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2019 Booth Fellow to Explore Architecture Using Drones

Friday, August 23, 2019

Sylvia Choi, M.Arch ‘12, has received Taubman College’s 2019 George G. Booth Traveling Fellowship. The Booth Fellowship, which began in 1924, annually provides a $10,000 stipend to recent Taubman College graduates pursuing architectural research that requires international travel. Choi’s work focuses on drone technology as an imaging tool for 20th-century architecture.

Choi is interested in the new perspectives that drones offer, especially the understudied yet crucial role of drone photography in architecture. “Aerial, or bird’s eye views; site plans; and axonometric projections play critical roles in the design process but have not been explored in architecture photography and only have been produced and documented by architectural drawings,” Choi said. “Many architects recently started using drone photography to express their design; however, many modern architecture buildings have not been actively archived yet in drone views. I believe that this project will offer a fresh perspective on architecture and provide new means of representing modern architecture that had been overlooked in architecture and architecture photography.”

Choi said the Booth Fellowship provides the resources she needs to realize her vision for the topic: “I've been hoping to work on a project that is creative, enjoyable, and contributes to society as an architect.” The project, “20th-Century Architecture in Drone Views,” is a pilot project that Choi recently began with two partners to create open-source information for people who are interested in architecture or architectural research. “As we continued the project, I found that it is difficult to carry on without financial support,” Choi said. “The fellowship not only provides that support, but enables us to develop projects and pursue the goal that we might not otherwise be able to achieve. It is the support and encouragement we needed to move our project forward.” 

This fall, Choi will spend three weeks in France and Germany, photographing and documenting modern architecture sites. She will conduct the work in collaboration with Bojune Kwon, a Brooklyn based photographer. 

Learn more about the Booth Traveling Fellowship.