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Two UK/CoD professors awarded research fellowships

March 25, 2014   |   School

Two junior faculty in the College of Design - Assistant Professor Martin Summers in the School of Architecture and Assistant Professor Douglas Appler in the Department of Historic Preservation were awarded the 2013-2014 University of Kentucky Office of the Vice-President for Research Summer Faculty Research Fellowship for Regular Title Series faculty. The University of Kentucky Summer Faculty Research Fellowship enables new assistant professors to launch their research or develop creative activities that are evaluated on the substance and character of the research project and the research potential of the applicant.
The College of Design's faculty conducts substantive, innovative, and original research contributing to the theoretical and methodological foundation of the design world. As the College's research focus is pluralistic in nature, this range also affords our faculty a unique opportunity to pursue - in depth and breadth - an array of scholarship and then to disseminate this new knowledge through teaching, publication, and practice. Our traditional research outlets include peer-reviewed scholarly publications; books; creative applied research and designs; and funded research opportunities. 
Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Douglas Appler’s research will document the activities of the Federal Urban Renewal Administration in Kentucky.  This work will generate scholarship on the transformative and disruptive effects of the Housing Act of 1949 and the subsequent Urban Renewal era on Kentucky’s major cities as well is its rural communities. As noted in Doug’s proposal, “By viewing the activities of Urban Renewal through a commonwealth-wide lens, this research will fill a major gap in the literature related to urban planning, planning history, and historic preservation.” Doug’s fellowship proposal is not only an opportunity to give voice to Kentuckians who have been both positively and negatively influenced by these legislative measures, but is also a formative opportunity to build upon the research and expertise of American journalists such as Louisville native Grady Clay. 
As noted in his proposal, Doug will use the summer of 2014 to visit the National Archives facility in Silver Spring, MD.  While there, he will explore the Kentucky-oriented archival material generated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Housing and Home Finance Agency between 1949 and 1974.  This research will also take him to the Kentucky state archives, and to several city and county archives as well.  
Assistant Professor of Architecture Martin Summers’ Kentucky Now proposal offers a glimpse into the systemic contexts of urban design today and how problems can be simultaneously addressed from multiple perspectives and thus, be used as an inclusive educational model. Assistant Professor Martin Summers’ submission is a logical offshoot of his Graduate thesis at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) developed under the mentorship of Thom Mayne, the Pritzker Prize Laureate, architect, and professor. Martin’s Summer Fellowship proposal entitled Kentucky Now, presents an immersive investigation that captures the influence of the social, political, and economic domains on urban development using the studio context as vehicle to explore the changing face of this topic within the academy. Using design-thinking methodologies, Martin’s proposal demonstrates the scalability of the proposal – from house to building to city to book to practice. More importantly, his research forms a synergistic bridge that takes into consideration the impact of often-overlooked human dimension at the urban scale.
Kentucky Now was initially developed as a studio exercise under Martin’s direction as part of the Culture Now project. As part of an expanded design discourse, Culture Now involves 13 institutions – The University of Kentucky, Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, Rice, Syracuse, RPI, Pratt, and UCLA. As the defacto Principal Investigator and project leader for UKY, Martin led several studios that were critiqued and advanced by this world-class peer group. His previous River Cities work was showcased in an exhibit that he designed at the International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam in 2012, and included in the Biennale’s exhibition catalog. The lesson plans and projects that he has developed for the Kentucky Now proposal continue to shape today’s theory and practice of architecture. Characterized by procedures that expand beyond the techniques of crafting spaces, this work includes broader design knowledge that expands to include heuristics, applications, pedagogies, and their often simultaneous influence on design processes and practices in the academic and professional realms. Martin’s proposal uses this pedagogically-driven experience to take the UKY-generated knowledge out to the world in two ways, first through a book entitled Kentucky Now and second, as a replicable model for other River Cities and towns in Kentucky and for future funded research.