From left to right: David Fannon, Michelle Laboy, and Peter Wiederspahn.
Courtesy AIA From left to right: David Fannon, Michelle Laboy, and Peter Wiederspahn.

Today the AIA College of Fellows announced the winner of its 2017 Latrobe Prize as Northeastern University's School of Architecture and Resilient Cities Laboratory for their work on the future adaptability and use of existing structures. The researchers include Peter Wiederspahn, AIA, associate professor of architecture, and principal of Somerville, Mass–based Wiederspahn Architecture; Michelle Laboy, assistant professor of architecture and co-founder of design firm FieLDworkshop in Boston; and David Fannon, AIA, assistant professor of architecture and of civil and environmental engineering. They will receive $100,000 for their work on "[identifying] design attributes contributing to future adaptability, [demonstrating] future-use design strategies for buildings using words and graphics, and [documenting] and [analyzing] architectural precedents that exemplify future-use design," according to AIA's press release.

“The Latrobe Prize allows us to demonstrate the strategic benefits and deployable attributes of future-use design,” Wiederspahn said in the release. “These principles can significantly transform architectural services by incorporating the full temporal scope of buildings.”

The researchers seek to determine the best design practices when considering unknown future uses of buildings and aim to develop interactive products for education and practice uses. “This is an opportunity to expand on a pedagogical model, which we developed to help students systematically consider and design what is essential and long-lasting in architecture, and apply it to the challenges of practice,” Laboy said in the release.

Named for neoclassical architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe—known for his work on the U.S. Capitol building—the Latrobe Prize is a biennial $100,000 award that supports a two-year program of research dedicated to the advancement of architecture. In 2015, Woodbury University's Arid Lands Institute received the prize for its research "focused on developing and testing Hazel, a digital design tool, and bringing transformative public design strategies to dry cities in the U.S. West and around the world."

This year's Latrobe Prize jury included Katherine Schwennsen, FAIA, director of the School of Archtiecture at Clemson University; Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, Architect of the Capitol; Frank Guillot, FAIA, principal at Burlington, Vt.–based firm Guillot-Vivian-Viehmann; Sylvia Kwan, FAIA, co-founder of Kwan Hanmi Architecture/Planning in San Francisco; Lenore Lucey, FAIA, chancellor of the AIA College of Fellows; Jud Marquardt, FAIA, founder of LMN Architects in Seattle; Raymond Post, FAIA, founder and principal of Post Architects in Baton Rouge, La.; and Marilyn Jordan Taylor, FAIA, professor of architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania.