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U-M Taubman College Former Visiting Professor Named 2019 MacArthur Fellow

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

U-M Taubman College Former Visiting Professor Named 2019 MacArthur Fellow

Congratulations to Emmanuel Pratt, former Charles Moore Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, on receiving the prestigious 2019 MacArthur Fellowship — also known as a “genius grant.”

Pratt is co-founder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago’s South Side that engages local residents in the cultivation and regeneration of social, environmental, and economic resources in their neighborhoods. During his time at Taubman College from 2017 to 2019, he taught a Thesis Development Seminar and Thesis Studio titled “Radical Reconstructions & Iterative Translations” in the Master of Architecture program, a studio-intensive degree that takes a critical view of design, theory, and production. 

“Over the past two years, Taubman College students have developed great capacities in social practice by learning from Pratt’s path-breaking work using architecture and urban design to empower communities in their self-development,” said Jonathan Massey, Taubman College dean, and professor of architecture.

Drawing from his work in Chicago, Pratt’s teaching at Taubman College was inspired in part by the belief in the potential of architecture to be a driving force in societal transformations.

“Emmanuel was a great educator because he was an interrogator of architecture and an innovator of ideas on the local importance that architecture can possess,” said Lane Autry, M.Arch ’19, now an architectural associate with DE Architects AIA in Santa Monica, CA. “During my time at Taubman College, he challenged me to not only design but also to think about why I was designing and the importance of my decisions. He gave us the freedom to explore our own interests while still approaching our work in his studio with rigor and interrogation to support our thesis.”

The fellowship, awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential. There are three criteria for selection of fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

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