.