The Banham Fellowship in the Department of Architecture is intended to support design work that situates architecture within the general field of socio-cultural and material critique.
The fellowship honors the legacy of Peter Reyner Banham, who taught at UB from 1976-80 and produced a foundational body of scholarship on material/visual culture as a reflection of contemporary social life. Banham spent his time in Buffalo engaged in a scholarly project on the imaginary of American industrial architecture at work in early modernism that took the form of historical research, hands-on engagement and seminar instruction, resulting in his landmark work, A Concrete Atlantis.
In celebration of Banham's legacy of experimental criticism, this fellowship supports the research and creative activity of emerging practitioners. Over the course of a year, fellows teach, deliver a public lecture and prepare an exhibition culminating from their research and creative work at the school.
Sarah Gunawan holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Waterloo where she has also served as an Adjunct Lecturer and Studio Instructor. Her work is published in Lunch, The Expanded Environment and Pidgin. She has presented at conferences in Toronto, Cambridge, and Florence on issues ranging from the integration of synanthropic animals in suburban communities to the dual meaning of representation as action and depiction. Previously, she has worked for architectural practices in Canada, the U.S. and Europe including Lateral Office (Toronto), KVA Matx (Boston), and Taktyk Landscape Urbanism (Brussels).
Sarah Gunawan’s work integrates posthuman theory into architectural practice to engage the multiplicity of human conditions in the design of our shared environment. Through her research as this year’s Banham Fellow, Gunawan seeks to reposition architecture as an environmental prosthetic for aging bodies.
By 2060, it is estimated that the population of Americans over 65 will double from 46 million to 98 million. For this growing demographic the biological process of aging impacts their ability to perceive and navigate architectural space. To mitigate these corporeal changes, individuals increasingly rely upon physical and technological supports resulting in a population of seniors with diverse sensorial, physical and cognitive abilities. Gunawan will research the heterogeneous impacts of aging on spatial mobility and perception to examine the entangled relationship between maturing bodies, senses and environment. Through posthuman study, multi-sensory experiments, and engagement with the elderly community, the proposal endeavors to multiply the perspectives and alterities through which we design supportive-living environments.