AEF Traveling Scholarship

For the last 53 years, the Architectural Education Foundation (AEF) has administered one of the coolest traveling grant programs this side of the Mississippi. More than 250 students, architects and faculty have received over $1 million in scholarships, grants and other awards. What do they do with these dollars? Travel. That’s right—they get PAID to travel. The caveat? Recipients must experience architecture (and meet a few other criteria). The deadline for applications (plural—there’s more than just one grant) is Monday, March 10, at 4 p.m., so that gives you the WHOLE weekend to churn it out. Let’s be real, you were going to wait until the last minute anyway. Free up that Sunday night and start applying! Download the Call for Submittals. 

Throughout the year, we’ll be featuring grant recipients to get folks excited about these amazing and accessible opportunities. Grab a glass of wine (or latte since it’s still early) and enjoy our first post by 2013 AEF grant recipient and Italian nomad Cynthia Fishman, AIA.

Last year I was the fortunate recipient of the Architectural Education Foundation’s Arthur A. Fisher, AIA, and Florence G. Fisher Traveling Scholarship I, which allowed me to travel to Italy for 11 days.  It was a life changing experience, as I had never been to Italy and had never traveled to a foreign country by myself.  I chose Italy since I was specifically interested in seeing how a place so rich with history had evolved over time, using architecture as the backdrop.  Italy is home to the Classical style from the Age of Augustus, the Rational style from the time of Mussolini as well as modern buildings of today.  Italy had seemed to reinvent itself, using architecture as a tool to portray a message, whether it was unification or logic or innovation.  I had planned to study how these messages came through and how I could develop my own style so that my designs could also have a message.  My trip was more than I ever could have imagined.  I was able to visit Rome, Pompeii, Florence and Venice where I saw first-hand the details, textures, beauty and humor of this amazing country.  It was breath taking to see how seamlessly the past and present were both layered and combined.  It is one thing to study these cities in a two-dimensional way, but architecture is meant to be experienced.  Being a recipient of a traveling scholarship gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in fabulous spaces, food and culture; there is no substitute for the real thing.  Becoming an architect is a process that goes way beyond going to school and passing exams.  It is a way a life.  Going to Italy helped me on my path to figuring out who I am and the impact I would like to have on the built environment in a way that has forever changed me.

Photos:

Pompeii, sculpture of Diana amongst temple ruins

Pompeii, sculpture of Diana amongst temple ruins

 Rome, Pantheon ceiling at dusk

Rome, Pantheon ceiling at dusk

 Rome, Ara Pacis Museum by Richard Meier

Rome, Ara Pacis Museum by Richard Meier

Florence, Stained glass light fixture detail

Florence, Stained glass light fixture detail

Florence, local graffiti on signage

Florence, local graffiti on signage

Cynthia Fishman, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Young Architects Forum Co-Chair, AIA Colorado

Board of Directors, Architecture for Humanity – Denver

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